Victims of an explosion inside an Indian restaurant in Mississauga that injured 15 people earlier this year have launched a multi-million dollar lawsuit claiming the business failed to take precautions to prevent the bombing.
Lawyers representing six clients said at a news conference Tuesday morning that the bombing took place as a result of a turf war between “rival business associates.”
“It’s our position that the owners of the Bombay Bhel Restaurant knew or ought to have known that there was an issue with security and that they were targeted and they ought to have been more alert to protecting their patrons,” lawyer Darryl Singer said.
“We’re suggesting that the owners of the restaurant knew that there was a threat.”
The statement of claim said the restaurant failed to hire sufficient security and failed to provide security personnel with appropriate training.
The plaintiffs also state the restaurant was “willfully, intentionally, and/or negligently blind to the real and actual threat of a bombing.”
Statement from Plaintiffs
The victims, three of whom were in attendance at the news conference but did not speak, had a statement read out by one of their lawyers.
“We believe we were carnage in a turf war between individuals we did not even know,” the statement read.
“We commenced this lawsuit in an effort to demand more answers about what happened on that day. As our physical and psychological scars heal, it is our hope that this civil action will move this case forward.”
VIDEO: Mississauga bombing victims issue statement, claim they were ‘carnage in a turf war’
The statement of claim says each client is seeking $1 million in damages.
“Going out to dinner is often a time for human connection with friends and family. That’s why it is unfathomable what happened to us on May 24,” the statement read.
“It is our belief that this tragic incident could have been prevented. We feel the restaurant owner and management failed to protect our safety.”
“With us, we’re not criminal. We don’t have the burden that the poor police do to prove things beyond a reasonable doubt,” lawyer Sandra Zisckind said.
“We only have to prove things on a balance of probabilities. So from a balance of probabilities, they knew or ought to have known that they were a target, then yes, they should have done something.”
IED detonated inside Mississauga restaurant
Peel Regional Police responded to a call at 10:32 p.m. on May 24 at the Bombay Bhel Restaurant at Hurontario Street and Eglinton Avenue West.
Investigators said an improvised explosive device was detonated inside the restaurant and two suspects captured on video entering the establishment are wanted in connection to the incident. Police said there were around 40 people inside the restaurant at the time.
Following the explosion, police Chief Jennifer Evans said the incident is not believed to be an act of terrorism but nothing has been ruled out in terms of the investigation.
Police immediately released a photo of the two suspects following the explosion. So far there have been no arrests in connection with the case.
‘We’re not acting on rumours’: lawyer
Lawyer Darryl Singer said their sources reveal there was an ongoing “turf war” between rival businesses, even though Peel police said they have no indication to believe that was the reason for the attack.
“We are hearing it from our sources and again, they are just rumours. I want to make it clear, we think the police are doing a great job,” he said.
“We’re not acting on rumours. The law requires anybody that owns or operates a business premises, under something called the Occupiers’ Liability Act, as well as the Liquor Licensing Act, and at common law what we call social host liability. So as the owners of a restaurant, the owners of Bombay Bhel have an obligation based on anything they hear to take proactive steps to protect their customers.”
VIDEO: Lawyers for Mississauga bombing victims claim restaurant owners knew of ‘credible threat’
The plaintiffs’ lawyers said part of the reason for the lawsuit is find answers and get closure.
“The best way to figure this out is to question the owners about what they knew, or they knew beforehand,” Zisckind said.
“That’s the only way to get justice. If we have a chance to sit down with these people and ask them questions under oath, they we can figure out what’s going on and if for whatever reason they didn’t know, fine.”
The restaurant remains closed and an update posted on their Facebook page on Aug. 1 said they are working to reopen but a date has not been set.
— With a file from Katherine Ward