A Saskatchewan family is upset and frustrated with the Alberta justice system. The Levick family has been fighting for years to get some answers about the death of their daughter Martina after she was killed on a job in a small Alberta village.
The 21-year-old died following an incident while she was working with a large lawnmower.
Now, the family has been left devastated once again because charges have been stayed in connection with her death. One of the factors behind the decision is because the village where the incident occurred has been dissolved. The Village of Dewberry now falls under the jurisdiction of the County of Vermilion River.
Martina Levick was killed while working on a large lawnmower in Dewberry in June 2017.
“No one is being held accountable for her death,” said Dwight Levick, Martina’s dad.
He said his family has waited three years and nine months for their say in court. He’s angry and frustrated by the decision and the reasoning behind it.
“Their reasoning is, it’s in the best interest of the public to stay the charges because the Village of Dewberry technically no longer exists,” Dwight said.
“We wanted accountability and awareness… so it doesn’t happen to another family.”
The Village of Dewberry was facing seven charges under Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety laws.
Alberta Justice is no longer going forward with the trial.
“The prosecution on this matter commenced on May 31, 2019,” the ministry said in a statement.
“On March 10, 2020, the matter was scheduled for trial beginning Nov. 24, 2020. Defence counsel then filed an application with the court for a stay of proceedings. That application was heard on Oct. 29, 2020. The Alberta Crown Prosecution Service (ACPS) successfully defended that application but it had the effect of delaying the trial.
“In the meantime, the Village of Dewberry voted to dissolve the village into the County of Vermilion River. That dissolution took effect Jan. 1, 2021.
“ACPS considered this development along with other factors in making the determination that this matter no longer met the prosecution standard of there being a reasonable likelihood of conviction and the matter being in the public interest.”
The Levick family was looking to the trial for closure, to share how the tragedy has impacted them.
“Blow to the chest. Devastating,” said Gwen Levick, Martina’s mom.
“It’s over. It’s just done. So now we have to pick ourselves up and carry on.”
Martina’s sister, Rebecca Levick, said she is disappointed in Alberta’s justice system.
“We didn’t get that day in court,” she said. “We don’t actually get the discussion of the full breakdown of findings or anything like that, which is another piece that I know myself I’m very frustrated at.
“All those raw emotions are brought forward and we have to try and figure out how we move forward now without those closure pieces that we were relying so heavily on.”
The family is left to hope lessons will still be learned from Martina’s death.
Stayed charges can be brought back to life within one year of the day they are stayed.