Lev Tahor appeal ruled inadmissible

Lev Tahor children and teens near Chatham, Ont.
Lev Tahor children and teens at the group's compound near Chatham, Ont. PAUL LUNGEN PHOTO

Quebec Superior Court has denied Lev Tahor the right to appeal a November judgment that the province’s youth court has jurisdiction to rule in a youth protection case involving members of the controversial ultra-Orthodox sect, even though it has relocated to Ontario.

On Feb. 21, Justice Luc Lefebvre decided leave to appeal could not be granted because lawyers for the sect had filed too late.

Lev Tahor had 30 days to file after the Nov. 22 decision, that is by Friday, Dec. 20, but the documents were received at the St-Jérôme courthouse on Monday, Dec. 23. The bailiff said a snowstorm had prevented him from getting to the courthouse on time.

Lev Tahor wanted to argue that a Quebec court no longer had jurisidiction in the case because the community had moved to Ontario on Nov. 18. The Youth Protection Department had tried to block any appeal.

On Nov. 27, a Quebec youth court ordered 14 children from the community into immediate foster care for at least 30 days, amid allegations of neglect and abuse, even though their two sets of parents did not attend the hearing.

They and the children remain in Chatham, Ont., where more than 200 members of Lev Tahor relocated after living for about 12 years in Ste-Agathe des Monts.

On Feb. 3, an Ontario youth court upheld the Quebec order to have the children placed in youth protection services. Lev Tahor was expected to file for an appeal of that decision this week.