Teacher found not guilty of negligence in teen student’s drowning
TORONTO — A Toronto teacher has been found not guilty in the drowning of a 15-year-old student during a school canoe trip.
Nicholas Mills was charged with criminal negligence causing death in the drowning of Jeremiah Perry.
Mills, a teacher at C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute, oversaw the July 2017 trip to Algonquin Provincial Park during which Perry died.
In delivering the verdict this morning, Ontario Superior Court Justice Maureen Forestell said that while Mills’s actions fell below the reasonable standard of care, they did not reach the level of criminal negligence.
Prosecutors alleged during trial that Mills ignored safety rules in planning and carrying out the multi-day excursion, and allowed Perry — who they argued could not swim — to go in the water without a life-jacket.
Defence lawyers, meanwhile, said the Crown has failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Perry couldn’t swim, which they said is necessary to establish negligence. They also argued Mills shouldn’t be held to a higher standard than the “average parent” conducting a similar trip.