Student injured while boarding wants new trial 

A Richmond man who was left a quadriplegic after a school snowboarding trip to Whistler and was awarded $2.9 million has asked B.C.’s Court of Appeal to order a new trial.

But Travis Murao, now 21, may be waiting at least four months before he finds out if the court will give him what he wants.

His lawyer, Paul McGivern, argued last week in Vancouver that the B.C. Supreme Court judge "improperly excluded" some important evidence from the jury. Namely the testimony of a retired teacher who had spoken to Murao’s father after the civil trial had begun.

The teacher, who had taken groups of kids to ski at Manning Park in the 1980s, said that he posted teachers at the top and bottom of runs to keep an eye on the students.

McGivern is reported, as saying that the Supreme Court judge’s ruling excluding the evidence of the retired teacher was too narrow an interpretation. He believes a new jury allowed to hear this evidence would significantly reduce the fault of Whistler-Blackcomb and redistribute it to the school district.

On the January 2000 school trip where Murao was injured students were allowed to ski and board largely unsupervised soon after they had arrived on the mountain.

Last year in handing down its award the B.C. Supreme Court found Richmond school district 15 per cent responsible, Murao 15 per cent responsible and Whistler-Blackcomb 70 per cent to blame. Murao settled with Whistler-Blackcomb for an undisclosed sum before the trial.

Murao was injured after going of a terrain park obstacle after being egged on by other teenage students to do so.

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