Federal MP Ruby Dhalla charged by her nanny

Posted by admin on Apr 20th, 2011

Published On Wed Apr 20 2011, MIKE CASSESE/REUTERS Dale Brazao Staff Reporter

The high-profile case involving Liberal MP Ruby Dhalla and a former nanny who alleged abuse in the family household is on hold until after the election. The case was adjourned to June 9 after Dhalla’s lawyer, Michael Mazzuca, argued that the Brampton MP and her family were working round the clock trying to get her re-elected. Mazzuca said Ruby Dhalla, her mother Tavinder and her brother Neil couldn’t come to court and instruct him on how to proceed with their motion against their former nanny, who claimed she was exploited while working for the family at their Mississauga home three years ago.

“They know that our client is in the middle of a political campaign and their interest in proceeding with this motion is for political reasons,” Mazzuca told a small claims court in Brampton Tuesday.

The Dhallas are seeking a court order enforcing a settlement, but nanny Richelyn Tongson is opposing it because it contains a gag clause.

Tongson’s lawyer Asiya Hirji dismissed the charges of political motivation as “nonsense,” saying it was the Dhallas who brought the motion, and had already been successful in postponing it once before.

Tongson was in court and another delay would cause Tongson undue hardship as she had to take time off work and travel from Thornhill each time, lawyer Hirji said. “I googled (Dhalla’s) office and it’s only nine minutes from the courthouse. There is no reason why they couldn’t be here.”

In their motion the Dhallas claim Tongson backed out of a May 2010 deal that would have paid the nanny $5,000 for unpaid overtime over three months in 2008. The agreement called for Ruby Dhalla’s name to be dropped from the lawsuit and a confidentiality clause that would prevent Tongson from talking about any aspect of the settlement.

Tongson was not at the settlement hearing. The deal was signed on her behalf by her former lawyer, Charles Sinclair. In her affidavit Tongson says she was not aware Sinclair had agreed to a gag order. Tongson has said she would never agree to a deal that would prevent her from discussing the “horrid things which I had been forced to endure in that household.”

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