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by Mike Caswell
A group of Guatemalan protesters may pursue a lawsuit in B.C. over their treatment during a 2013 incident at Tahoe Resources Inc.'s Escobal mine, the Court of Appeal for British Columbia has ruled. The court has determined that B.C. is a more appropriate venue for the case than Guatemala. It is far from clear if the protesters would receive any compensation through the Guatemalan courts, three appeal judges have found.
The ruling, published on Thursday, Jan. 26, is a substantial setback for Tahoe. A lower court judge previously declined to hear the case, finding that the B.C. courts were not the best place to hear the matter. The protesters all lived in Guatemala and their alleged injuries occurred there. They were also participating in suitable legal proceedings in that country.
The appeal court, however, has determined that the protesters will have trouble pursuing their case in Guatemala. The court proceedings in that country have been stalled since late 2015. One of the key participants was a Tahoe security manager named Alberto Rotondo, who had been under house arrest in Guatemala while the case awaited trial. On Nov. 29, 2015, he fled Guatemala, travelling to his native Peru.
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