KAMLOOPS - A Lower Mainland woman is walking away with a legal victory and an expensive engagement ring after a whirlwind relationship with a B.C. Interior man went wrong.
Kamloops Supreme Court Judge Murray Blok says in his written decision delivered on Nov. 9 the couple, only identified as Mr. S, 64, and Ms. R, 59, met in September 2013 and by October they were romantically involved.
During their brief relationship, Blok says Mr. S paid for Ms. R's line of credit and her mortgage which totalled about $85,000. He also proposed to Ms. R on Christmas Day, giving her an engagement ring worth $17,360.
Mr. S took the matter to court after the couple split up. He demanded to be paid back for the line of credit and mortgage he paid for and asked forthe return of the engagement ring. He said they were "conditional gifts" given at the promise of marriage.
Mr. S retired in 2005, selling his business for a "large sum of money." He has been married and divorced twice, according to Blok's decision. Ms. R is a healthcare professional working in the Lower Mainland. She has been married and divorced.
After being introduced by mutual friends, Blok says the two exchanged emails, photographs and phone calls before actually meeting in person. For their first date, which was their first in-person meeting, Mr. S flew to the Vancouver area in his private airplane.
They dined together and things went "very well," Blok says. Mr. S said he was swept away and that they shared similar values and interests.
Mr. S testified that a month into their relationship the couple began discussing marriage. They went shopping for engagement rings at the end of October 2013 and Mr. S put a 50 per cent deposit on the ring of choice.
"Mr. S said he was a very happy man because he was in love and was going to marry 'a very nice young lady'," Blok says in his decision.
The ring arrived in December around Christmas time and Ms. R started wearing it. The couple took a trip to California where they introduced themselves to people as engaged.
In his decision, Blok says a "very unfortunate incident" happened while they were in Palm Springs.
"Essentially Mr. S forced himself sexually on Ms. R," he says. "According to Mr. S., Ms. R asked him to stop but he said 'I will decide when to stop' and carried on. Mr. S said that despite his immediate apology, 'she clammed up and was not communicative. The whole tone changed.'"
Ms. R said she was made to feel “like a piece of meat." She thought he was a “monster." She said she did not know what he was capable of and because of that she was fearful of him.
The trip back home was tense and Mr. S returned to his Interior home. The couple spoke on the phone a day or two after their return, Blok says, when Ms. R told Mr. S she was calling everything off.
Mr. S tried contacting Ms. R in the weeks following their return home but he had no success. He wanted to discuss some personal items he had of hers and the money. He sent an email to her saying "Please be advised I will be showing up on your doorstep (on a date given later in the email) to exchange belongings, discuss the loans that I, in good faith (promise of marriage) helped you with and hopefully about what the heck happened."
They met and she advised him that she considered the payment of the debts a gift. She tried to give him her engagement ring but he told her to go to the jewellery store to try and get his money back.
However, Ms. R said Mr. S told her to use the money from the ring to help pay for her daughter's wedding and that it would just be their "little secret."
"Based on all of the circumstances I conclude that it is not obvious that the gift carried with it the implied term that it was intended to be revocable if the marriage did not take place," Blok says in his decision.
Blok dismissed Mr. S's case. Ms. R does not have to reinburse him for the debts he paid off or return the engagement ring.
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