Principal cross-examined at Toronto teacher’s negligence trial

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A high school principal is continuing his testimony in the case of a Toronto teacher accused in the death of a teen who drowned during a wilderness field trip.

Monday Gala is taking the stand for a second day at the trial of Nicholas Mills, who is charged with criminal negligence causing death in the July 2017 incident.

Mills was a teacher at C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute and led the canoe trip to Algonquin Provincial Park during which 15-year-old Jeremiah Perry drowned.

Perry disappeared in the water at Big Trout Lake, and his body was recovered the next day by police divers.

Prosecutors allege Mills neglected safety rules and requirements related to the trip.

During cross-examination today, Gala was pressed on whether he allowed Mills to bring his son on school excursions, including the Algonquin trip, despite his initial objection.

Gala maintained he had unequivocally forbidden Mills from bringing his children on any field trips more than a year earlier, citing concerns over liability and the teacher’s ability to supervise a group with his own son in tow.

But the defence instead suggests the principal reluctantly relented after hearing Mills, who is divorced, had no other child-care options and would have to cancel several scheduled field trips if he couldn’t bring his son.

On Thursday, Gala told the court he did not check the results of a mandatory swim test before the trip.

Court heard students were required to pass the test, or a second make-up test, in order to participate in the excursion.  Those who failed would instead be offered another outdoor activity that didn’t involve water at a later date, court heard.

The trial is taking place via videoconference.