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B.C. tribunal rules $2,000 bail money was not a gift

Victoria Barton sent $2,000 to Bruce Endicott and Shaely Wilbur to get a mutual family member out of jail.
B.C.’s Civil Resolution Tribunal says $2,000 to get a family member out of jail wasn't a gift.

B.C.’s Civil Resolution Tribunal has rejected the argument that two people giving others money to bail a mutual family member out of jail was a gift.

Victoria Barton and Deborah Barton told tribunal member Maria Montgomery they sent $2,000 to Bruce Endicott and Shaely Wilbur for the bail.

In her June 18 decision, Montgomery said it was Victoria Barton who gave the money to the pair.

She said Endicott and Wilbur, as respondents in the case, bore the burden to prove that the payment was intended as a gift or that they have repaid Barton.

“I find the respondents have not met their burden,” Montgomery said.

She said it was undisputed that Barton had $2,000 deposited into Wilbur’s account.

“Ms. Barton says she sent this payment to assist in bailing a family member out of jail and that it was not a gift,” Montgomery said.

Still, the tribunal member explained, Barton was not required to prove that Endicott and Wilbur agreed to repay the $2,000. Rather, it was up to Endicott and Wilbur to prove that Barton intended the payment as a gift, instead of a loan.

“This is because the law presumes bargains rather than gifts and to presume otherwise would result in the respondents’ unjust enrichment in receiving the payment without giving Ms. Barton anything of value in return,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery noted that, in text messages tendered as evidence, Deborah Barton asked Wilbur when the bail monies would be returned.

Montgomery said the law of gifts required that Endicott and Wilbur prove it was gift.

“I find that the evidence before me does not show that Ms. Barton had this intention,” Montgomery said. “As the respondents have not met their burden of demonstrating that the $2,000 they received was a gift, they must repay this amount to Ms. Barton."