06/11/2013 10:32 EDT | Updated 08/11/2013 05:12 EDT

Nova Scotia government knew of alleged abuse at Halifax orphanage, court told

HALIFAX - A lawyer for ex-residents of a Halifax orphanage who claim they were sexually abused, beaten and deprived of food says the provincial government knew what was allegedly happening at the home but chose to ignore it.

Mike Dull made the comments today in provincial Supreme Court on the second day of a certification hearing to approve a lawsuit launched against the government as a class action.

The proposed class includes about 155 ex-residents of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children, who allege they suffered years of sexual, physical and psychological abuse by staff over a 50-year period up until the 1980s.

A lawyer for the government spent Monday asking the judge to dismiss portions of selected affidavits filed as part of the proposed lawsuit because he said they contain speculation or hearsay.

But Dull says the affidavits, most of which were filed by alleged victims, are fair and honest accounts of decades-old memories.

Judge Arthur LeBlanc is expected to render his decision on the admissibility of the affidavits Wednesday, which would clear the way for arguments to begin on the proposed certification.