Well, what a day!
I went to Cornwall yesterday (04 September 2007) fully expecting to sit in on a few hours of Steve Parisien’s obstruct justice trial.
I arrived at 09:30 hours (9:30 am) for a 10 am start. I left at 14:40 (2:20 PM).
In those five hours I caught one hour of testimony. One hour!
Listen to this….
The trial, as I said, was scheduled to start at 10 am, in courtroom #6. This is my recollection of the morning’s events:
!0 am. Postponed ‘till 11 am.
11 am. Postponed ‘till 12 noon.
Noon. Postponed ‘till 12:30 pm.
12:30 pm: Waiting. A court clerk asked defence lawyer Bill Wade and Assistant Crown J. Spare if they would check with the judge when he arrived to see if he planned to stay the night in Cornwall and would he be able to start earlier tomorrow than the scheduled 10:00 am start – perhaps 09:00 or 09:30? She noted the obvious: “We’ve lost a lot of time.”
No one knew the judges plans. Assistant Crown Spare noted that he had a three hour drive from Belleville Ontaro – byt added he would do what his honour says.
12:45 pm: Postponed ‘till 1:30 pm.
1:30 pm. In the courtroom. Waiting….
1:40 pm: Mr. Justice James A. Fontana arrived. He apologized for his late arrival. Fontana explained that he had a medical appointment in the morning. He had waited four months to get it. He didn’t want to give it up and have to wait another four months!
I am serious.
Then it was right down to business.
Vikki Roy (Albert’s wife) was put on the stand. Her examination in chief was over in the twinkle of an eye. In another twinkle, her cross-examination was wrapped up.
Albert Roy was put on the stand. In the twinkle of an eye Albert’s examination in chief was over and done with.
At 1:40 pm I left. Albert’s cross-examination was under way.
All that in jammed into the space of one short hour!!
A few notes on the evidence I heard:
(1) Vikki believes the purpose of the Cornwall Public Inquiry is to ‘basically bring community awareness of the whole thing going on’ and “bring truth out.”
(2) Albert was in the Weave Shed while Vikki gave her testimony about the 04 December 2006 late night phone call from Steve to Albert. Albert was apparently not asked to leave;
(3) Vikki was in the Weave Shed when Albert took the stand after her and testified about the phone call from Steve. Vikki was apparently not asked to leave;
(4) Police interviewed Vikki and Albert together;
(5) Vikki and Albert were not allowed into the courtroom yesterday (Tuesday 04 September 2007) while the other testified;
(6) Vikki was annoyed when Bill Wade (defence) asked about Albert’s mental health. She said that wasn’t relevant. She acknowledged Albert had attempted suicide in the past and that he was upset while he was testifying at the Cornwall Public Inquiry;
(7) Vikki testified when Steve first called she spoke to him for minutes before passing the phone to Albert. Albert testified Vikki was
on the phone with Steve for only a matter of seconds before she turned the phone over to him;
(8) Vikki testified that the commission staff wanted to broach certain matters with Albert which he didn’t think were appropriate.
According to Albert the latter included private conversations he had had with fellow victims and information regarding a meeting of victims and a lawyer. Albert testified he “didn’t feel comfortable” with what they wanted, that it “got very complicated” and in the end the lawyers were going back and forth.
(9) Albert testified that during the phone call he told Steve he was upset because the inquiry staff wanted him to tell what other victims had told him. He testified that Steve told him ‘you can just have memory lapses or lie’ and that he could plead the Fifth);
(10) Albert testified that Steve never threatened him. He also said he didn’t think Steve had the right to tell him what to say;
(11) Albert and Vikki both testified that Albert contacted Pierre Dumais (inquiry lawyer) at the CPI the next day t tell him about the call.
He allegedly told Dumais he didn’t want anything done about it, but Dumais ended up asking Vikki about the call when she was testifying;
(12) Albert denied he had been told at the inquiry to get a “damn good” lawyer; and
(13) Asked if it was true that a commonly expressed opinion regarding the Cornwall Public Inquiry is that it is a witch-hunt againstPerry Dunlop, Albert eventually, after a silence, replied that the only people he’s ever heard say that were Steve Parisien and Carson.Chisholm;
Without doubt there was further testimony regarding the above and other matters by Albert Roy during his cross-examination. I will have to learn more about it today and in the media reports.
All in all, to put it mildly, a rather bizarre day!. Constant postponements only to eventually learn that all along the assigned judge had a medical appointment which he didn’t want to forego. Why that was not announced at the start of the day is a puzzle? Perhaps the appointment was for 9 am and the judge ran into a typical doctor’s queue and had to wait? After that the drive from Ottawa to Cornwall – one hour to 11/2 depending on geographic locale in the city of Ottawa. I just don’t know. I’ve been trying to figure it out myself.
Then the super speedy examinations in chief by the Crown.
We’ll see where this all goes tomorrow. I think the Crown may have finished calling its witnesses. Then it’s over to defence. And, at the rate things are moving along this could be all wrapped up by noon. If not by noon, certainly by the end of the day.
I hope it all bodes well for Steve. Keep him and his family in your prayers.
Note that the expansion to the courthouse is part of Premier Dalton McGuinty’s “continuing commitment to the justice system in Ontario.” Jim Brownell says much the same.
Yes. Election day looms: 10 October 2007!! Rest assured that all that happens between now and then in Cornwall – in and out of the weave Shed – is done with election day in mind.
Enough for now,