Hard to take

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Hearings resume at 0930 hours (9:30 am)this morning, Friday, 09 January 2009. Brockville Crown attorney Curt Flanagan will take the stand.  Flanagan was called in as an “outside” Crown to handle the obstruction of justice charges which were eventually laid against former Crown attorney Malcolm MacDonald  for his role in executing the 1993 illegal $32,000 diocesan pay-off of David Silmser.

In the Fall of 1995 MacDonald pled guilty and received an absolute discharge, thereby ensuring he would not have a criminal record.   According to a news report of the day MacDonald agreed to the guilty plea in exchange for Flanagan’s offer of an absolute discharge.  Flanagan said the offer was made for several reasons, including “the exemplary background of the accused”!

Indeed at “trial” Flanagan asked Justice Lennox to easy on Malcolm because:  (1) Malcolm had entered a guilty plea; (2) the obstruct justice charge was really an attempt to obstruct justice because no criminal charges would ever have been laid against Charlie anyway!; and (3) Malcolm had an “exemplary” background!

Lennox, an Ottawa judge, was the “outside” judge called in to hear the case.  He granted the absolute discharge.  If you haven’t already done, read Lennox’ decision -and weep!

As I suggested in my March 2006 blog, those of you who know the who’s who of Cornwall should take a quick boo through the flier for  the 2004 Spring Education Conference of Ontario Crown Attorneys Association.

Look for the following names:  Michael Bryant, Robert Pelletier, Curt Flanagan, Murray MacDonald and Murray Segal.

And, as I said back in 2006:

Imagine!  One big happy family:  three full days and two full nights of educating and presenting and wining and dining and fraternizing and confiding and promising and rubbing shoulders and chitter-chatter.

Also of interest is the fact that Curt Flanagan is the son of former Ottawa Chief of Police Tom Flanagan.

As noted on the Cover-up page

 Flanigan participated in the January 1990 roasting of his father, former Ottawa Chief of Police Tom Flanagan.  Assisting with the roasting were, among others, Liberal leader John Turner, Colin McKinnon (judge who took the bench at Leduc sex abuse trial despite his heavy prior involvement with Cornwall Police Service and Cornwall Chief of Police Claude Shaver), and then Liberal MPP Dalton McGuinty (now Ontario premier whose Liberal government is responsible for the inquiry, it’s mandate and the selection of Justice Normand Glaude).

Yes indeed, ……One big happy family!

****

I don’t know what to say about yesterday’s testimony by Assistant Crown Alain Godin.  I just don’t. I spent the evening and a good part of the night thinking it through.

First, Godin’s examination in chief was conducted in French.  That makes for some difficulty, especially when there are, as there were, gaps in translation.

On top of that it was just plain nigh impossible to follow the while thing.  I had the misfortune of attending three of the four Project Truth trials Godin prosecuted and lost so I had an idea of the issues, but even at that I was frequently lost.

And then on top of it, all there is Alain Godin.  He is just a rather intriguing human being who often seems to have difficulty articulating his thoughts.  That’s the way it was at the trials, and that’s the way it was yesterday.

What do I and can I say?

I will settle for the following….

So we heard and ad nauseam about Godin’s defence based on his “theory” of grooming and networking.  And we heard about Godin’s insistence that he had no need to call in an expert witness because he had Claude Marleau as a witness and no expert could do better than Claude, and we heard Godin’s attempts to deal with consent issues by using his grooming theory.  And we heard that he stuck with his grooming theory defence even after a hole or two had been shot through it at a previous trial.  And we heard that Godin believes that Father Paul Lapierre  was found guilty in Quebec because Lapierre didn’t testify.

We heard of friction between Godin and Crown attorney Shelley Hallett, and that he and Hallett would argue their differences in trial tactics or whatever in front of Claude Marleau.  And we heard that Godin had all the trials involving Claude Marleau as victim EXCEPT that of Dr. Peachy and that Shelley Hallett had the Peachy prosecution because Peachy was a coroner.  And we heard that although Hallett was a Crown and Godin an assistant Crown they worked in parallel and each did his/her own thing, and that Godin was not accountable to Hallett and she was definitely not his boss.

We also heard Godin virtually scoff at the thought of conducting surveillance or wiretaps, and discount conspiracy because, according to him the sex abuse allegations were 40 years old and there was no evidence of conspiracy.

And we heard that Godin was based in distant Fort Francis, Ontario and travelled back and forth, spending about two to three weeks in Cornwall at a spell before returning to Fort Francis where he had to carry on his duties as Crown because he was the only Crown in Fort Francis.  And we heard that Godin had no secretary or researcher to assist him in Cornwall, and no office, and that he hunkered into his hotel room and made that his office, and that he used the offices of police the Project Truth secretary from time to time.  And we heard that Godin had no problems with his limited resources because he was used to that in his work in Northern Ontario and felt he was able to do the job in Cornwall because he was used to it.

We heard that Godin knew Cornwall Crown Murray MacDonald  before his arrival, and that he visited him on his arrival and then pulled back when he learned that Murray MacDonald was somehow implicated in the scandal.  We also learned that Godin knew Project Truth officer Don Genier well and spent considerable time with Genier. And we heard that Project Truth officers filled Godin in on Perry Dunlop, and according to Godin, told him that Perry had conducted an investigation that wasn’t assigned to him, and Perry carried on after being told not to, and Perry was almost conducting a parallel investigation, and that Perry was out looking for victims on his own. “That’s what I was told” said Godin.

We heard that Don Johnson was hankering for disclosure of Perry Dunlop materials.  A judge concurred with Godin and ruled that Perry’s minimal contact with Claude Marleau was irrelevant.

We heard that Godin feels he did everything according to hoyle and wouldn’t change a thing.

All very hard to take 🙁

A few final thoughts or observations

 (1) It is very true that Claude Marleau was an excellent and eloquent witness.  He certainly was.  That made the acquittals all the harder to take.  I will also add that I do believe an excellent witness is for naught if a Crown is incapable of pulling the pieces together to get his evidence out and present it in a rationale fashion, and that I believe it goes without saying that an expert witness could do what Claude was incapable of doing, i.e., explaining to the judge that Claude’s failure to come forward for years on end is stereotypical of most male victims of childhood same-sex sexual abuse.

(2)  The spin on Perry was carried on from police officers to Crowns.

(3)  There was talk of Godin not carrying on with a line of questioning after it was determined that it fell under priest-penitent privilege or whatever that is called.  It was pointed out to Godin that Ontario does not recognize the privilege.  Godin said he chose not to pursue it.

My recollection of that is that it was NOT something which fell under the seal of confession.  Father Paul Lapierre made some comment about something being told him in confidence, and it was secret.  That somehow morphed into an issue of confession.  I recall distinctly that it was not presented by Lapierre as something which was related to him in confession.  It was something told to him in confidence.  Very very different.  I was disturbed that Godin did not push on on it at trial.

(4)  I don’t recall ever hearing why the Johnson/Godin Project Truth trials were not trials by jury.  There is a possibility that was Claude’s choice because at that time and for various reasons he was anxious to retain his anonymity.  But, was that the case?

(5)  Godin was called to the bar in Ontario in 1985.  He has been all over the province.  He spent some time working with the Labour Compensation Board in Ottawa,.  He spent time as an assistant Crown in North York and while there did some teaching at Seneca College.  He worked for the Department of Justice.  He spent time in Forth Francis Ontario.  He is presently on secondment in Welland, Ontario.

I will get the transcript and put together a page for Alain Godin.  Will also get today’s media posted. Keep an eye on New to the Site on the Home page.

[P.S.  One day on the stand for an assistant Crown who lost four Project Truth trials!!]

Enough for now,

Sylvia

([email protected])

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3 Responses to Hard to take

  1. Sylvia says:

    Commission counsel Karen Jones is doing a bang up job of dissecting Curt Flanagan’s “prosecution” of Malcolm MacDonald. Way to go!! This is long long over due!

  2. Sylvia says:

    1155 am: They’ve gone in camera. Seems Joens is about to question Flanagan about his involvement with the Jean Luc Leblanc files and there is a need to ensure this does not interefere with any ongoing proceedings. This would be consistent with my impression from Don Johnson that perhaps there are more charges in the offing and Johnson has been retained.

    Anyway, they are going in camera. Glaude will dcide if the examination in chief regarding Leblanc should continue in camera. If they acrry on in camera they will be gone for about an hour. If Glaude’s decision is there is no need to conduct the hearing in camera they will be back in half-an-hour.

    Interesting indeed – Flanagan has been rather estensivley involved in Cornwall. Sounds like he even gave an opinion on charges against Father Charlie. Flanigan doesn’t recall that, but there are documents which seem to indicate his involvement and he doesn’t deny that he may have given an opinion. Given Flanagan’s prosecution of Malcom MacDonald and reasons of agreement to an absolute discharge seems to me that is yet another in the lengthy list of conflicts in the Cornwall sex abuse scandal and cover-up.

  3. Sylvia says:

    All wrapped up well before 3 pm so all could catch their planes, trains and automobiles and head for their respective homes across the province.

    So, one short day for Curt Flanagan. Dalton McGuinty certainly knew what he was up to when he dropped the ax on the inquiry leaving minimal or no time to whisk the AG witnesses on and off the stand.

    BUT, brief as it was, some very interesting information from Flanagan’s testimony. A few chunky crumbs fell under the table 🙂

    For one, thanks to Frank Horn Flanagan was obliged to admit he knows Colin McKinnon, and in fact in the early 80s he articled at the same firm McKinnon worked. That I beleive would be Beament and Green where McKinnon was a partner?

    It actually sounds as though Claude Shaver may well have been at his father’s roast as well. That I don’t believe
    I knew. True enough Flanagan was uncertain as to whether or not Shaver was there, but the fact he didn’t flatly deny the possibility speaks to the possibility that he could have been there. As Chiefs of neighbouring cities it would be no surprise that the pair knew each other.

    Anyway, an intersting day. Will blog later. Taking a break now….

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