An awkward moment in court

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Father Dan Miller appeared in the Pembroke courthouse this morning.  He was accompanied by Father Proulx.  Robert Carew, his lawyer, was not there.

It proved to be an awkward few moments for Father Miller.  His name was called (He’s listed on the roster as Michael D. Miller)  Dressed in gray slack sand a navyt and burgundy light jacket Miller walked up to the  front of the benches, all the while  clutching a small sheet of paper in his right hand.  He reached the last bench in the gallery on the left, – and then he carried right on into what I will refer to as the inner sanctum,  the area of the courtroom reserved for lawyers and court staff ( Those who attend court know that no one but no one is supposed to go beyond that line. )

Once inside, Father Miller hesitantly moved forward, and as he did so there was a startled recognition  that he was moving right into their space.  That prompted a small flurry of activity – people trying to tell him to go back,- go back.  Initially Father Miller didn’t quite grasp what was happening, but , at point in time realized that had to go back, and so he did.  It probably was one of those moments which was over and done with in a flash, but as it played out it seemed to run in slow motion.

I and a friend were sitting in the front row.  After his retreat, Father Miller wound up right beside me.  There he stood, clutching that little sheet of paper.  Then the questions came.  It went something like this:

Was he there with instructions from counsel?  Yes.

Was he provided with available dates to set another date>  Yes.

Were any of the three dates available for the rest of this year on his list?  No.

Is 14 January of 2014 on the list?  Yes.

Okay, and what is the reason for adjournment?   A blank.  Father Miller had no idea.  He started to say ‘I have an accusation against me…”  He was cut off.  That wasn’t what this was all about.

It was around this time that  a man on the inside spoke up.  I don’t know who he was, but he did know that Mr. Carew’s plan was, and that is to to set a date for examination for discovery.  This is what happened with the first set of charges too.  Carew opts to go for  examination for discovery.  Examination for discovery allows Carew to find out what the complainant has to say, and to pepper him with questions regarding his allegations and see how well he holds up under questioning  (ditto other witness who might be called to testify at a trial).  Unlike the more common preliminary hearing which is conducted in a courtroom before a judge and is open to the public, the examination is conducted in a specially equipped room away from the courthouse, without a judge and is taped. It’s all done behind closed doors.  I have no idea where transparency is supposed to factor in here. No matter, that is the plan.

I’m not sure what the next round of discussion was about, but I do know that Father Miller was instructed to be back in court at 1:30 pm this afternoon “to set a date for Mr. Carew as you’ve been instructed.”

I didn’t stay around to find out what would happen 1:30 pm court.  That’ a long time to wait,  plus there is word of a bad storm moving in to the area later today – best to get on the road and homeward bound while the getting is good 🙂  Right now the sky is that ominous grey which usually heralds snow, ad there’ s barely a breath of wind.  Very very still!  It’s good to be home 🙂

I will check tomorrow to find out when the next  courtdate is.  Perhaps it will be straight on to examination for discovery, or perhaps it will be back on 14 January to set a date for examination for discovery?  We shall see.


I have more information on yesterday’s  testimony at the Father Eric Dejager sex abuse trial.  I will get that together later.


One more reminder that Father Miller will be sentenced on his first set of charges on Thursday.,  Mark your calendars.

Thursday,  28 November 2013 09:30 am, courtroom #5 Pembroke court house (297 Pembroke Street East)

Those who go, check at the desk to ensure that the sentencing is still slated for courtroom #5.  It was changed to a larger courtroom last time.

Enough for now,


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7 Responses to An awkward moment in court

  1. Eve says:

    Examination for discovery, so Miller’s lawyer can basically grill his accusers alone in a room ???….. That’s awful!!

    • Disgusted catholic says:

      Disgusting. Do the victims not have anyone to protect them during this. How can this be legal. Sounds cruel. Not what victims need

    • Sylvia says:

      They’re not alone a room per se Eve. There are lawyers there. This is the same procedure which is routinely conducted in lawsuits. In lawsuits lawyers for both sides are present. In this case, where it is part of the criminal process, Mr. Carew and someone from the Crown’s office will be present.

      My problem with going this route instead of the standard preliminary hearing is the lack of transparency, ir the public can not attend and therefore know what exactly the allegations entail. There is already too much going on behind closed in criminal cases.

  2. D.M.H. says:

    I think the “inner sanctum” “beyond that line” word you are looking for Syliva is “the Bar” ?

  3. Sylvia says:

    Is it “the Bar” DMH? I have no idea. I tried to find out and failed. I doubt that I would refer to the people in “the Bar” or the area in the Bar – no one would have a clue what I’m talking about.

    • D.M.H. says:

      I might be wrong. I always thought someone who became a lawyer and “passed the bar” meant he or she could walk beyond the public seating area. The way courtrooms have changed over the years there may have been at one point a barrier between the two areas.

      • Suzanne Herrick-Lee says:

        There is no physical barrier, mark or posting to indicate not to “cross over” into the “inner sanctum” of the court. To the uninitiated, one would not have any awareness, especially when the lawyers were coming and going like a revolving door, just saying……

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