What a circus!

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What a circus this inquiry has become!  It truly has.  As I watched yesterday I had the sense that the whole thing is completely out of control.  On that – for now- I’ll say no more. 

And so, here is brief account of yesterday’s proceedings at the Weave Shed: 

1)     Justice Glaude ruled that in the interests of having an inquiry which is “efficient, fair, open and transparent” all documents which the Cornwall Police Service and other parties with standing deem privileged must be disclosed to commission counsel (Engelmann I assume) who will determine which documents he considers privileged and which should be entered into evidence.  

Regarding the former, Justice Glaude presumably will neither see nor know the contents of those documents to ensure that when he writes his final report there is no fear or perception that it is based in any way on information which was not entered as evidence (the report apparently must be based exclusively on testimony and material which are entered into evidence), and regarding the latter if the party in possession of a document which it considers privileged opposes commission counsel decision to enter it into evidence Justice Glaude has ruled he will decide on a case by case basis whether he personally will be the judge to determine that the document is or is not privileged or whether he will refer it to a third party superior court justice.  How he will rule on a document’s privilege or relevance without becoming familiar with its contents is beyond me. 

 2)     Giuseppe Cipriano took time to explain in greater detail the reasons he was late on the morning of 06 June when Justice Glaude was set to give his ruling on a Cipriano motion, and Glaude issued an apology to Cipriano – “I think I was a little harsh on you:  I apologize.” 

 3)     The Ministry of the Attorney General has officially approved funding for Cipriano’s application for a judicial review before the Ontario Divisional Court of Glaude’s ruling that victims can testify, albeit in a limited fashion.  The AG and Glaude concur that the precedent setting  “exceptional ruling” in this “very unusual situation” ruling will somehow not set a precedent. 

 4)     There may be something happening in the background regarding Giuseppe Cipriano’s appearance at Divisional Court (15 July 2006) given Glaude’s statement that he “believes” the matter should proceed on that date and would really have to be persuaded otherwise because he would like the matter dealt with during the summer months to ensure it does not impede the calling of evidence in September.  (I am wondering if Cipriano or one of the other parties feel that they have insufficient time to prepare?)    

 5)     The Upper Canada District School Board which has students and staff directly implicated in the inquiry requested and was promptly granted standing for Phase I and Phase II of the inquiry.                          

Glaude looked for and received assurance that the lawyers and board can bring themselves up to speed as quickly as possibly so the Board’s entry into the inquiry does not create a delay in proceedings.  Time will now be made available sometime in August for the Board to present its corporate evidence.                                                                                          

6)     On 24 July 2006 the Ministry of the Attorney General will start to present its corporate policy evidence (policies, practices and procedures).                                                                                      

7)     It seems no one anticipated the magnitude of an inquiry in Cornwall. The Diocese, Citizens for Community Renewal, Father Charles MacDonald and the Victims group are swamped and have requested additional funding to retain additional help.  Glaude will rule on those requests over the next few days.                                       

 8)     300,000 pages of documents have been disclosed to date.

 9)     If commission lead counsel Peter Engelmann looked a wee bit weary yesterday it was probably with good cause.  Seems there has been a bit of a ruckus over the disclosure of Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) files to all parties with standing.   The OPP disclosed their files to the commission without redactions and allegedly understood that information regarding police informants and other highly confidential police matters unrelated to the inquiry would be redacted before the documents were turned over to other parties.     

Assurances were given that the documents are and will be redacted.  It’s obviously a massive undertaking and certainly questions arise as to when the documents can finally be disclosed to all parties with standing so that they can familiarize themselves with the material and prepare for the start of substantive hearings 05 September 2006 – depending on the speed at which documents are disclosed and taking into account the fact that previously down days during the summer months are slowly being taken up with other business that date may have to be re-assessed in August.     Other parties shared similar concerns regarding their disclosures.  And while agreements were reached I had the distinct sense that the issue has not been adequately laid to rest.

10)   Part of the material which the OPP wants to ensure is redacted relates to names of a number of victims who spoke to Project Truth officers with the understanding that their identities would not be revealed and they would not appear as witnesses in court proceedings.  Justice Glaude rightly indicated, in my opinion, that that information may at the least have to be disclosed to the parties with standing.   

I will leave it at that.   

I will update the dates on the front page of theinquiry.ca so we can do our very best to keep track of what has happened and what is supposed to happen at the Weave Shed.  

Enough for now,

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