If you thought the issues regarding disclosure of documents and redactions were settled: not!
First, I just have to say that this mandate must be exceeding its crafters wildest dreams!
Now that I have that off my chest, back to the Weave Shed.
More chaos at the Weave Shed yesterday, and it’s all tied into confidentiality, disclosure and redactions and who doesn’t want to disclose what and which redactions have become a major problem and what redactions are unacceptable.
It’s all still up in the air and the arguments to and fro have resumed this morning, but in the midst of it all yesterday came judicial assurance that even if certain information is NOT redacted one and all have essentially been sworn to secrecy regarding disclosed documents, and that on top of that there is recourse to in camera sessions for testimony and witnesses. As Glaude said:
when we get to that point in evidence where it’s going to go to the public, well, then we have to decide whether it will be in camera or in public, but that’s a whole different ballgame.
Remember: This is Cornwall’s “public” inquiry!!
And never forget that this circus is the McGuinty government’s response to allegations of a paedophile ring and cover-up.
Anyway, this morning there will be more legalese and the gang will pick up were they left off yesterday as the wagons once again circle to protect the “alleged” paedophiles and sexual predators of Cornwall.
Meanwhile a brief recap on what this SOS session is all about:
Ontario Provincial Police (OPP)
You may recall several months that there was a minor ruckus over the OPP’s disclosure of documents, specifically its concern that the thousands and thousands of pages of un-redacted documents disclosed to the commission would in turn be disclosed to participating legal counsel and/or their clients with standing.
One of the OPP’s chief concerns was that the names of police informants would be disclosed.
A method of redacting such names and information was agreed to and that was it.
Seems the OPP determined that police informants are not just those who relay information regarding drug deals and so on, they are also sexual abuse victims and/or others who provide information regarding sexual abuse to the OPP in confidence on the grounds that they don’t want to be involved but want to divulge this information and want to retain their anonymity. The OPP, it seems, has been ready to provide that assurance.
For the past months with approval of “the commission” the OPP adapted a process whereby it busily pored through thousands of documents and redacted in the manner which presumably had been agreed upon. In the process every name and identifier of every soul who showed up requesting anonymity when reporting sexual abuse incidents or allegations in confidence has been redacted. There is absolutely nothing left which would identify these individual in any way, shape or form.
For several parties, that’s obviously a problem. There is a need to have the identity of those individuals.
Correcting the problem is apparently no simple matter. Unbelievable as it seems, no one kept track of which names and information was redacted on those grounds. It is guesstimated that there may be approximately 20 names redacted in this manner – and there are 100,000 OPP documents disclosed containing in the order of 70,000 redactions!
Resolution to this mess is yet to come, but if the names must be un-redacted no matter how it is approached it will be time consuming and inevitably cause delays. Glaude intends to start calling the inquiry’s token victims 11 September.
Incidentally the OPP had a contingent of no less than six representing its interests at the Weave Shed yesterday.
Children’s Aid Society (CAS)
Meanwhile the CAS claims that those who report sexual abuse allegations to CAS often have expectations of confidentiality. The CAS also believes that the names of victims’ family should remain confidential.
Cornwall Police Service (CPS)
Here again the issue of victims and others who report to police in confidence while retaining their anonymity is an issue.
Mr. Sheriff-Scott has made clear that he will move for a publication ban where necessary and “I will oppose the testimony of any witness who has never historically made an allegation of abuse against any person connected with my client to any public institution or any new testimony in that regard.”
And another bird’s eye-view of where this seemingly out-of-control inquiry is heading and in the midst of the chaos what and who is on the mind of the commissioner who has dismissed the “rumour” and “innuendo” which are swirling in Cornwall as false.
While Mr. Chisholm, legal counsel for CAS had the floor attempting to prove that certain informants approach the agency in confidence, the following exchange transpired:
THE COMMISSIONER: Well, let’s assume for a minute that — and I’m just throwing this out – the confidential informant, all right, the person who reports to the Children’s Aid Society — well, the name Dunlop is a pretty good one to use and you don’t have to say so. So let’s assume we have out there that Officer Dunlop did report to your people. It’s out in the public form. Okay.
MR. CHISHOLM: I don’t know that Constable Dunlop ever came to the Society and said, “I’m doing this on a confidential basis. I would ask” — and we’re not — if Constable Dunlop came forth with a statement from an alleged victim and provided it to the executive director of the Children’s Aid Society — and from then we have a long history of events — but in Constable Dunlop’s situation it is not my understanding that he ever requested that his identity be protected.
Let’s take an example, Mr. Commissioner, if I can move away — not move away from Constable Dunlop’s example but put another example beside it? If we have a situation of a grandmother who has her grandchildren over to her house last night. She makes observations or hears something from her grandchildren which would lead her to form the suspicion that her grandchildren may well be being abused by her son-in-law. Today she makes the call to the Children’s Aid Society and is quite concerned about the dynamics of her family relationship, the relationship with her family if her identity is to be disclosed. I would submit, Mr. Commissioner, that that is a situation that would have more bearing to the concerns that I’m advancing than Constable Dunlop’s situation.
THE COMMISSIONER: Sure, except that what –how would that file be relevant to this investigation now? How would it be relevant? So if it’s not relevant, it’s out.
MR. CHISHOLM: Well, I say now — let’s move that example back 10 years, Mr. Commissioner.
THE COMMISSIONER: M’hm.
MR. CHISHOLM: And where you may wish to examine the institutional response of the Children’s Aid Society to that referral.
THE COMMISSIONER: Well, then it might get all the more relevant, or let’s put it another way. Let’s assume that somebody is concerned about how things – other informants — for example, Mr. Dunlop’s reporting and accumulation of evidence won’t be discussed in this inquiry, okay.
So what about if somebody is saying well, what about if Mr. Dunlop reported other things? Well, that might become relevant or, if it wasn’t Mr. Dunlop, it was somebody that he knew very well.
So just going down that line, wouldn’t some of the parties want to know if there’s a connection between the informants to Mr. Dunlop? Wouldn’t that become very relevant
What do you think of that?
Doesn’t it strike you as strange that Dunlop is front-row-centre on Justice Glaude’s mind?
That raises some questions:
(1) Why would Perry Dunlop’s name spring into Glaude’s mind at this moment in time?
(2) Does Justice Glaude have a similar interest in uncovering and revealing the connections between the real and alleged paedophiles of Cornwall and various public insitutions?
(3) Does Glaude think that the connections between various Bishops, police officers, probation officers, judges and lawyers to each other are as relevant as Dunlop’s implied connection to “informants”?
Sad to say but I do believe that, yet again, former Constable Perry Dunlop will be made the scape goat for the paedophiles of Cornwall. I hope and pray my fears are proven wrong. But. . . . ? It worked before, why not?
I have been listening to goings on at the Weave Shed as I blog. I swear it goes from bad to worse.
I’ll check the transcript this evening and blog the latest developments tomorrow.
Enough for now,