“The Right to Know is the Bedrock of Democracy”

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I feel I really have to add a few odds and ends to shed a little more light on Justice Cunningham’s verdict that Dick Nadeau was guilty of contempt of court.

It’s difficult.  As with all things Cornwall related nothing but nothing is straight forward and easily explained, especially when it comes to transcripts such as that of Cunningham’s Reasons for Judgment which, barring access to transcripts of the hearing itself and background information of events, become the official record of events.

The guilty verdict is no exception.  I have been meditating on how to explain the verdict as simply as possible.  Not easy.  It entails going through reams of documents, notes and transcripts and at this moment in time I just don’t have the time to embark on that task.

However I did dig out a few bits and pieces which may cast a little light on the matter and help you to understand what transpired in the name of justice.

Before I begin I must make clear that I didn’t always agree with how Dick Nadeau addressed the Cornwall situation but I understood his terrible frustration and need to tackle the problem head-on.  To my knowledge there is  no hand-book on exposing “alleged” paedophile rings or “alleged” coverups of sexual abuse involving prominent men who are considered trusted pillars of the community – i.e., clergy, bishops, police, lawyers, probation officers and so on. It’s uncharted territory. 

Still, Dick entered the Cornwall fray when all other approaches seemed doomed.  He tackled the situation the only way he knew how, head-on, bluntly exposing what he believed was being kept under wraps and the dirty secrets he believed would otherwise never see the light of day.  For that he paid the price.

That said, let me give you a brief rundown of what was going on at the Leduc trial and where Dick fit in to a scenario which gave rise to the battle between Justice McKinnon and Dick Nadeau.

First you must understand that Justice Colin McKinnon took the bench at the sexual abuse trial of Cornwall lawyer and Church canon lawyer of Jacques Leduc DESPITE his prior long-term prior involvement with the Cornwall Police Service and former Chief of Police Claude Shaver, both of whom were implicated in allegations of cover-up following the eruption of the scandal in late 1993 and early 1994.  And McKinnon also took the bench DESPITE the fact he had personal involvement in attempts to, as I would say, tar and feather Perry Dunlop for going to the Children’s Aid Society with the sexual abuse allegations against Father Charles MacDonald and probation officer and ex-seminarian Ken Seguin, a step which led to the discovery in early 1994 that “D.S.,” the alleged victim, had been paid off by the diocese and illegally gagged in a settlement hammered out by three lawyers, only one of whom was charged with obstructing justice and one of the pair NOT charged was Jacques Leduc.

Still, McKinnon took the bench at Jacques Leduc’s trial 15 January 2001.

On 17 January 2001 Nadeau wrote on his Projecttruth2.com website:

Jacques Leduc’s  trial began on Monday the 15th of January. Jacques is 49, married, a pretend Knight, a lawyer, a canon lawyer and former legal counsel for the Diocese ….[this is where Nadeau referred to Leduc as a paedophile rather than an alleged paedophile].  He played the fall guy in his role in the $32,000 payoff to David Silmser, and on whether the contract contained a gag order or not. It did and the bishop said he never knew about it. Jacques said they hadn’t read the contract and he would fall on his sword. Jacques was an associate of Nelson Barque when Barque worked for the school board in the 80s. It’s the same crowd. It’s always the bishop, Seguin, Malcolm and company.

He is charged with five counts of sexual assault, six of sexual exploitation, four of procuring the sexual services of someone under age, and one each of sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching. There may be additional charges. There are three plaintiffs. I believe they are still boys today but I’m not sure.

 The courtroom is empty except for a woman who I presume is his wife. The past two days have been all motions. Motions like a publication ban on the witnesses’ names and one that will really be fought over. The defence wants a trial by judge only and the Crown wants a jury trial. The judge feels that it will be difficult to find fair and impartial jurors in Cornwall. They wanted to begin jury selection by Friday but it will go to Monday. The judge will call on 100 people initially to form the jury pool but he believes that one hundred will not be enough and may call up to 800 people to get a jury.

As you can see, we’re quite a few days from actual trial.

Note that Nadeau wrote that the Crown wanted a trial by jury, Leduc did not and McKinnon allegedly expressed his opinion that it would be difficult to find fair and impartial jurors in Cornwall.  According to McKinnon publication of that information violated a publication ban and was suffice to contaminate the jury pool..

That briefly was round one.  Meanwhile Nadeau’s site had been taken down several times by hackers and attempts were under way to have it legally shut down.

Round two came days later (20 January 2001) with Nadeau’s infamous “The Right to Know is the Bedrock of Democracy” wherein Nadeau specifically references McKinnon’s connections to Claude Shaver and questions the judges ability to conduct an impartial trial.

The section of Bedrock which seemd to particularly offend Justice McKinnon is reproduced elsewhere in legal documents.  I have decided that the entire commentary warrants posting and have done so.  It is linked to the commentary on the Naudeau page.

On 22 January 2001 in repsonse to the Bedrock posting a rather annoyed McKinnon cited Nadeau with contempt, BUT – important –  said not a single boo about the referenced McKinnon-Claude Shaver connection.

McKinnon said he found Nadeua’s commentary “contemptuous,” claimed it “does great harm to the due administration of justice by ascribing questionable motives and biases on the part of the Crown and myself” and revealed that contempt citations are “very rare” and: “This is the first time I’ve ever done it.”

McKinnon ordered Nadeau not publish anything with respect to any Project Truth trials, not to publish anything “with respect to this matter,” and not to publish:

 “Anything to do with this trial”

“Anything to do with Ms. Hallett” [Crown Attorney]

“Anything to do with me” [Justice McKinnon]

“Anything to do with defence counsel”

The next significant event which indirectly impacted Dick Nadeau transpired on 15 February 2006 when a furious Colin McKinnon showed up in court after reading “No Closure in Cornwall,” an article in the western-based Report magazine which quoted Nadeau.

McKinnon expressed “tremendous concerns” that the article was “adulatory” of Perry Dunlop, claimed “We are not living in Salem,” tried to sort out if he could perhaps somehow cite the Report publishers with contempt and indicated the court cannot permit continuance of pieces talking of cover-up.

And still, despite the fact that Dunlop’s name had been brought into the Leduc trial on 07 February 2006 and had been seized upon by Leduc as a means to achieve a stay, and despite McKinnon’s outrage over an article which he had read and judged as “adulatory” of Dunlop, not a boo from Justice Colin McKinnon about the role he played in having Dunlop charged under the Ontario Police Services Act and not a whimper about his prior involvement with the Cornwall Police Service or Shaver.

Then, on 19 February 2001 when Dick Nadeau was called as the first witness for what was to be Leduc’s attempt to have the trial stayed because an alleged victims’s distraught mother placed a call to Perry Dunlop, Nadeau immediatley requested leave to address the court.

Once given permission to speak, as I wrote in a complaint filed with the Canadian Judicial Council:

Mr. Nadeau advised that he, Nadeau, had been cited for contempt by Justice McKinnon for previously questioning Justice McKinnon’s bias and possible conflict of interest. Mr. Nadeau then stated that he had letters written in 1994 in which Justice McKinnon threatened to sue Carson Chisholm, Perry Dunlop’s brother-in-law. Mr. Nadeau asked justice McKinnon to recuse himself.

Justice McKinnon appeared puzzled and said that he had no memory of such letters. He asked to see them. When the said letters were produced from a binder in the court they were handed over to the Crown. Justice McKinnon asked that they be read into the record. Both letters were written on legal letterhead. Both letters were signed by Colin D. McKinnon Q.C. Both letters were re Claude Shaver.

One letter, dated 14 October 1994, was addressed to the publisher of the Seaway News. The other, dated 18 October 1994, was addressed to Carson Chisholm. Both letters threaten legal action. The letter to the Seaway News shows that Justice McKinnon was very familiar with the allegations of cover-up of sexual abuse allegations. It also shows that he was very familiar with the actions of the Cornwall Police Service and the conduct and person of Constable Perry Dunlop.

After the letters were read into the record, Justice McKinnon said that his memory was “refreshed somewhat.” Shortly thereafter, Justice McKinnon indicated that “this was all very far out of my memory but I’m now refreshed” and added that it was no secret that he acted for Claude Shaver and the Cornwall Police Services.

Following a brief recess, Justice McKinnon advised that he may have forgotten other prior involvement regarding Dunlop and the Cornwall Police Service and that “the right thing for me to do” would be to review files at the police station “just to see whether there’s anything that may be there that could at some other time in this trial have an effect.”

The rest is history.  McKinnon allegedly discovered that he had indeed forgotten his prior Dunlop dealings.  Indeed, McKinnon had allegedly forgotten that he himself had directed the Cornwall Police Service to undertake the ground-breaking step of charging Dunlop under the Ontario Police Services Act.  And he had allegedly forgotten that he had directed Cornwall police to launch an appeal when Dunlop came out unscathed.

McKinnon was obliged to recuse himself.

Justice James Chadwick came in out of nowhere with no interest whatever in what Leduc did or did not do to young boys – but no lack of interest in what Perry Dunlop did or did not do, and no hesitation disparaging Dunlop and climbing aboard with the lynching, and no shortage of sympathy for Jacques Leduc, an alleged paedophile. Justice Cunninghan was said to have aided in selecting Chadwick as McKinnon’s replacement.

Leduc “walked” – his first before his second and final “walk.”

That’s a wee bit of background on the events leading to Dick Nadeau’s conviction on a contempt of court citation laid by Justice Colin McKinnon.

Incidentally on 21 February 2001 Nadeau wrote on his website:

You have no doubt noticed that many articles are missing. In fact the site has been purged of some 50 articles by the court, mostly to do with police corruption and the bishop and his priests. It seems that they are still under investigation on a number of charges.  Project Truth has charged 15 suspects out of 68. Twenty six have died, leaving charges against 27 men which the Crown has not yet made decisions on.

My contempt charge says that I cannot write about people who have been charged therefore I can’t write much about the trial itself. I’m still wondering what I can write about without bringing further contempt on myself.

Dick was silenced. 

What more can I dare say than when it comes to dealing with sex abuse allegations in Cornwall that seems to be the way justice is rendered and children are protected?

And that’s enough for now,

Sylvia
(cornwall@theinquiry.ca)

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