I would do a terrible disservice to my coverage of the Cornwall scandal and Public Inquiry if I failed to give you a few verbatim quotes from Giusseppe Cipriano’s rant which kicked off the day on Wednesday last (10 October 2006) and constituted his belated opening statements. (Cipriano is one of Father Charles MacDonald’s – Charlie’s – lawyers)
Incidentally I have no idea what’s happening as far as Charlie’s proposed and possibly imminent courtroom foray goes. Has he dropped the notion of appealing the Ontario Divisional Court ruling on victim’s testimony for lack of funding? Has he dropped it because of a sweetheart backroom deal assuring him that one way or the other Perry Dunlop will take the fall for everything – botched inquiry included? Or is he waiting for dates or decisions?
I don’t have the foggiest.
What I do know is that on Wednesday Cipriano outdid himself in his efforts to paint Dunlop the villain and Charlie the innocent maligned bystander.
There was barely a word which came out of young Cipriano’s mouth which doesn’t warrant comment. I will limit myself to twelve excerpts from Cipriano’s statement and follow with my comments in italics.
(1) As a result of the actions of former Constable Dunlop and the intense media scrutiny, many people became the target of biased investigations where allegations were accepted as absolute truths.
Pardon me? What allegations were accepted as absolute truths? And by whom?
(2) Former Constable Dunlop took it upon himself to commence a hunt in Cornwall to uncover conspiracies that remain to this day without foundation. In so doing, he created a false expectation that fuelled the media and the citizens of Cornwall that a conspiracy of sorts existed in fact, that the City of Cornwall was plagued with a problem.
Conspiracies that remain to this day without foundation? I don’t know about the ups and downs and ins and outs of the legal definition of conspiracy, but I do know there is ample evidence that a number of male pillars of the Cornwall community who partied together and/or holidayed together are/were either known, suspect or alleged homosexual predators, bisexual predators, child molesters, paedophiles, homosexual padeophiles or pederasts.
And I do know that a number of the latter were involved in cover-up the sexual abuse allegations against Charlie.
As for without foundation, well, I don’t believe that warrants comment.
(3) He [Dunlop] met with witnesses. He provided lawyers to alleged complainants and had them sign affidavits in support of his civil actions, all to uncover something that was never there. The end results were rumours, innuendos and misinformation which divided the community.
This is pathetic. It truly doesn’t warrant comment. But, really, all to uncover something that was never there? Really? The alleged victims made it up? Is that what Charlie and his lawyers are saying here? The affidavits are lies? The allegations are lies? The “alleged” victims are all, to a man, liars?
(4) The proceedings have ended, but they slowly revealed the misconceptions and the incomplete investigation and the biases. The end result was a community that was divided.
They “slowly revealed the misconceptions and the incomplete investigations and the biases”? When? When were these so called misconceptions etc revealed? Is Charlie talking about the debacle and travesty of justice which ensued after Colin McKinnon took the bench at the sex abuse “trial” of Jacques Leduc? Or is he referring to the day he himself wrapped himself in the Charter while he oversaw the lynching of Perry Dunlop? Or is he perhaps acknowledging that he is living the obviously sorry aftermath of that infamous sex abuse trial where he, an alleged pedophile, gained a stay by keeping his alleged victims off the stand, maligning Perry Dunlop and wrapping himself in the Charter?
I can’t for the life of me conceive why Charlie is moaning. He had – and has – the Charter on his side. His alleged victims, the community and Perry Dunlop had and have no such privilege.
(5) Many innocent people suffered irreparable harm and had their lives forever destroyed as a result of the unfounded allegations and labels. For people such as Father MacDonald who became the subject of intense media scrutiny, slanderous websites and other labels, the prejudice continues well beyond the four walls of the courtroom.
True. So true. Perry Dunlop’s life will never be the same. Charlie and Jacques Leduc and their peers and supporters on the bench and in the legal community ensured that his reputation was in tatters.
As for slanderous websites, I do believe Charlie begrudges the fact that we still have freedom of speech and freedom of religion in this country – albeit to an increasingly limited degree.
(6) As a result of former Constable Dunlop’s actions, people like Father MacDonald and others have had their private lives exposed and publicly scrutinized. For those affected by the actions of former Constable Dunlop’s actions, they are permanently on trial due to the inflated expectations and the biases and tunnel-visions.
No. No. I’d say that because alleged victims finally found the courage to come forward what was allegedly done in ‘private’ by certain pillars of the comunity oozed out into the public domain.
But “inflated expectation”? Wanting a small measure of justice and truth is an “inflated” expectation? What can I say?
(7) Father MacDonald has always and continues to maintain his innocence that no criminal actions took place. Given the fact finding and investigatory nature of this Public Inquiry, it has a mandate that is well equipped to objectively and dispassionately investigate the proceedings to determine how the actions of former Constable Dunlop contributed to incomplete investigations, witness contamination, tunnel-vision and led to a poisoned
Yes indeed. Father MacDonald has always maintained his innocence. But the question on many a rational mind is if he is so innocent why didn’t he jump at the opportunity to have the sexual allegations against him tested in a court of law? Why didn’t he stick it out at his trial to earn the “not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt” which he now appears to crave so desperately? Why was he so quick to duck under the Charter? Why did he sit back and oversee the lynching of Perry Dunlop?
And yes indeed. Charlie would indeed want the inquiry to pick up where Charlie left off – another lynching. This is Father Charles MacDonald we’re talking about. A Roman Catholic priest!
(8) Only through a rational and full and dispassionate investigation of the proceedings can the Inquiry assist Cornwall in healing and removing the misconceptions. To that end, we submit that the Inquiry must focus on four general areas among others: first, a culture of fairness among the institutions charged with the investigations and prosecutions; secondly, tunnel-vision; thirdly, evidence contamination; and fourthly, the presumption of innocence.
Rational? An inquiry which should be investigating allegations of a paedophile ring and cover-up and is in fact the Perry Dunlop inquiry? That will remove the “misconceptions”? That’s rational?!!
(9) Evidence contamination. This Inquiry must look into the actions of former Constable Dunlop. This person engaged in his own investigation triggered by a belief in a clan of pedophiles, an assertion that remains to this day without foundation. Mr. Dunlop’s actions and that of his followers completely derailed any objectivity in the police investigation.
Without foundation? Perhaps Father MacDonald should have joined the Red Flag Committee to protest the appointment of Justice Normand Glaude and his mandate? Or perhaps he could lobby for an inquiry into allegations of a paedophile ring and cover-up so we can really clear the air and bring healing to Cornwall? Another lynching is another band-aid. It won’t do the trick, for Charlie, his alleged victims or the community.
(10) Finally, the presumption of innocence. The presumption of innocence is a fundamental pillar in our legal system and our constitution. Those charged with offences are presumed innocent and it’s for the state to prove them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a trial setting.
Father MacDonald sought a stay. That was his doing. He averted the possibility of a “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt” – or the contrary “not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.” Father Charles MacDonald really should have been a man – not to mention a priest – and seen his sexual abuse trial through.
As for presumption of innocence, well, he is an alleged paedophile. Perry Dunlop is a rogue cop, a liar, a villain and the devil incarnate. There’s no presumption of innocence for Perry.
And what of Charlie’s “alleged” victims? There’s no presumption of innocence for them.
Strange isn’t it? Charlie’s “alleged” has the connotation of innocence. The “alleged” which attaches to his alleged victims has the connotation of guilty, i.e, they lie.
(11) This Inquiry is not a trial. It does not have the same procedures and safeguards of a trial, nor does it give an opportunity for those accused to defend themselves.
Father Charles MacDonald is free to take the stand.
(12) The events leading to this Inquiry stem to a large part from criminal allegations and criminal investigations and proceedings. The proceedings have ended and the charges were stayed by the Superior Court. The Supreme Court of Canada has repeated time and again that a judicial stay is tantamount to an acquittal.
“Tantamount to” are the operative words here. Yes, we are reminded constantly that Father MacDonald’s stay is “tantamount to” an acquittal. It is not, however, an acquittal.
All I can say in closing is that if Father MacDonald wanted an acquittal he could and should have earned it. If he is as innocent as he professes to be he should have had no fear of letting his “alleged” victims take the stand so that the evidence and the facts surrounding the allegations against him could be heard and tested in a court of law. Father MacDonald chose instead to malign Perry Dunlop and wrap himself in the Charter.
I will blog some more details from the Brisson evidence today or tomorrow.
And that’s enough for now,