Quick notes

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A few quick notes 

They tell us this isn’t a trial?  You could fool me on that. 

Jeannette Antoine, whose entire childhood and upbringing was relegated to the Children’s Aid Society, is finished at the Weave Shed.   Her interrogation at the hands of CAS lawyer Peter Chisholm is finally over. And it was indeed an interrogation –  rapid fire.

Once again Chisholm rose to the occasion to defend his client at all costs – this after the host of apologies he spouted to Jeannette when he commenced his cross-exam. Why the apologies I have no idea. 

I cringed to watch.  Jeannette took the stand and was at the mercy of the legal throng – without a lawyer.  True, sometimes that makes little difference, but I do believe no one but no one should walk into the Weave Shed and take the stand without legal representation, – someone to walk them the process, encourage them to refresh their memory before hand by reading through the available evidence, and give them an idea of the legal ploys used by defence to try to entrap and confuse witnesses to make them look liars, familiar enough with documents and transcripts to clarify testimony, put things into context or set the record straight when things have been accidentally, carelessly or deliberately misrepresented or spun.

Yet again quotes were extrapolated from here and there and thrown at the witness out of context.  That’s the way cross-examination works.  It’s all legal.  My question again is is it ethical?

Jeannette held her own.  However it seems she was confused about which home she was at when a farm hand abused her sister.  The farmhand was unfortunately never identified.  I say unfortunately only because had she recalled his name it would truly make no difference.  But, Chisholm scored his brownie points there.  Jeannette isn’t sue if the farmhand who molested her and her sister Lorraine was at one home or the other.

That aside Chisholm chiselled away at whether Brian Keough had put her in the trunk of the car on the way to her sister’s wedding at St. Andrew’s, on the way to the Group home at M or both.  And he hammered on about her recollection of events when she and four other wards ran from the Second Street Group home after Bryan Keough, Michael Keough, Derry Tenger and Heather Tenger took over at the home.  And he made a to-do because Jeannette failed to mention a broken arm when she listed off the bones she had had broken over the years.  The broken arm, it turns out, was allegedly incurred when her case worker, Bryan Keough, beat her after she ran away.  She was taken to hospital for that, and it would seem, Chisholm has a record of that at his disposal.

At the end of the day the precise sequence of certain events was perhaps uncertain.  At times Jeannette was confused about what happened when and where which, I’d say, is simply a tribute to the CAS and her years in foster care.  This lady spent her formative first seventeen years with a host of foster parents and case workers and in three separate group homes.  In many of the homes she was physically and/or sexually abused. 

I was intrigued to hear that a Sister Theresa (Kennel?) was involved with the CAS at the time of the runaway. She was obviously aware of some if not all of the problems at the group home.  Did she report the problems to the diocese?  Did she intervene or try to intervene on behalf of the Roman Catholic children placed with CAS?  Did she know the girls had been put on “the pill.”  I trust we will hear more on the Catholic oversight of and presence in the CAS is during the institutional response.

There was tension and silence when Chisholm read a note which might imply Keough’s paternity of a baby, not Jeannette’s.  I will leave it that.  Jeannette felt it was not her place  to respond to the question.

I have heard nothing to indicate that charges were laid or pursued against Jeannette’s former foster father Bill Reynen.  Did I miss something?

Anyway, Jeannette is on her way home to Edmonton.  Well done Jeannette.  Many hearts ache for the pain you and your sister endured

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A victim going by the monker C-11 is now testifying.  C-11 was molested by Richard Hickerson, a Canada Manpower employee and former Roman Catholic priest. More on that to come…

Enough for now,

Sylvia
(cornwall@theinquiry.ca)

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