I washed windows yesterday! Belated Spring cleaning . I absolutely had to get them done. Windows of course lead to washing curtains, and washing curtains lead to scrubbing Venetian blinds. Venetian blinds are on for today. And, yes, for those who wonder, lots of help from my dear husband so the new valve is obviously doing it’s job.
Several things I want to touch on: (1) next week’s schedule; (2) a recap of the Wednesday 15 August 2007 ballyhoo surrounding the mysterious and top secret Nadler letters which are integrally linked to the motion to have Ron excused from further cross-examination for health reasons.
Next week’s schedule
The schedule for next week as posted on the Cornwall Public Inquiry website:
Monday and Tuesday (20 & 21 August 2007): Keith Ouellette
Tuesday and Wednesday (22 & 23 August 2007): Witness C-8
Thursday (23 August 2007) Decision – Motion to Excuse Ron Leroux
Hearings resume at 14:00 hours (2 pm) Monday. Justice Glaude’s decision on the motion to excuse Ron Leroux is scheduled for 10:00 (10 am) Thursday, 23 August 2007. If the motion is denied Ron is to be prepared to resume cross-examination (which had scarcely begun). If the motion is granted then presumably C-8’s testimony will continue. I think however that it is highly possible that no matter the decision there will be further discussion and possibly motions.
Whatever happens I would guess that C-8’s testimony will not be completed on Thursday. In fact I would be very surprised to see him on and off the stand in two days or less. (You may recall that C-8 lived with Ron Leroux and in those years was also a neighbour of Ken Seguin. C-8 has seen the comings and goings of various prominent men. More when the time comes. Meanwhile I will be posting his affidavit so keep an eye on New to the Site on the Home page )
Over the past months a series of letters, one apparently in email format, were dispatched by Dr. Wayne Nadler (Ron’s psychologist) to the commission. To date the content of the letters is top secret. According to Engelmann they deal with Ron’s medical condition and “ongoing ability to testify.”
As mentioned in a previous blog, the following six letters were sent to the commission:
(1) 19 April 2007 Nadler letter to Peter Engelmann
This was before Ron took the stand.
(2) 27 June 2007 Nadler letter to Peter Engelmann
Ron took the stand 26 June 2007. The 27th was his second day on the stand. This was the day he was given the afternoon off because he wasn’t feeling well and would like to rest, and because, as he personally explained the following morning: “I had taken too much medication; I figured if I doubled it up, it would keep me together. That was a big mistake.”
(3) 30 July 2007 Nadler letter to Peter Engelmann
This letter is dated a bit over a month into the summer recess which commenced 29 June 2007. (28 June 2007 saw the completion of Ron’s examination in chief by Peter Engelmann. Ron’s cross-examination by Citizens for Community Renewal’s Allan Manson had just commenced and was in its infancy when a decision was made that, although there are transcripts available, it would helpful to view a series of Ron’s videotaped interviews from 1996 and 1997 and to listen to one taped telephone conversation from the same time frame between Ron and Perry Dunlop.
On 29 June 2007 the first of the tapes was played in camera. The gathered throng watched a one hour 01 December 1996 video of Ron giving a statement to Perry Dunlop. The hearings then recessed for summer.)
(4) 11 August 2007 Nadler letter to Justice Normand Glaude
This was dated the Saturday before resumption of hearings (2 pm 13 August 2007)
(5) 12 August 2007 Nadler letter to Justice Normand Glaude
This was dated on Sunday – the day before hearings resumed (2 pm 13 August 2007)
(6) 15 August 2007 Nadler letter to ? (I think Justice Glaude)
This letter was dispatched three days after hearings had resumed. There was no cross-examination conducted on those days. The time was dedicated to viewing and listening to the tapes. With the exception of the audio tape – a 30 May 1997 taped telephone conversation between Ron and Perry Dunlop – all sessions were conducted in camera. The telephone call tape was played and transmitted live via webcam.
The letters to Justice Glaude had been reviewed by Engelmann but had presumably not been passed on to him. This we are told is the way all correspondence to the commissioner is handled.
A Change of Heart
It seems that after receiving the 30 July 2007 letter Peter Engelmann felt he had a duty to disclose all the letters to date to all parties. At some time he spoke with Dave Williams from Ron’s London-Ontario-based law firm Harrison Pensa. Williams allegedly agreed.
Williams was told to have someone from the firm at the Weave Shed the morning of 15 August 2007. (A reminder here that although Ron is presumably represented by the firm Harrison Pensa there was no lawyer in the Weave Shed to represent Ron’s best interests for the duration of his 26 June to 29 June testimony.)
On 15 August 2007, a Pradeep Chand from the Ottawa-based law firm Lang Michener was at the Weave Shed to represent Ron. Pradeep was apparently there as an “agent” for Harrison Pensa.
As mentioned, in earlier discussion with Engelmann a lawyer with Harrison Pensa had apparently agreed to disclose the Nadler letters. By 15 August there had been, for whatever reason, a change. Chand was there to (1) argue against disclosure of the letters, and (2) file a motion that Ron Leroux should be excused.
Lack of consent
In arguing against disclosure Chand implied that Dr. Nadler had disclosed information without Ron’s consent. According to Chand “there are serious issues with respect to Mr. Leroux’s consent or implied consent to the release of that information.” Chand argued that Ron “considered his discussions with Dr. Nadler to be in the context of a private therapeutic relationship” and did not believe those discussions would be disclosed “let alone broadly disclosed at the inquiry.” Disclosure of the information, according to Chand, could therefore violate Section 18 of the Personal Health and Information Act:
Section 18: “If this Act or any other Act requires the consent of an individual for the collection, use or disclosure of personal health information by a health information custodian the consent:
(a) must be consent of the individual,
(b) must be knowledgeable,
(c) must relate to the information and must not be obtained through deception or coercion.”.
Chand apparently tendered no evidence to substantiate such an inference.
What’s in those six letters?
After some discussion the letters were disclosed first to all parties, then, after some further discussion, to Justice Glaude. Barring that, they are being held under lock and key, presumably because they contain personal information about Ron’s health.
According to Glaude, “some” letters discuss Ron’s “failing health and possible serious adverse effects if he continued to be cross-examined.”
It is known, and in fact Ron testified that he was diagnosed with and suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.
One might assume that the letters deal solely with Ron’s state of health. However, from various comments made and from Glaude’s use of the word “some” it seems Dr. Nadler discussed much more in the letters than Ron’s health.
What? We have no idea. It’s a secret. However, we do know that after having read the letters several lawyers returned on camera looking, I would say, positively shell-shocked. The letters’ contents were described as “explosive,” and, according to John Callaghan (Cornwall Police Service) deal in part with the “conduct” of the inquiry:
MR. CALLAGHAN: You should understand that these letters do not just talk about medical opinions. There is some explosive, frankly, stuff about the conduct of the Inquiry…. I don’t know what is going to be made of these.
….There is a lot of allegations in here that have nothing to do with his medical state
Claude Rouleau (Ontario Ministry of Community and Correctional Services and
Adult Community Corrections) was sufficiently concerned about the content that he feared it might exert undue influence Justice Glaude. Rouleau had therefore argued against immediate disclosure of the letters to the commissioner. In so arguing Rouleau seemed to indicate the letters contain information related to Ron’s testimony to date, and furthermore that that information may at times be at odds with Ron’s testimony to date:
MR. ROULEAU: I am a bit worried about the contents of the documents being seen by you because it relates to a lot of the evidence that was heard, and I will let my other friends address the situation, but that is something that is worried — I believe you will have to keep in mind the evidence that was heard here.
THE COMMISSIONER: Yes.
MR. ROULEAU: And what is related in the letters in terms of the same evidence.
THE COMMISSIONER: Right.
MR. ROULEAU: It may not always be the same or may not…
Shortly thereafter Rouleau argued that Glaude should not see the letters until he, Glaude, had sought a second opinion on Ron’s state of health. And, witness the following, Rouleau seemed to believe such an approach would somehow alleviate concerns at the Weave Shed regarding certain facts or allegations in the letters:
MR. ROULEAU:That would alleviate the concerns some parties have that allegations in the documents or factual stuff in the documents would come into play somehow.
Diane Lahaie (Ontario Provincial Police)was also concerned about the letters’ contents being shown to Glaude. She suggested if Glaude were to read them then Dr. Nadler should be called to testify and all parties should have an opportunity to cross-examine him.
Lahaie also advocated a second opinion on Ron’s ability to continue cross-examination. And, witness the following, she expressed deep concerns about the “explosive” nature of the letters’ contents and made mention of “very dangerous” allegations and the need of parties to “challenge” the same:
MS. LAHAIE: … I have complete faith, Mr. Commissioner, that … you would not treat the content of the letter for the truth of their content, but there are some assertions that are made in that letter which are explosive on a number of different fronts, a number of issues that are raised and that should be — that the parties should be given an opportunity to challenge …. very dangerous allegations that are made within those letters that should be — that the parties should be given an opportunity to challenge.
According to David Sheriff-Scott (the diocese and Bishop Eugene Larocque), only the last two letters are germane to the issue of whether or not Ron should be excused. He, it seems, is anxious to exclude the content of the other letters:
SHERIFF-SCOTT: My provisional view is that the first letters with the exception of the last two should not be seen because only the last two offer the opinion which is germane to today’s date….. If you do take cognizance of them then I wish to be able to argue that they are not relevant to the motion should you decide to view them.
Because of the delayed disclosure of the 15 August 2007 Nadler letter it is difficult to ascertain if the last two letters Sheriff-Scott is referencing are those of 15 and 12 August 2007, or those of 11 and 12 August 2007. I believe the latter. Regardless, I got the impression that Sheriff-Scott does not want the letters of April, June and July to come into play.
Glaude’s response to the letter
Justice Glaude decided he would read the letters. He explained that judges “in the middle of any kind of proceedings are asked to look at material to decide an ancillary point which may not be relevant to the main issue at hand” and that they are trained and understand the need to “disabuse” themselves. He said he had no problem reading the letters:
THE COMMISSIONER: I see really no problems in reading this material. It will be compartmentalized so that it deals strictly with the issue of whether or not the gentleman should be cross examined.
After a half hour recess and, having read the letters, Glaude returned. His first order of business was to minimize the “explosive” content of the letters and gently admonish those who “unfairly” tantalized the public:
THE COMMISSIONER: …I can tell you that I have read the documents in question. The only comment I have before we resume is that I would like to urge some caution upon those who are appearing before me here on the use of language and rhetoric. It may well make good headline news, but words, especially with documents that are marked as confidential, I would hope that we would err on the side of caution rather than tantalize unfairly the public with documents that have certain things in there obviously that should be kept confidential, but it certainly doesn’t help the Inquiry to inflame matters in any way.
If the letters are no big deal, why did the gathered throng look shell shocked? There was no doubt the letters had a profound impact on those who read them.
But, visuals aside, was Justice Glaude conveying the message to all that Messrs. Callagahn and Rouleau and others were simply grandstanding and tantalizing us “unfairly”? Are there, as Ms. Lahaie said, “very dangerous allegations” in the letters or are there not? If yes, who is being protected and why?
Note too that Glaude said “certain things,” should “obviously” be kept confidential. What things? What things in those letters should be kept confidential? It can’t be solely health related issues. According to various lawyers Dr. Nadler goes well beyond discussing Ron’s health. If indeed there is much that is not health related why should it be confidential?
For example, does the paying public at this “public” inquiry have a right to know if the letters contain information regarding (1) what’s going on behind closed doors at the inquiry? and/or (2)the treatment of victims? Should that be kept confidential?
Or, to take another example, does the paying public at this “public” inquiry have a right to know if the Nadler letters contain information which contradicts or affirms Ron’s contradictory testimony, and/or contradicts or affirms his prior statements and affidavits? Should that be kept confidential?
Another thought: Is there any mention in the letters that Ron has been threatened by anyone with bodily harm if he gives certain testimony? If yes, does the paying public at this “public” inquiry have a right to know?
Yes. We have been tantalized. Well and truly tantalized.
What is in those Nadler letters? This, after all, is Cornwall. The public has not only a right but a need to know.
Perhaps when Glaude renders his decision 23 August 2007 on whether or not Ron is deemed fit to resume cross-examination we will learn more, and, perhaps, just perhaps, a decision will be made that the oft excluded public can stop second guessing because it does indeed have a right to know what the heck is going on now.
Until then, Glaude has indicated he would like a second opinion from a psychiatrist to clarify matters regarding Ron’s condition, but feels he doesn’t have the authority to so order:
COMMISSIONER…Several counsels say that I needed further medical information before we could continue and for me to decide this issue. I can tell you that I am of the view that such a further assessment would greatly assist me in determining this issue. …. we do not have, I think, a clear view at this point in time and so it would assist me in determining this issue.
It is clear that I do not believe that I have the authority to order that type of a report.
In the event that a suggestion is suffice commission counsel set up an appointment for Ron with a psychiatrist, a Dr. Dimock, the following day. If Ron sees the psychiatrist Glaude would like to receive a report which answers these questions:
1) Is Mr. Leroux fit to continue in his cross-examination?
2) What harm, if any, would he sustain should he be cross-examined?
3) What, if any, accommodation can we make for Mr. Leroux to ensure that he can complete his testimony without suffering serious and long-term consequences?
With that Glaude adjourned to the matter to 10:00 hours (10 am) Thursday 23 August 2007. He has indicated he will definitely issue his ruling on that date based on the information he has on hand. It seems that at time he may be prepared to hear further arguments.
And, should Ron continue to see Dr. Nadler, a final order:
THE COMMISSIONER: In the meantime, should [Mr.Leroux] continue to see Dr. Nadler, I believe there has been — Commission counsel will be communicating with Dr. Nadler directly to reinforce the fact that he should not be speaking with this witness on matters that are related to the cross-examination into his evidence that he is giving today.
I swear the Weave Shed is looking and sounding less and less like a public inquiry and more and more like the venue for Mother Russia’s criminal trial of the century…
I still have observations to make on all of this but wanted to get these bits and pieces out first. Am also wrapping up Ron’s testimony regarding “sexual improprieties.” Lots on my “to do” list – and venetian blinds waiting …
Enough for now,