What would he ‘blab’ about?

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Something has been playing on my mind.

The following is a quote from the Standard Freeholder regarding Albert Roy’s testimony at Steve Parisien’s obstruction of justice trial. This is reference Albert’s explanation of why he decided to tell commission counsel Pierre Dumais about the phone call:

“While he [Albert Roy] never wanted action to be taken against Parisien, Roy said he felt it was necessary to tell Dumais in case the phone call would be used later to discredit either his testimony or that of another witness.

“I don’t want to be impolite, but I was worried Mr. Parisien would be outside the courtroom, blabbing . . . and then all of the sudden it would be in my face,” said Roy

(“Didn’t tell witness to lie,” Trevor Pritchard, Cornwall Standard Freeholder, 05 September 2007)

The question is, what did Albert think Steve was going to ‘blab’ about? And what would be in Albert’s face?

And how did Albert think Steve or anyone could or would use the phone call to discredit him? If he didn’t talk about his testimony, what was his concern?

What oh what had Albert so worried about that phone-call? If it was all, as Vicki and Albert imply, Steve telling Albert what to do and plead the fifth and have memory lapses and talk about the inquiry being nothing but a witch-hunt for Perry Dunlop, – and if that was all irrelevant to Albert and he wanted nothing done about it, why report it?

I don’t know about you, but I find that rather puzzling. If, as his wife Vicki claims, the conversation was all one-sided and Steve did all the talking, then surely there was no cause for concern? What would Steve have to ‘blab’ about? If indeed Steve called to tell Albert to lie under oath and Albert had nothing to say, why in the name of goodness would Albert think that would “be in my face”?

That particular quote, along with what transpired at Steve’s obstruction of justice “trial,” got me going through inquiry transcripts. I decided it was necessary to try to help me factor in the bits and pieces of information I gleaned from Steve’s obstruction of justice trial.

I have broken this down into two segments: (1) a brief synopsis of events at the Weave Shed which eventually promoted Justice Glaude to turn Steve over to “the proper authorities,” and (2) the telephone call according to testimony at Steve’s obstruct justice “trial.”

I’m not sure yet how this all ties in together, and there was certainly no effort to sort it out at the trial, but I believe there is something here which bears scrutiny and may eventually yield clues as to why Steve was lynched in the Weave Shed.

I don’t have a transcript from the trial and I missed portions of testimony so feel a little hamstrung. I will therefore limit myself to what I know for fact or have in my notes. If and when I can get the transcripts from the trial I will re-visit this.

At the Weave Shed
First I must say that I have always been mystified as to why the Cornwall Public Inquiry suddenly shifted gears in the midst of Albert Roy’s testimony to put his wife Vicki on the stand. From that moment on the public focus on Albert’s testimony shifted. What began as an inquiry into the institutional response to Albert’s allegations against Ken Seguin and Nelson Barque had already devolved on 09 November 2006 into packing Albert off to find a “damn good” lawyer, this after he said he didn’t want to answer questions regarding (1) confidential conversations he had had in the late 90s with fellow victims and (2) details about a meeting of a group of victims with lawyer John Morris.

The shift was obvious to the public, first on 17 November when John Morris, the “damn good” lawyer retained by Albert, advised the commission what questions Albert was prepared to answer. At that time, strangely enough, and seemingly out of the blue, Morris said that Albert was prepared to answer questions about what Vicki had told Albert Carson Chisholm had said to Vicki! To my recollection this was the first hint that Albert Roy was about to put Carson Chisholm on a hot plate.

And note that Morris said Albert was prepared to testify about what Vicki told Albert Carson had said to her!. Given that Vicki was then scheduled to take the stand after Albert it seems a little strange such an agreement had been reached. Why not wait for Vicki to take the stand to hear from Vicki first-hand what Caron said? Strange.

No matter. Things changed significantly on 11 December 2006. Vicki Roy was called to testify – before Albert finished his testimony.

Vicki testified about Carson Chisholm. As I blogged at the time, her disdain toward Carson was palpable. (There was no mention from Vicki that Carson was once her landlord, and of how that landlord/tenant relationship came to end. If and when Carson takes the stand we should hear something of that.)

Then, from denigrating and casting aspersions on Carson things rapidly moved into Vicki’s account of Steve Parisien’s 04 December 2006 late night phone to Albert.

Just to help keep track on what was happening and where that phone call fits here’s the schedule of who was testifying and was happening at the Weave Shed during the time frame:

07 November 2006 (Tuesday): Albert Roy

08 November 2006 (Wednesday): Albert Roy

09 November 2006
(Thursday): Albert Roy – testifying voluntarily and without a lawyer – doesn’t want to answer certain questions. An understandably upset Albert is promptly dispatched to find a “damn good” lawyer. He is told the inquiry will pick up the tab.

17 November 2006 (Friday): Albert Roy is back to continue his cross-examination. There is also other inquiry business. There is a brief appearance by John Morris, a Toronto lawyer whom Albert has retained. At this time Morris tells commission that Albert is prepared to answer questions about what Vicki told Albert Carson Chisholm said to her.

18 to 26 November 2006: No hearings.

27 November 2006: Inquiry business and testimony of sex abuse victim Claude Marleau for remainder of the week. (Note that the original schedule going into the week was Albert and Vicki Roy – in that order – scheduled 30 November 2006)

11 December 2007 (2 pm): A decision was apparently made to put Vicki on the stand to testify before Albert completes his testimony.

Vicki Roy takes the stand to commence testimony. Testifies about what Carson Chisholm allegedly said to her on different occasions.

And, testifies that Steve Parisien called to speak to Albert late at night 04 December 2006 and that Albert said Steve told him he could have “memory loss”

12 December 2006: Vikki Roy completes her testimony. Albert Roy takes the stand to resume and complete his cross-examination and testimony. The Steve Parisien phone call is raised immediately by Pierre Dumais. Examination ensues. Steve is tossed over to the “proper authorities.”

The story conveyed from there of course is that Steve Parisien called Albert Roy to tell him to lie under oath. But Albert never used the word “lie.” He had difficulty recalling what exactly was said, but did say Steve had told him he could just say he didn’t remember or didn’t recall, …and that he could plead the fifth. The conversation lasted 15 – 20 minutes. (I believe the first time Albert specifically said Steve told him to lie was during Steve’s obstruction of justice trial. At the inquiry he testified he told Vicki after the call “I don’t like the idea of him calling here and trying to influence how I am going to testify, to imply I should lie on the stand or have memory lapses.”)

Albert testified that he told Steve during the call that something happened at the inquiry which he wasn’t too happy about, but denied that he told Steve what the incident was “because I’m still under cross-examination.” According to Albert, Pierre Dumais knew what the incident was.

At the “trial”

I put “trial” in quotes because I am still hard pressed to refer to what happened in courtroom #6 as a trial. It was the most bizarre proceeding I have ever had the misfortune to witness. Bizarre. I can think of no other word. It all seemed half-hearted. Get them in. Get them out. Get it over with. Get on with more important matters.

And, a man’s reputation and freedom are at stake.

Anyway, a few points from the trial. Read with the starting quote in mind. What was Albert worried Steve might ‘blab’ about?

(1) Vicki testified that the call from Steve was one-sided. According to her, Steve must have been doing all the talking because Albert was “pretty quiet.” Vicki was pressed by no one to say what she did hear from Albert when he was not quiet.

(2) Albert testified he told Steve that he, Albert, was upset. He said he told Steve the people at the inquiry wanted him, Albert, to testify about what other victims had said to him and he didn’t think it was his place to do that. He said Steve told him he could have memory lapses when they do that, and he told him he could plead the fifth (amendment). Albert said he didn’t know what it meant to plead the fifth.

Albert said Steve told him to lie and no one would ever know. He said Steve used the word “lie” once.

Albert said he wanted to make it clear that Steve never threatened him and he didn’t influence his testimony in any way.

Albert testified that the following day (05 December 2006) he talked to commission counsel Pierre Dumais, his lawyer John Morris and a counselor about the call.

Albert testified he told Pierre Dumais he didn’t want anything more done about the phone call. However, according to Albert, Dumais ended up asking Vicki about the call when she was testifying. (note here the change in order of testimony. Vicki was originally and logically scheduled to testify after Albert completed his cross-examination. At some point Dumais decided to put Vicki on the stand first. Dumais asked Vicki about the phone call and the door was then open to raise the topic with Albert)

Albert acknowledged that inquiry lawyers wanted him to testify about things that happened during meetings with his lawyer and with victims. He said he didn’t feel comfortable with that and in the end it all got very complicated “with the lawyers going back and forth.” He denied he was told to get a “damn good” lawyer. (it’s in the transcript)

Justice Fontana asked if Albert was ever asked the questions which had caused concerns. Albert said “No.”

(3) Steve testified that in November 2006 he was involved with court cases against his two perpetrators. One case was finished around 17 November 2006. The other is still ongoing.

Steve testified that when he made the phone call he thought Albert was finished testifying. He had heard that Albert was upset and called to find out if he was alright. He was told during the conversation that Albert would be returning to complete his testimony on Monday. (that would have been Monday 11 December 2007. And that would apparently have been before a decision was made to put Vicki on the stand before Albert)

Steve testified that Albert said there were things the lawyers at the inquiry wanted him to talk about that he, Albert, considered personal and private and that he didn’t want to answer questions about those things. Steve said he told Albert he didn’t have to answer those kind of questions if they had nothing to do with the inquiry. He told Albert he could plead the fifth. Steve acknowledged his knowledge of pleading the fifth came from watching American TV shows (pleading the fifth is not applicable in Canada)

According to Steve Albert was upset. Albert allegedly said he was told to get a damn good lawyer, and he got John Morris. Steve told Albert that’s great. Albert said no it’s not. According to Steve, Albert said Morris took things out of “confidentiality” and “now they’re using it.”

Steve said he told Albert he should go and tell Pierre Dumais, John Morris and his counsellor everything he was telling Steve. According to Steve, when he mentioned John Morris Albert said there was no was no way. He didn’t want to go near him (or something to that effect).

Steve testified that while he was talking to Albert he heard Vicki in the background saying: “Albert, you’re under oath” and Albert kept talking. Steve repeated this testimony at least twice.

My Questions:

A repeat of those with which I began:

(1) What did Albert think Steve was going to ‘blab’ about?

(2) What did Albert think would be “in my face”?

(3) How and why did Albert think he could be discredited because of the phone call?

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Note that Justice Fontana has asked for the inquiry terms of reference. He apparently wants to see if the inquiry has been de-railed.

Fontana certainly heard ample testimony of problems at the Weave Shed. Let’s hope and pray therefore that this a judge who is not part of the “old boy’s club” – let’s hope he’s a judge who is both fearless and genuinely concerned about what’s happening over at the Weave Shed, and let’s pray that he is genuinely puzzled and disturbed as to how a victim who happens to be a victims advocate who fought tirelessly to get an inquiry wound up being charged with obstruction of justice.

I won’t hold my breath, but, it could happen, couldn’t it?
Note too that Peter Engelmann believes Fontana has no authority over the inquiry process. Perhaps not, but surely he is free to speak his mind if he sees problems? particularly as they relate to the unenviable and surreal postion Steve finds himself in.

****

Finally, note that amidst this squalor Gail Kaneb and her Advisory Panel are out talking healing and reconciliation! It doesn’t get much more ridiculous than this.

An inquiry victim is in court fighting to have his reputation restored and struggling to retain his freedom and dignity and they’re still talking healing and reconciliation!

And then there’s chief Parkinson’s comments:

“People need to be given all the tools necessary for proper development in order to be able to protect themselves from becoming a victim of crime, starting in infancy and going through childhood and adolescence and into adulthood,” Parkinson said. “We must also consider our environment and reduce the opportunities for crime to occur. If you have an offender who is likely to abuse a child, that person should never be left alone with young people.”

Can you believe it? And offender who is likely to abuse a child should never be left alone with young people?!!!

A twenty-four-hour-a-day, seven-days-a-week watch?

Impossible.

If he’s likely to abuse a child he should be in jail. That and that alone ensures that no child will have his/her innocence destroyed by this predator. And that most certainly  reduce the opportunity for crimes to occur.

If that’s impossible because the judiciary is soft on paedophilia, then the next best thing is continuous well-publicized community awareness campaigns identifying paedophles by name, picture and address.

****

One final wee note 🙂
I noticed a pamphlet rack in the Cornwall courthouse. Lots of fliers on women being being abused, and lots of fliers on domestic violence, – and nothing, not one single flier offering direction for male victims of same-sex sexual abuse. After all these years. In Cornwall. With the multitude of male victims.  Nothing!

What does that say?  And what can I say?

Enough for now,

Sylvia
(cornwall@theinquiry.ca)

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