Steve Parisien was back in court today (Tuesday 30 January 2008) with the sex abuse trial of one of his “alleged” abusers. Keep him in your prayers. He is having a rough time. His trial has been spread out over a few months – a few days here, another few days there. The trial is bad enough never mind stretching it out forever. That becomes akin to cruel and unusual punishment.
A few more comments about yesterday’s proceedings at Ontario Divisional Court and the warrant for Perry’s arrest at some future date.
(1) There is a significant media coverage on the warrant from coast to coast. That’s good news, but, the problem is that there was not one single journalist or reporter in courtroom 8 at divisional court.
No one was there to witness the going on first-hand.
Toronto is not Cornwall. All mainstream media have offices in Toronto.
But, not one media outlet covered the hearing!!!!
Believe me there’s a great thesis in the waiting for someone ready to delve into the ups and downs and ins and outs of Cornwall and media coverage over the past fifteen years 🙂 I have had chance to observe more closely since I started theinquiry.ca. Fascinating indeed to see who covers what, when and how.
(2) The real story from divisional court hearing is not the “warrant.” The real drama is three fold.
Had mainstream media been there they would have picked it up. Here it is:
(i) Justice Normand Gaude quietly upped the ante on the second contempt charge from civil contempt to criminal contempt. Aside from receiving the Factum Perry was not notified that the stakes had been raised.
(ii) Brian Gover (Justice Glaude’s lawyer arguing for the charge) was ill-prepared. He had his knuckles rapped ….ever so gently. His arguments before the justices fell short of the mark. The judges were left confused and asking questions. The public was left confused and asking questions.
It was, as I so often say, a mess! A confusing mess.
(iii) The warrant.
After personally hearing the arguments yesterday followed by an interview with lead commission counsel Engelmann I am convinced there is something fishy going on with “the warrant.” My gut feel is that it lacks teeth. On paper it is a warrant. I think that’s the beginning and end of it.
I fear this opens doors for a replay of the scenario whereby the commission resorted to half-truths, deception and misrepresentations to secure an inter-provincial summons to ensure that Perry can be arrested and transported to Toronto in time for the next Divisional Court hearing.
Failing that, and if my instinct is right, come the hearing date we could have a replay of yesterday. No Perry.
Anyway, if indeed there are issues with the warrant, why have the media been led to believe that all is in order?
(2) Civil vs Criminal
Yesterday I mentioned the need to look a little deeper into the matter of civil vs criminal contempt. This morning I received an email from a woman who set out to do exactly that. Her first hit was from theinquiry.ca!!!
So there it is. Right in my own backyard! Contempt as referenced in the Public Inquiries Act, civil and criminal contempt as per Justice Dennis Cunningham at the contempt hearing of Dick Nadeau, and contempt, both civil and criminal, as elaborated on the website lawyers.com.
I decided to take another look about and came across an intriguing paper delivered by Madam Justice Shameem at the Attorney-General’s Conference, in Fiji, December 2004. I decided not to post this on the site but, since, as far as I can see, Fiji also uses the common law legal system, I will link you to it. Those with an interest in going deeper can do so.
Three comments in Justice Shameem’s paper caught my eye. I will quote and comment:
(1) “contempt proceedings, if not launched with wisdom, will not enhance the authority of the courts, but will instead erode it.”
Food for thought isn’t it? I am hard pressed to believe this whole ‘contempt’exercise with Perry is covering the courts in glory. To the contrary.
(2) Truth or fair comment is a defence to the charge of contempt and honest and forthright criticism of the court system is not contempt unless it falsely imputes improper motives on a judge’s conduct.
More food for thought.
(3) “Fair comment, based on truth, is not contempt.”
And, yes, I’d say that’s more food for thought.
Enough for now,