A thief doesn’t hit every house in the block

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Hearings resume at 0930 hours (9:30 am) this morning, Friday 08 February 2008. Emile Robert will return to continue his examination in chief.

It’s Friday. That means that excepting a few short breaks hearings will run straight through until 1:30 pm when things recess for the weekend. No lunch break.

I must admit I was surprised to actually see Emile Robert. He looks younger than I had imagined in my mind’s eye. Interesting how the mind subconsciously paints a picture which is often at extreme variance to reality.

Anyway,I will wait to see what happens during the remainder of Robert’s examination-in-chief and under cross-examination. Things just don’t add up, but there has been discussion yet of Roberts knowledge and handling of the incidents related to Gerry Renshaw renting a room at Seguin’s, or Seguin providing alcohol to probationers, or Seguin fraternizing with probationers.

For now I’d say there is no doubt that at the very least the environment in that Cornwall probation office was fraught with trouble arising from personality conflicts.

How that does or does not fit in to institutional response and who knew or suspected what probation officers Nelson Barque and Ken Seguin were or were not doing remains to be seen.

Some quick points:

(1) Roberts seems to have been aware from the mid 80s that there was an allegation of inappropriate conduct related to Ken Seguin. Because nothing ever came of it Roberts dismissed it

(2) Ken Seguin trained volunteers to work in the office assisting probation officers. According to Roberts a number of lawyers were trained by Seguin. According to Roberts, some of those lawyers were sitting in the Weave Shed yesterday.

(3) Ken Seguin received a letter of commendation from the Chief of police. This was in relation to a hostage taking incident. Robert does not recall who the Chief was at the time.

(4) During case audits Robert discovered that Seguin was not meeting the terms of probation for some of his probationers. This seemed to entail such things as parental notification and attaining counselling services for clients.

Roberts testified he discussed this with Seguin to give him opportunity to correct the situation.

Seguin always received glowing personal evaluation reports. There was never mention made of the problems referenced in the case audits.

(5) Seguin asked and received permission from Roberts to do more after hours or evening work with probationers.

(6) The Robert-Jos van Diepen relationship was extremely strained.

(7) There seem to have been incidents in which Ken Seguin and van Diepen together were scheduled to be a the courthouse in Morrisburg and failed to show.

(8) There seem to have been incidents in which, according to Roberts, van Diepen claimed to have been in Morrisburg and Roberts discovered after the fact that there was no client in Morrisburg at the time.

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Yesterday I posted a 1996 Letter to the Editor from John Maloney. I happened upon it and it brought back memories.

In 1997 John Maloney travelled faithfully from Cornwall to Ottawa to sit in on Father Charles MacDonald’s preliminary hearings.

I met John then. I can’t say I ever got to know him well, but we reach a point of mutual trust and we did talk.

I didn’t know a soul from Cornwall at the time. I think ended up sitting next to John in the courtroom. As I was trying to get an idea what this Cornwall thing was all about he and other Cornwallites were trying to sort out who I was and what my interest in the preliminaries was. We were sort of sniffing each other out 🙂 I now realize that’s routine in courtrooms: each observer is trying to sort out the allegiances and sympathies of the other. Interesting courtroom dynamics.

John directed me to a book which became invaluable to me over the next man years. In fact, he offered to pick up a copy for me – I gave him the money and he did just that.

I say all of this because John is now dead. So is his wife. Both young. Both from natural causes. When I happened on the letter I thought of the quiet and reserved man who shared a seat with me in an Ottawa courtroom – there to quietly support the “alleged” victims.

I always had a sense that John knew something and was about to tell me something of significance. That never happened.

But, here’s my real point. Note John’s upset with the group of young men who were then publicly supporting and defending Father Charles MacDonald.

And note his reference to the thief.

n excellent analogy.

One of the things which has become common parlance within Cornwall circles is “a thief doesn’t hit every house on the block.”

I think perhaps that came from John. I didn’t know that. But I read this and that was my instant thought. A wonderful and very simplistic analogy.

So, I’m thinking of John. I wonder what he would think of the goings on now. I wonder had he lived what he might have contributed to the search for truth. I wonder what he knew that he took with him to the grave.

May he rest in peace.

Enough for now

Sylvia

(cornwall@theinquiry.ca)

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