The deal

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Perry Dunlop is a political prisoner. He has spent 188 days in jail – for stepping up to the plate to protect children, and then daring to say he has lost faith in the justice system. He has served his six months and then some – he’s still in jail.  He’ll stay in jail until  03 September 2008 so “they”can throw him back in for another 15 months on a criminal contempt of court charge and conviction which morphed out of the civil contempt charge and conviction because he told the media the same thing he told the commission – he had lost faith in the justice system in Ontario.  

 This is the institutional response to allegations of childhood sexual abuse.

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No news on Perry’s whereabouts.  I will check.

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Roger was offered and accepted a deal – so he can carry on his Freedom RideHe entered a guilty plea and paid an $1,800 ‘fine.’  The alternate was months in jail pending a trial that he would probably have walked from hands down.  According to the Duty Counsel Paul Lemieux the chances of bail for Roger were slim because he is from Calgary. 

So, Roger is a free man, – with a conviction on record for a crime he insists he did not commit. 

The “facts” surrounding the charge are sparse and bizarre. 

The charge dates back several years when a woman by name of Tracey Jesso claimed she had been defrauded by Roger to the tune of $1,800.  The trouble with the whole scenario is that Roger insists he does not know and never knew a Tracey Jesso.  His family say they know no one by that name.  No one I spoke to in Cornwall knows who this woman is, and, for that matter, no one – police and lawyers included, know where she is now! 

Lemieux showed Roger a cheque.  Roger says and insists it is not his signature.  He apparently told Lemieux it is not his signature.  Roger told me he scribbles his signature with initial and surname – the name on the cheque is written out in full “Roger Robertson.”

According to officials the money transaction allegedly transpired when Roger was living with Jesso for a short period of time.  There was a cheque in the amount of $2,200 which Roger allegedly gave this lady.  It sounds as though she said Roger deposited the cheque in her account, withdrew a few hundred dollars for her, and then cleaned out the rest of the account and was gone.  She reported to Royal Bank and was reimbursed in full. 

A benevolent benefactor picked up Roger’s $1,800 ‘fine.’  The monies had to be paid to the court in cash. Cash.  Why cash I have no idea.  Will the monies go to the Royal Bank?  It sounds that way, but I have no idea. The monies sound like restitution.

So, there it is. 

I have a few tape clips which I will download and post.  Lemieux seemed certain that there would have been a Not Guilty had the case gone to trial.  Nevertheless, in short order the deal was struck which allowed Roger to clear the deck and continue the Freedom Ride. 

Roger was upset.  When he was released he was upset.  But, he admits he reluctantly agreed to the deal.  For one, he was concerned about Patti, and for another, he wants to get on with the Freedom Ride.

The burning question in all this is:  Why now?  If indeed there were outstanding charges and a warrant why was Roger not arrested on his previous visits to Cornwall?   He was stopped by Cornwall police several times.  Not a mention then of a four-year-old charge and certainly no arrest. But, as soon as Roger hit Cornwall on his Freedom Ride, well, there was an outstanding warrant for Roger’s arrest.

All passing strange I’d say. Passing strange.

On top of that, according to both Patti and Roger the warrant was not signed.

Anyway, the Crown and the Duty Counsel worked out a mutually agreeable deal.  A guilty plea and $1,800 fine and it all goes away.

I for one have trouble with these deals.  If the accused denies the charges and prospects are high that a conviction can not be attained why seduce with a deal to plead guilty and pay a whopper of a fine?

Guilty or innocent the reality is that Roger would have spent months in jail pending trial.  For the innocent with things to do such a deal is enticing.  But, is it justice?

Roger will say he was framed.  The courts will say he pled “guilty” and therefore guilty he is.

For me a day spent sitting in the Cornwall courthouse yesterday listening to bail hearings boiled down to another learning experience. 

Those who attended court to support Roger understood that he would be called for a bail hearing around 09:30 or 10 am.  The contingent of about 30 sat in the courtroom and waited, and waited and waited.  As we waited we watched the bail proceedings, most conducted via teleconferencing with the Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre.  

All I can say is that people are pumped through the courts like sausage meat.  One after the other: swish bang.  A face appears on screen – in some cases an 11th hour  few seconds off air telephone consult with their lawyer and back on air: “Remanded to…”  In others word that there has been no word from the lawyer and the lawyer has failed to appear on court dates.  Remand with instruction the lawyer is appear at the next date.

Remand. Remand. Remand.

Like sausages.

Another week of incarceration here.  Two weeks there.  On and on it went.

And there they wait in the OCDC. For a lawyer to do something.  For a court date. Waiting.

That’s what would have happened to Roger.  Lock up in OCDC and remand after remand.  Perhaps six months downstream he would have had his day in court?

“The system” is sorely broken.  It was a pathetic scenario.

Somewhere around noon we heard that Roger’s case was being transferred to the plea court in the afternoon.  We were told the plea court would be courtroom #2.

It must have been around 3 pm that we were told Roger was appearing right then in another courtroom.  By then many supporters had left, but there were still a goodly number – perhaps 20.

 Justice Renaud presided over the  plea court.

Proceedings had commenced when I arrived.  There was talk of Roger’s “extensive” record for fraud and property offenses.  There was talk that this Tracy Jesso may have received a windfall.  And there was mention of the fact that Roger was on a mission and may have turned a corner, and that he is a victim.

Roger entered his plea.  There would be no probation. If the $1,800 cash was received by the court by 4:45 pm Roger would be a free man.  If the monies were not received by 4:45 he would be detained another day.

The cash was deposited with the court with time to spare.

True enough, Roger is no angel.  He readily admits that he has been in and out of trouble with the law.  He has spent nearly half of his life in jail.   He is exceptionally candid about his crimes and his time behind bars.  He is candid about his years on drugs.  He says he doesn’t know this lady who allegedly laid the charge, and that that signature on the cheque is not his.

I don’t know the circumstances, but I am inclined to believe Roger.  I suppose it’s possible that something happened four years ago.  Perhaps he has forgotten?  I don’t know.  I am inclined to think however that if indeed Roger committed this “crime” he would have readily fessed up and taken the rap. 

In my short dealings with Roger I encountered a sex abuse victim who is upset beyond measure by the treatment afforded Perry Dunlop. 

I’ll be honest.  I like Roger.  Yes, he’s been in and out of trouble for a lifetime.  But he’s also a kind soul with a big heart.  Some would say he’s a little rough around the edges and his language is on the colourful side, but there’s also those soft sad eyes and a great big heart.

Is Roger angry?  Yes.  I believe with cause.  There is justifiable anger.  Roger’s anger is, I would say, justifiable.  When you eventually hear his story you’ll understand. 

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There is confusion over Perry’s relationship with Roger.  I briefly tried to sort it out but Roger and I ended up talking other issues.

My understanding of the facts there are that around 1992 Roger went to Children’s Aid to try to get his file.  He had been in foster care from the time he was a small child until he was old enough to leave.  When CAS produced a total of four pages with even the names of his foster parents redacted he was furious.  Those four pages with multiple redactions represented the sum total of his childhood! 

What happened I know not, only that CAS called police. Apparently six Cornwall police officers arrived.  Perry was one of six.

I don’t have the details of what happened and how Roger ended up talking to Perry straightened out.  He did apparently talk to Perry that day, as he did other officers. 

Roger said Perry treated him like a human being. 

He was arrested by Perry again at a later date.  At least once, possible twice.

When Roger talks of his friendship with Perry he is talking of his dealings with a police officer who treated him like a human being.  He thinks the world of Perry.

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I must get at media postings of yesterday and today.  I was gone early yesterday morning and home late in the evening – juts too tired when I got home to do anything.  Then this morning I was going to get things together early, but, my key board wasn’t working.  I hate to tell you how long it took me to figure out that the keyboard batteries were dead and needed replacing.  I’m not used to my cordless keyboard 🙂

Am back in business now and will get things up.  Once accomplished I will get the tape clips up.

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Rally at the Weave Shed

Date: 28 August 2008 (Thursday)

Time: 08:30 – 09:30 am

Place: The Weave Shed
709 Cotton Mill Street , Cornwall, Ontario

Bring your signs.  This is your chance to say what you want to say.

Roger will be there. So will Helen.

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03 September 2008: Osgoode Hall, Toronto.

Perry is scheduled to appear before Ontario Divisional Court judges for sentencing on his criminal contempt conviction. (He will have completed his first six month sentence for the civil contempt conviction – and then some. Justice Glaude and the office of the Ontario Attorney General want him sentenced to 15 months on the criminal contempt conviction.)

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Enough for now,

Sylvia

(cornwall@theinquiry.ca)

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1 Response to The deal

  1. Wysiwyg says:

    If Perry is going to jail for 15 more months, why isn’t Stan Lowe? Mr. Lowe was just quoted in the Vancouver Sun (Wrongful conviction triggers B.C. review, August 23, 2008) as saying, “A wrongful conviction is really a complete failure of the system.” We know there have been wrongful convictions so we know the system has failed. Isn’t Stan Lowe (Communications Counsel for the Criminal Justice Branch of B.C.) showing “contempt” for the justice system?

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