I spoke this morning with Barry McLaren, the chief Crown in Aqaluit, Nunavut. McLaren is the man who is handling the Eric Dejaeger file. The intent of my call was simply to get a feel for where things go from here. Here, in bullet format, is what I learned of Dejaeger’s return to Canada and what we might expect:
(1) Escorted to Canada by Belgian police. Upon arrival in Montreal, Quebec he was turned over to RCMP. He spent the night in Montreal
(2) Will fly into Iqaluit today
(3) He has never been formally charged on these sex abuse charges. He will appear in court this afternoon in Iqaluit to answer to the charges. He could walk in and plead guilty
(4) It is unknown if he has retained a lawyer. If he does not have a lawyer he can use the services of duty counsel.
(5) He is entitled to a bail hearing. It is unlikely bail will be addressed today, but, it could be. It is the prosecution’s responsibility to show why he shouldn’t be released
(6) If he asks for bail, various factors, such as the following are considered
– Does he have a history of failing to appear? (It seems there may be a question as to whether or not he actually failed to appear in 1995. That in turn seems to rest on whether or not he was actually issued with a summons to appear back in 1995. Regardless, if he did fail to appear in 1995, that would be the only failing to appear that he has – that would not constitute a history of failing to appear.)
– What is the gamble that he wouldn’t show?
– Does he have the finances to post bail?
– What is the likelihood he will re-offend?
– Is he likely to tamper with evidence or interfere with witnesses?
– Is he a threat to the public?
– Where would he stay? How would he get to court? Does he have friends in the area?
– Does he have connections in the community?
– Is the public so upset that they would say the system isn’t working?
(7) Sometimes even people charged with murder are released on bail
(8) If there is no request for bail and therefore no bail today, he will be sent to and detained at the Baffin Correctional Centre in Iqaluit.
(9) Trial could be held in either Igloolik or Iqaluit. Often trials are held in Iqaluik because of scarcity of accommodations in Igloolik. At this time however the greater possibility is that a trial would be held in Igloolik.
(10) There is a small hotel in Igloolik. The RCMP detachment in Igloolik has detention cells. Were trial to be held in Igloolik Dejaeger would be held in an RCMP detention cell. The detention cell accommodation would be “austere” but arrangements are made for meals, and there are washroom facilities.
(11) It is unknown how long it could take to go to trial. There are various options available to both defence and the prosecution which have an impact on when a case goes to trial , for example:
– Dejaeger could ask for a preliminary hearing. A trial date can not be set until after the preliminary hearing.
– Should he choose not to request a preliminary hearing the Crown is entitled to ask for one.
I don’t know where Dejaeger is at this very moment, but I do know that he will be in Iqaluit today, and I do know that he will be appearing in court today to answer to charges laid nearly 16 long years ago.
Will he ask for bail? I don’t know. If he asks for bail will he get it? I hope not. I’d say he’s been out on bail for the past 16 years.
Enough for now,