I smell a rat

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The judge is to render his verdict on the Father Charles Picot sex abuse trial in Campbellton New Brunswick today.

Let’s pray that justice is done.  Derek, my thoughts and prayers are with you.


Yesterday Bishop Emeritus Raymond Lahey entered a guilty and asked to be incarcerated.  A truly bizarre twist.  The guilty plea was not so much of a surprise.  We see that play out time and again – a guilty plea at the 11th hour with expressions of remorse and, in turn, judicial cudos for both the belated plea and the display of sorrow.

It seems to be acceptable in the legal world.  Try as I might I can not wrap my head around it.  If you’re guilty, why not admit and get it over with, for the good of all?  Why a system which rewards, rather than penalizes, those who who use precious court time and tax payer’s dollars for months and sometimes years on end before finally admitting guilt?

Anyway, here we go again, the only difference being that Lahey now prefers to be in jail pending his sentencing.

I smell a rat.

Some comments and observations and questions about the strange happenings in the Ottawa court house: court room # 12.

(1) Change in judges

Just a detail.  Justice Maissoneuve was originally scheduled to be take the bench at the “trial.”  Yesterday Justice Kirkland arrived.  I have no idea why the change at the 11th hour.  Perhaps Maissoneuve was sick?  Whatever the cause, a retired judge from outside the region took the bench.

(2)  Delay

The “trial” was scheduled to start at 10 am.

Bishop Lahey arrived at 9:55 am.  Edelson asked for a conference with Crown.  Away they went.  Lahey was left on the court room – sitting in the front row.

10:15 am:  no judge.  No Edelson.  No Crown.

10:25:  Edleson returned to the court room.  He approached one of the two detectives who worked the case and asked him to some and “show us the book.”

Away they went, the detective toting a large binder.

10:43:  all returned to the court room.  Edleson had a chitty chat with his client.

Just before Justice Kirkland arrived Lahey was invited to sit forward aside his legal team.

The delay apparently related to the Crown’s request for a pres-sentence hearing.  Edelson claimed he heard nothing of this until he preceding day.

(3)  Bishop Emeritus Raymond Lahey

Lahey was attired in khaki coloured shirt and pants, tweed jacket and brown  walking shoes.  He carried a little green cloth bag, approximately 10×12.  Inside the bag was a binder: one person said it was a photo album. I saw only the coil spine of what looked like a binder.

The Bishop arrived in the court room at 9:55 am.  He sat at the outer edge of the front left bench.  Initially he looked calm, chin resting on his left hand.  On one occasion he scrutinized the crowd, taking particular note of the two detectives sitting across the aisle with binders and a large clear plastic tote of binders and files. The one marked change I noticed in his demeanour was when it was stated that one of the porn  stories in his possession was titled “Master Justin Goes on Vacation.” Lahey began for the first time to scratch his forehead  he really became very fidgety.

I said that Lahey sat in the front left bench.  That was true to a point.  Just before the judge arrived Mr. Edelson invited Lahey to move forward.  From then until he was taken into custody Lahey sat alongside his legal team.

(4)  Guilty plea

This was strange.  Before Bishop Lahey entered his guilty plea Michael Edelson, his lawyer, wanted to rephrase the one charge (Section 163.1 (3) to which Lahey would enter the plea.

Section 163.1 (3)  reads as follows:

163.1 (3) Every person who transmits, makes available, distributes, sells, advertises, imports, exports or possesses for the purpose of transmission, making available, distribution, sale, advertising or exportation any child pornography is guilty of

(a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of one year; or

(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding eighteen months and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of ninety days.

Edelson found the wording `very problematic.`   According to Edelson, there had been no export etc of child porn.  Edelson wanted the charge rephrased to  `possession for the purposes of importation.

It was done.

Lahey pled guilty to possession for the purposes of importation.

What is rather strange here is that, according to later evidence, and if I understood it correctly, one of the porn files on Lahey’s computer was downloaded 26 October 2008 at 5:40 pm.

Now it seems to me that if a kiddie porn file was downloaded a year before Lahey was arrested, would that not mean that he possessed the file as of 26 October 2008? And if that is the case, did Lahey not export the file when he left Canada in the Fall of 2009?

Does that not constitute exporting?

I don’t know.  It seems strange.  Perhaps that particular file was not one which was definitively determined to constitute child pornography?

Whether it is or isn’t my question is: what, if anything, happens to the sentencing provisions for a whittled down section 163.1 (3)

Does a minimum one year still stand?  Or, will Edelsson argue at the sentencing hearing that Bishop Lahey shouldn’t be subjected to a one year minimum because all his client did was import for his own personal pleasure?

As I said, I smell a rat in all of this.  I have trouble with the notion that it took Lahey a full 19 or twenty months to realize that he did indeed have a horde of child porn in his possess, and equally I have trouble with the notion that he simultaneously was so overwhelmed by remorse that he wanted nothing more than to go straight to jail.

My gut is that whatever this is all about it will serve Lahey well

(5)  Pre-sentence report

Well, my goodness but Mr. Edelson did not want Justice Jack Kirkland  to comply with the Crown’s request to have a pre-sentence report compiled.

And, Edelson won the day.  There will be no pre-sentence report.  Justice Jack Kirkland, a retired judge, felt that a 06 December 2010 report compiled by Dr. Bradford, a forensic psychiatrist with the Royal Ottawa Hospital, was more than adequate to assist him in sentencing.  (I was told that Kirkland is from the Renfrew area but have not confirmed)

Kirkland nearly had Bradford walking on water, such praise did he heap upon the doctor and hence the merits of Braford’s evaluation of Lahey as outlined in the report. (The evaluation comprised one 41/2 hour interview and a  one day sexual behaviour evaluation)

I believe this report was requested by Edelson.  It was also clear that the Crown is not totally enamoured with Bradford’s conclusions and wants to cross-examine the doctor.

But, Dr. Bradford was unavailable.  He was tied up with other important matters and unavailable to take the stand!.  At some point in the future he will be available, but precisely when a date can be found which suits all parties  remains to be seen.  There will be no sentencing hearing until this accomplished.

As it stands,  26 May has been booked to set a date.

All that aside, I can not for the life of me see why Kirkland refused to  order a pre-sentence report.  Given the apparent dissatisfaction of the Crown with the Bradford report, why not?

Edelson argued that, amongst other things,  the judge and Crown can be informed by the Bradford report which contains intimate details about Lahey.  He also noted that he had provided 11 character references from persons who know Lahey well.  He asked:  “what are you going to hear about that you don’t already know?”

The Crown would have liked to see a pre-sentence report with, amongst other things, background info on Lahey and opportunity to interview other persons who may not have the same views as those held by the 11 who provided character references.

Edelson scoffed at the idea of interviews.  “A bishop has one supervisor: the Pope.  The pope is not going to take a call from the probation supervisor.”

Edelson won the day.

There will be no pre-sentence report.  The Bradford report is, in the eyes of Justice Kirkland, more than  satisfactory, and the judge deems Bradford to be impartial.

(6) Go to jail

As I mentioned earlier, Bishop Lahey is apparently suddenly and, I would say belatedly,  overcome with remorse, so much so that not only did he enter a guilty plea,  he actually asked to be put in jail.

What was rather strange here was a remark made by Justice Kirkland.  Kirkland indicated that he understood why Lahey would want to be in jail because ‘everywhere he goes he’s hounded by the media.’

Where pray tell did that come from?

True, the courtroom yesterday was packed with media.  There were at least 20 jammed into the small room.  But, Lahey ‘hounded by the media’?

I think not.  The bishop was not being hounded by the media when he was spotted a few months back sashaying along one of the downtown streets of Ottawa with a knapsack over his shoulder.  He was alone.  There was no indication of where he was going, where he was coming from, or what was in the bag.  But, clearly he had no fear of stepping out alone.  I reiterate, he was alone.  There was no media barking at his heels.

Ditto his time visiting with the Oblates at the Springhurst residence.  There was no media chasing him down over there.

Fair enough: if Lahey wants to forego bail and go directly to jail without passing GO,, so be it.  Let him go directly to jail.  But I really do not think the man has been hounded by the media for the past 19 or 20 months.  :Lahey has other motives for wanting to go to jail.

(7) Miscellaneous

Lahey is now housed in the  Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre.  I don’t know if he is in protective custody.

Lahey had 588 photos which constituted child pornography and about 60 videos.  He also had porn stories, one in excess of 300 pages. He accessed three porn websites which featured boys their early teens.

Titles of files included “Bros” (brothers); “Chosen 5 -8”; “Chosen 9 – 13”

There were themes of mastery and slavery, torture, degradation and humiliation of young boys.  There were pictures of sex acts between young boys, a young male masturbating, fellatio between a young male and an adult, an act of sodomy between two males in a shower;  young males with little or no pubic hair.

There were files of  child porn stories with such titles as “Master Justin Goes on Vacation,” and  “Days on the Beach.” Approx porn 60 child porn videos.

Lahey searched for porn using the search term “Lolita” once.  He used the search term “Twink” 1,182 times.  Twink is the search term used by those searching for porn involving young boys.

Amidst the filth on his drives were three documents related to Lahey’s work as a bishop.

Assistant Crown Michael Cole described Lahey as a “troubled man.”

John MacDonald, “alleged” victim of Cornwall Ontario’s Father Charles MacDonald, drove to Ottawa to watch the Lahey proceedings.  John, please add you observations and thoughts 🙂

Finally, a question:  How did Lahey access child pornography before the advent of the Internet?


I am late for an appointment.  I have to run….

Enough for now,


This entry was posted in Accused or charged, Bishops, Canada, Clerical sexual predators, Raymond Lahey, Scandal, Trials and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to I smell a rat

  1. John says:

    I had to do a little homework before I commented on what I watched transpire yesterday at the courthouse.

    To me, we watched a nifty little slight of hand by Mr. Edelson, he had everyone looking right while he dodged to the left for his client. The homework that I did this morning involves the 2 for 1 credit re: custody prior to sentencing. This credit has not been removed from the books to date, so in other words IF Bishop Lahey is sentenced to the minimum of one year for his deeds, and if it takes 6 months to get a date for sentencing then Lahey can and IMHO will recieve time served as a punishment. Again, to me this was a calculated move by Mr. Edelson to lessen incarceration time for his client.

    The other slight of hand witnessed was the parsing of the charge itself…..Lahey was orginally charged under section 163.1 (3) of the criminal code which reads…….any person who transmits, makes available, distributes, imports, exports or possesses for the purpose of transmission, making available, distribution, sale or exportation any child pornography is guilty of…..We watched as this was parsed to read just “importation”, which was saying that he possessed it upon his return from London. What bothers me with this is that we heard testimony from the Detective (computer forensic analyst) that Lahey had originally downloaded the images in 2008, at least a year prior to leaving the country, which means that the images were on his computer when he left (exportation?). There was no arguing from Crown Elhadad on this point (why?) No questions from Judge Kirkland (why?). It felt like Mr. Edelson’s magic act had a willing participant with indeed Judge Kirkland and possibly Crown Elhadad. The only breath of fresh air (kind of) was young assistant Crown Cole who seemed somewhat upset and under impressed with the show that he was witnessing.

    I have heard of other child pornography cases where the number of images come into play with the sentencing. This seems to have been completely avoided in this case (why?). I have read reported stories from across the country concerning yesterdays proceedings, one story mentions that there were complaints as early as 1989 of Lahey possessing child pornography; Is this why Mr. Edelson is avoiding the pre-sentence report on his client? Why did Judge Kirkland agreee to no pre-sentence report? Again from what I have witnessed in almost all cases that I see go to trial (regardless of the charge), is that a PSR is almost standard operating procedure.

    Just my views,

    John Mac Donald

  2. John: I agree that the reason Lahey asked to be placed into custody was because every day served in jail prior to final sentencing actually works out to 3 days credit towards the completion of his sentence. (2 for 1 + 1/3 off for mandatory supervision meaning that three months in jail prior to sentencing could potentially cover the 1 year minimum)

    If he is granted a sentence of 2 years or more, then he goes into the federal system and then would potentially only have to serve 1/3 of his time behind bars. The percentage doubles within the provincial prison system – so in this case a sentence of 2 years less a day could result in more time in jail than he would face if he’s sentenced to 4 years in the federal system.

    As to the Church punishment… he should be defrocked… post haste! He has brought GREAT shame and IMMENSE damage to the Church. Priests who have been convicted of similar offenses have been defrocked (although not enough of them – they should ALL be kicked out of the clerical state) and he should not be treated any differently. In fact, the hypocrisy he demonstrated of carrying out these perverse acts while standing as the Bishop who negotiated a settlement with victims means that he should be treated even more severely than a priest who offends.

    Fr. Tim

  3. P.S. If anyone wants to jump to his defense in stating that he only used the porn for his ‘personal use’, they had better be prepared to explain why he was in possession of (and traveling with!) ‘sex toys’. I am no expert… but I find it incredulous to believe that he only traveled with such ‘toys’ for his ‘personal use’.

    Sick, sick, sick!!!!!

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