Things at what was scheduled to be Day Two of the Father Barry McGrory preliminary hearing wrapped up just before 12:30 pm today in Ottawa. I am just home. A few comments:
1. The preliminary hearing did not, in essence, resume today. A witness/complainant scheduled to testify was unable to attend. It sounds as though there was good reason for the failure to appear;
2. Today the courtroom was changed from courtroom #10 to #25.
Courtroom #25 is a little box of a room. It really and truly is. In some cases those observing are almost sitting in the witness box or perched up at the desk alongside the Crown and defence lawyer. Yes, there is some room for observers, but barely; a few chairs were set against the wall on either side, but my goodness it is close quarters!
Today, as yesterday, Father McGrory and the two lady friends sat on ‘the defence side.’ I, my husband and another couple in attendance today sat on ‘the Crown side.’ (Those who attend court learn fairly quickly that usually – not always, but, usually – those supporting the defendant sit on the defence side, and those supporting the complainant(s) sit on the Crown side;
3. Once it was clear that the preliminary hearing would not proceed this morning the Crown, judge and defence lawyer met in chambers for a a judicial pre-trial hearing (closed to the public). The rest of us waited, either in the courtroom or out in the hall: our choice. The pre-trial hearing lasted a little over an hour.
4. The Judge is David Berg. (Berg, who was appointed to the bench with the Ontario Court of Justice in Ontario last Fall [October 2017] and will serve in Ottawa, worked as a public defender and a private practitioner in Nunavut. According to information found online he has volunteered with the Law Society of Nunavut and the Law in Action Within Schools [LAWS] program. )
5. The defence lawyer (defending Father McGrory) is Leo S. Russomanno;
6. Father McGrory seems to be totally uninhibited in his speech. He also seems to be very personable. For example, at one point during a break he settled in beside the investigating officer in the case, now retired detective Steve Cashen. It was impossible not to overhear at least some of it.
McGrory chatted away to the detective, musing about things he had heard in testimony yesterday, and chatting on about such things as his, McGrory’s, years as a Curate at St. Brigid’s Roman Catholic Church;
7. Both yesterday and today Father McGrory had with him, and both in and out of the courtroom, was reading from something akin to a Breviary, but I’m not certain that it was in fact a breviary. It did have what looked like that fine vellum type paper that is found in Bibles and some breviaries, but….? I’m just not sure. Anyway, when we were sitting outside the courtroom waiting for the pre-trial to wrap up Father drew the attention of his two lady friends to the following reading: “Beloved, we are pilgrims and strangers in exile, hence I urge you not to indulge your carnal desire.” (That is from 1 Peter, 2:11. I’m not sure of it is or is not in the Breviary, but I do find it in what is called the Rule, Constitution and Directory of the Brothers and Sisters of Charity at Little Portion Hermitage. The latter is an order founded by American singer song writer John Michael Talbot. )
As far as I was concerned the way the quote was referenced and read was, quite frankly, bizarre. It just did not, for example, seem to dawn on Father McGrory that when he himself entered that guilty plea in 1993 he had indeed indulged in his carnal desires;
8. Also discussed by Father McGrory during a long break was what he considers to be the origins of celibacy in the Roman Catholic Church , his assurance to his lady friends that “it had nothing to do with Jesus,” and his remarkable almost adulation of Martin Luther.
6. The next court date is set for 20 April 2018 at 09:00 “to be spoken to”, probably in courtroom #10, but that could change at the 11th hour.
And now, some information on the 20 APRIL 1918 courtdate.
After speaking to the Crown with my multitude of questions here is what I can tell you:
i. There MAY be a decision to set a court date to continue the preliminary hearing with the complainant who was supposed to testify today. That is only a MAY. There may by then have been a decision made NOT to continue the preliminary hearing;
ii. Even if a decision is made NOT to call the complainant to continue the preliminary hearing, the judge can review available evidence (ie, transcripts, videos and so on) and still opt to order Father McGrory to stand trial on the charges which arose from the allegations of this particular complainant. In other words, the fact that this complainant has not appeared and may not appear at a preliminary hearing does not negate McGrory being committed to stand trial on those charges;
iv. The judge MAY rule on the 20th that Father McGrory is committed to stand trial. That too is a MAY, only a MAY;
v. IF Father McGrory is committed to stand trial a trial date MAY be set on the 20th;
vi. Father McGrory must be present in court on April 20th. Usually the accused does not have to be present for “to be spoken to” court dates, but becasue in this instance the judge MAY commit McGrory to stand trial on that date, McGrory is to be present.
vii. The charges from the three complainants is the total of the charges which are now heading toward trial. According to the Crown, all of the charges which were laid over the past months have been ” joined.” If, therefore, Father McGrory is ordered to stand trial, that will be the only trial which will be held arising out of the charges laid over the months (since, I believe, November 2016).
I hope I haven’t created more confusion here? If something which I have said is in fact creating confusion please ask me to explain – I will do my best 🙂
The Legal Calendar and Father McGrory page will be updated later this evening
Enough for now,