“I urge you not to indulge your carnal desire.”

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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 🙂

Supper time….

The Legal Calendar and Father McGrory page will be updated later this evening

Enough for now,


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8 Responses to “I urge you not to indulge your carnal desire.”

  1. Northern Fancy says:

    As a defense lawyer in Nunavut, David Berg vigorously defended several well known abusers, such as Moses Meeko from Sanikiluaq (See Nunatsiaq News, April 2014). Interesting to see him resurface as a judge in Ontario now.

    • BC says:

      He did it because that was in his job description. It`s what public defenders and defence lawyers do. If you are represented that Justice Berg is biased you may file a complaint. But you are gonna need much more than alleging that he was… doing his job. Do you believe that accused persons, including previously convicted perverts in Nunavut shouldn`t be represented?

      Previously convicted perverts should be zealously represented in Nunavut and everywhere else in Canada when they are re-charged; because it`s our lawful way to surely know that when they will be finally convicted that they will have been guilty indeed. The idea of defending a previously accused pervert does not contain unicorns, rainbows and cute little puppies snoozing on white puffy clouds. But consider this case: let`s call it Jesus v. Rome. An ugly and messy matter it would be. In this matter a preacher would be arrested, charged, tortured and tried. He would be acquitted but nevertheless he`d be sentenced to death. And this would all happen within a few hours. It would be such a miscarriage of justice that certainly billions of his followers would still be talking about it two thousand years later, eh?

      Christianity`s greatest contribution to our western legal systems is the warning that no state, no matter how great is it`s power, shall endure should it be allowed to continue to wrongfully arrest, torture, charge and sentence innocent persons. And history has clearly demonstrated that this warning was warranted.

      • Northern Fancy says:

        Thank you for that. Let me give you some northern context and additional info. For example:
        #1 D Berg represented Simeonie Issigaitok who had 19 previous child sexual assault convictions. He argued that a dangerous offender designation would be “upsetting” to Simeonie. That long term supervision was kinder. Berg agreed that Simionie did fit the description of dangerous offender. With Simeonie’s track record, how could he say otherwise? Simeonie did not get the dangerous offender designation. (BTW, reporting by David Murphy, Nunatsiaq News, who some may recall from his superb reporting of the Eric deJaeger trial. Best coverage of that trial, by far.)
        #2 It will be interesting to see how D. Berg plays out in his current role.

        • bc says:

          If Justice Berg is not impartial in sexual assault cases Crown prosecutors will file their complaints to the Ontario Judicial Council as per the Courts of Justice Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C.43. But if you look carefully Northern Fancy, Justice isn’t blind. She’s sighted and she’s wearing a blindfold. That means that Justices have their own views but that their job is to be impartial. The job description of a defence attorney is not to decide anything at all and to appear to be very partial. The job is to represent the interests of his/her clients and make sure that the Crown ain’t abusing it’s procedural power. It also involves not looking relieved that their clients have been convicted. The good ones make it look easy to represent perverts and drink responsibly. The bad ones move close to the nearest liquor store to the local courthouse and take a cab to work. Because their clients end up paying for it too.

        • bc says:

          On April 7, 2018 at 1:12 pm you posted that Simeonie did not get the dangerous offender designation.
          I can’t find R.v. Simeonie. The CBC reported that he was declared a dangerous offender in 2014.

          I can’t come to a conclusion of biais against Justice Berg just on what you have posted but I do have a northern perspective: I’m in the Federal riding of James Bay. Where it was -22C this morning. And it was snowing again. But it was much nicer than it was last December when it was -49C for a couple of days, eh?

          All the best to you N-F

  2. BC says:

    I am always impressed by your first person accounts and descriptions of legal proceedings of cases of clerical abuse Sylvia. Surely being a Catholic must mean to be a good witness and to testify about what one has seen and/or heard. And so I like the idea that victims of clerical abuse are our crucified for our times. I like it because by design crucifixion was used to kill most inefficiently those sentenced to it. I also like the idea that it is Christ who is being crucified next to the victims of clerical abuse who are subjected to the crucifying ordeals of these legal proceedings. Clerical abuse is a slow-death sentence. It’s an ugly scene. It is not something one would want to look at. But vain is the faith of clerics if they continue to refuse to raise their heads and look into the eyes and consider the wounds of the victims of clerical abuse.

  3. bc says:

    Good on you for filing a complaint Sylvia! Yes, it`s time consuming and it`s not fun at all. I have done it also. Federal Court Justice Robin Camp; the “knees together judge” was forced to resign because of formal complaints and a very well organised women`s rights lobby in Canada. Unfortunately for victims of clerical abuse you are a rare lone voice in Canada Sylvia. If the faithful would cease to tolerate passively clerical abuse and by virtue of their own beliefs they should; (like the faithful of Guam who picketed outdoors for months to have Archbishop Apuron defrocked) justices would be more mindful of a possible community backlash.

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