Trainer testifies to double standards at McHale hearing

The Regional

December 3, 2008

This past week saw Gary McHale's trial turn into a preliminary hearing due to the Crown's announcement that they had misread the criminal code and they could no longer proceed with a summary conviction. Mr. McHale was given the weekend to decide how to proceed and on Monday he requested a trial by Judge and Jury in Superior court. Mr. McHale continues to be self-represented.

Mayor Trainer was called by the defense and testified to the following: 1) That McHale is no danger to the community; 2) McHale is an advocate for the people; 3) McHale is non-violent; 4) Two Tier Justice exists in Caledonia; 5) The OPP have failed the residents.

Under cross-examination by the crown the Mayor stood her ground on the issue of Two Tier Justice and after 40 minutes of questioning she had testified that her view was based on the following: 1) Her personal observation; 2) Statements by OPP officers; 3) Statements from retired OPP officers; 4) Reported incidents from residents.

She testified that when the Stirling Bridge was burned down the Fire Chief came to her and asked for her public support because when the fire department arrived to put out the fire they were confronted with Native Protesters who threatened them with guns. The Mayor stated the OPP retreated and left the fire department alone and unprotected.

The Mayor also testified that she went with Merlyn Kinrade to the Ontario Ombudsman after Commissioner Fantino was cleared of any wrong doing for his threatening email to Haldimand Council. The Mayor testified that Monty Kwinter announced that Fantino was cleared before the report had even been written. The Mayor testified she received several phone calls from the Lawyer investigating the complaint the day Fantino was cleared. After Fantino was cleared the Lawyer told the Mayor he had to write the report the way he was being told. Under cross-examination by the Crown the Mayor stated she had written down the exact words of the lawyer because it stood out in her mind.

OPP Officer MacDonald took the stand and reported that on Dec. 1, 2007, after Doug's Protest was over, he was ordered to 'relieve' the people blocking the Argyle Rd South at #6. He was the second officer on the stand who used the word 'relieve' but both officers claimed the OPP were not working with the Native Protesters who were blocking the road.

Officer MacDonald also testified that a native driver drove his car into him twice and only stopped when he told the driver he would pull his gun if the driver attempted to hit him again. At this point the passenger went to the smoke shop and got others to come back as the driver pushed the officer around. An OPP ART team member showed up and escorted the Native people through the police line. Officer MacDonald didn't take the time to write down the license number nor the description of the driver but did pass information onto the OPP Crime Unit in hopes that charges would be filed. He did testify that no one at the Crime Unit has spoken to him about this incident at any point in the past year however, he was clear he wanted charges laid.

Commissioner Fantino took the stand and immediately answered almost every question with "I don't remember". He could recall telling the public that McHale had an 'agenda of violence', filed 'frivolous lawsuits', 'incited violence' and that McHale wanted a 'civil war'. However, after McHale questioned Mr. Fantino on how he came to such beliefs the Commissioner provided no evidence for any of his stated beliefs. The Commissioner replied saying he couldn't remember any details about any statements or activities by McHale that caused the Commissioner to form his conclusions.

Fantino was absolutely clear that officers had been hurt protecting McHale and told the court that 40 officers had been injured in Caledonia. However, when McHale questioned him as to which events officers were hurt in the Commissioner stated he couldn't remember. When challenged by McHale, Fantino couldn't provide any case where any officer was hurt at any of McHale's events.

The Commissioner stated, "We have always identified you as the leader in every event in Caledonia." When questioned the Commissioner saw everything that any resident had done in Caledonia as being lead by McHale. In the views of the Commissioner any event that is promoted on website automatically means McHale is leading the event.

Under questioning the Commissioner admitted that the OPP videotape McHale's events and have officers there to take notes. He also stated that there was no video evidence or anything recorded in officer's notes that show McHale had committed any crime prior to the Dec. 1, 2007 protest. Although the Commissioner said McHale had an agenda of violence, he was questioned as to whether McHale had ever been charged with Attempted Murder; Aggravated Assault; Assault; property damage; or any weapons offences, to which the Commissioner stated 'No'.

The Commissioner stated that he treats Native and Non-Native Protesters the same. He admitted to face to face meetings with several Native Protesters and that they also had his cell phone number. The Commissioner admitted he has never met with Merlyn Kinrade, Doug Fleming, Gary McHale and said he has never had any direct communication with any non-native protester.

The Commissioner also admitted that he has never criticized any Native Protester publicly in Caledonia nor did he know how much it cost to police any individual native person. However, the Commissioner stated he had publicly criticized McHale several times and the OPP had set up a special costing code to trace the expenses of policing McHale.

When the Commissioner was shown the video of Clyde Powless attacking McHale on Dec. 1, 2007 he was asked what Clyde Powless was doing and the Commissioner stated he couldn't tell. A previous witness, Terry Lynn Brant (sister to Turtle Island News editor Linda Powless) had testified that Clyde was merely trying to 'tickle' McHale.

The Commissioner also admitted he did tell his officers to disregard the views of the Crown because they were 'timid' and 'feeble'. Fantino read off his email in which he told his officers that even if the court didn't agree with the OPP it still was beneficial to proceed as a way of 'publicly exposing' McHale as a 'Mischief Maker'.

In general the Commissioner was fixated on McHale throughout the whole testimony. As McHale asked questions the Commissioner found ways to make remarks against McHale. Several times McHale had to tell the Commissioner to answer the question because Fantino was trying to make some point unrelated to the question that was asked.

The preliminary hearing is adjourned until April 21, 2009 where another six days have been scheduled. Judge Zabel will then rule whether there is enough evidence to proceed to trial.

Submitted by Gary McHale