by Gary McHale - The Regional
October 7, 2009
Some people may think I am paranoid to believe that the OPP would rush to lay charges against me. The Crown has stated that the OPP only laid a charge against me after doing a thorough investigation.
On Dec. 1, 2007 Doug Fleming invited people to join him to protest against the growing number of illegal smoke shops in Caledonia - a problem that has continued without any real help from the County, the OPP or the RCMP.
Twenty minutes into Mr. Fleming's protest Commissioner Fantino was already sending an email stating that Gary McHale needed to be removed. According to Fantino everything that happened in Caledonia was caused and controlled by me. He stated in court that I had his home under surveillance. He didn't explain whether that meant I own spy satellites, employed a team of P.I.s to watch his home, had installed hidden cameras throughout his neighbourhood or whether I was, in fact, James Bond 007 in disguise as some fat guy.
Since I was arrested on Dec. 7, 2007 for the event on Dec. 1, 2007 you may be led to believe it took the OPP a full 6 days to determine to charge me. However, this is not the case.
Inspector John Renton and Staff Sergeant John Murray headed up the investigation and both officers testified recently at my preliminary hearing. Both officers testified that they were part of the decision to charge me with Counselling Mischief not Committed - section 464 of the Criminal Code of Canada (C.C.C.).
On Dec. 5, 2007 both officers agreed that I was to be charged and ordered court papers to be prepared. According to the telewarrant that was ordered I was to be charged with violating s. 22 C.C.C. By Dec. 7, 2007 the charge had been changed to state I violated s. 430 C.C.C. and I was arrested based on that charge. A week later the Crown changed the charge to state I violated s. 464.
According to Insp. Renton and S.Sgt. Murray they had reasonable and probable grounds to arrest me under section 22, then under section 430, but clearly this cannot be true. The Crown knew full well that charges under s. 22 and s. 430 could NOT possibly be laid against me. In short, the OPP were wrong to charge me under either of these sections.
It should be remembered that both officers and the Crown have now stated in Court that they have never heard of anyone being charged with Counselling Mischief not Committed.
So how did the OPP make such a clear error in both the telewarrant and in the papers when they arrested me?
The answer is quite simple - they rushed to lay a charge.
According to Insp. Renton the time it took to make a decision to charge me with a charge he had never heard of was one minute. Yes, you read it correctly. The so-called thorough investigation before the decision to arrest me was one minute.
According to testimony by Insp. Renton and Sgt. Murray the OPP had been investigating me for assaulting Camille Powless up until Dec. 5, 2007. Insp. Renton read off an email that he received telling him there was a 'hidden gem' in the fact that Camille Powless claimed I had assaulted her.
The OPP were overjoyed to be able to charge me with assaulting Camille Powless - the facts be damned. In fact, Sgt. Gutenberg and Sgt. Sloan both testified that on Dec. 1, 2007 they were ordered to 'find Gary McHale and arrest him for assault'. According to Sgt. Sloan the order came from the lead investigators.
Within minutes after the rally Commissioner Fantino was being informed I had been arrested based on this assault. At the time the OPP didn't even have a complaint from Camille Powless.
Imagine the propaganda spin the OPP would have with this charge. Gary McHale assaults a native woman - what a 'gem'.
However, I had not touched Camille Powless and on Dec. 5, 2007 I posted a video on my website that showed that Camille Powless assaulted me and I had not touched her. The OPP was suddenly forced to arrest Camille Powless for filing a false police report on the charge of Public Mischief but refused to charge her with assault. Later I filed an assault charge before a Justice of the Peace who issued the charge against Camille Powless.
The hopes and dreams of the OPP to have something to charge me with suddenly went down the drain. Insp. Renton testified that he became aware of this video evidence at approx. 2 pm on Dec. 5, 2007 and that at that time the OPP had no other possible charge against me.
At 3 pm the same day he was shown a new video and within one minute he decided to have me arrested on a charge he had never heard of.
At first Insp. Renton testified that it took him 1, 2 maybe 3 hours to make his decision. After a few questions he testified it took 45 minutes to one hour to decide. Numerous questions followed about what took place in that 45-60 minute period. He testified that he took the time to go and read the Criminal Code. He took time to speak with S.Sgt. Murray. But in the end, at approx. 3:45 to 4:00 pm on Dec. 5, 2007 Insp. Renton made the decision to have me arrested.
Then the testimony suddenly changed. At the tail end of several hours of testimony I asked Insp. Renton about a meeting he had with Superintendant Cain and Deputy Director of the Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) Cardwell at 3:45 pm on Dec. 3, 2007. To my surprise Insp. Renton corrected me and told me the meeting was on Dec. 5, 2007.
This meant that at 3:45 on Dec. 5, 2007 Insp. Renton had a meeting with two of his superior officers - a Superintendent and a Deputy Director - at the very moment he decided to arrest me.
Upon questioning Insp. Renton about the timing of this meeting he suddenly stated that he had decided to have me charged immediately after viewing the video. Now his testimony wasn't that it took 45-60 minutes to decide, but rather it took one minute to decide since the video is only 14 seconds long.
It has been my position that senior officers in the OPP ordered my arrest regardless of the charge. On Dec. 1, 2007 at 3:22 pm, before the OPP had received a complaint, Fantino sent an email stating, "I want every avenue explored by which we now can bring McHale into court... I don't want us to get sidetracked by Crown lawyers on this... not be constantly frustrated by timid Crowns who seem to only get charged up when they have a sure prospect of conviction."
On Dec. 2, 2007 Fantino sent out an email that stated, "I believe that we are falling short on exploiting every possible proactive investigative strategy that could curtail the activities of McHale et. al... I don't want us to get bogged down with legal nuances."
Not being concerned about 'legal nuances' is why a one minute OPP investigation resulted in a charge no one has ever heard of and a waste of $500,000 plus in taxpayers' money.