OPP pressure to lay charges: Powless

by Gary McHale

Regional News - Nov. 25, 2009

Last week in a Welland courtroom Camille Powless took the stand in her own defence on the charge of public mischief, for filing a false police report claiming I assaulted her, and on a charge of assaulting me.

She testified that she filed the police report only after OPP approached her brother Clyde Powless, who was also charged with assaulting me on Dec. 1, 2007, and asked him to pressure Camille into laying an assault charge against me.

She testified that she was told the "OPP needed to get something on McHale to keep him out of town." She also claimed that she knew her other brother Steve Powless was going to be charged with assaulting me as well. "I knew the court would need something to help in my brother's defence", she said.

She stated she felt pressured by the OPP and received 10-20 text messages telling her she had to get to the OPP station right away to file charges.  She stated that her brother Clyde Powless drove her to the OPP station where she meant OPP ART (Aboriginal Relations Team) Officer Blake Cohoe who also told her that the "OPP wanted to lay a charge against McHale to keep him out."

The reliability of this type of testimony is questionable considering she is charged with public mischief. However, her story is supported by testimony from Insp. Renton in April 2009 when he let it slip out that the OPP entered into negotiations with Clyde Powless regarding his arrest for assaulting me.

The word negotiate implies a give and take type of deal. What did the OPP offer to Clyde as part of this negotiations? Insp. Renton further stated that Supt. Cain assigned an ART Team member to do the negotiations with Clyde but didn't know the details.

What we do know is that on Dec. 1, 2007, in three separate events, I was assaulted by Camille Powless, Steve Powless and Clyde Powless. Although the OPP didn't arrest them while the assaults were occurring they knew the evidence would force them to lay charges.

In response to these facts, Commissioner Fantino ordered his officers to focus on me and did a press release blaming the violence on me. After an investigation Clyde Powless was also to be charged with assaulting an OPP officer however, Fantino ordered this charge to be dropped. A year later Fantino would write a character reference letter in support of Clyde Powless to be used in court while blaming me for the violence.

In 2009 a Superior Court Judge ordered Clyde Powless to be charged with assaulting a police officer, obstructing a police officer, assault causing bodily harm and being a member of a riot. All four charges were immediately dropped by the Crown.

You decide whether the facts support the idea that Clyde Powless received a deal from the OPP and the Crown and in return his sister would lay a false charge against me.