Taking no part in 'kangaroo court'

by Gary McHale - The Regional

January 27, 2010

Last Wednesday was the proposed deadline for me to turn over all evidence related to the charge against Mr. Fantino. This demand by the Crown came after they already decided to fast track Mr. Fantino's case through the system only to adjourn it until Feb. 3, 2010.

Last week I provided the Crown with a letter that stated, "I must now state I am unable take part in what I see as a kangaroo court where the Crown merely wants the appearance of justice while denying any true form of justice. My decision is not made lightly and I am sure it will be seen by those in politics as playing a game, but I didn't spend the last four years, at great cost to my wife and I, to allow the Attorney General to fast track justice. I have made a reasonable request for a prosecutor to be assigned from outside of Ontario and Law Professor James Stribopoulos agrees with this view as reported in the National Post."

The Attorney General was then provided with several arguments why I believe he has no option but to bring in a prosecutor from outside of the province. There is a conflict of interest within the Attorney General's office.

The Attorney General has been informed that I will not turn over any additional evidence to them until they bring in an outside attorney. Furthermore, they have been told that if the Crown stays the charge against Mr. Fantino then I will file a Judicial Review and prove there is a conflict of interest in the Attorney General's office as demonstrated by the following arguments.

1) The Attorney General has already twice in court argued against the charge being issued. Two Crown lawyers appeared before Justice of the Peace David Brown and three lawyers from the Attorney General's office appeared before Judge Crane in order to stop the charge from being issued. Are we now to believe the Attorney General will be non-biased in deciding whether to prosecute or not?

2) The Attorney General has already given Mr. Fantino preferred or special treatment by trying to fast track his case through the court. Thousands of people each day must wait their turn but not Mr. Fantino. Before he even received the summons the Crown was appearing in court for reasons they refuse to make public but could only be to stay the charge.

3) The Attorney General has shown no concern for the victims of the alleged crime. Before deciding to fast track his case and stay it the Attorney General made no effort to contact Mayor Trainer or council members to hear from the victims - in fact, I would say everyone in Haldimand County are the victims of Mr. Fantino's threats. The rules are that the Crown must speak to the victims before staying charges.

4) The Attorney General is now the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. As of last week Mr. McGuinty has placed the two under one minister. I am sure everyone in Haldimand County feels at ease knowing that the Minister in charge of Aboriginal Affairs is now the same Minister who decides whether or not to prosecute native protesters.

Why not just place a sign stating Institutional Racism is Practiced in Ontario Courts?

5) The Attorney General's attitude was well demonstrated during the Brown/Chatwell trial. The Crown wanted the Judge to recuse himself simply because a native person may think he was biased. During the Crown's presentation they repeatedly claimed they had a historical duty to Aboriginals, that Aboriginals had Charter Rights and Treaty Rights and that there was a long historical relationship between the Crown and Aboriginals.

While I do not disagree with any of those points, the Crown did not once in their presentation state that non-natives also have Charter Rights, that there is a historical duty to non-natives and that there is a long historical relationship between the Crown and non-natives.

In fact, the Attorney General has NEVER expressed any concern for their duty towards non-natives in court. Now the same Attorney General, who is also the minister of Aboriginal Affairs, must decide whether to prosecute Mr. Fantino because it is alleged he committed a crime against non-natives during a native land claim.

6) The alleged crime committed by Mr. Fantino was done while he acted as an agent of the Ontario Government. Most likely if any other person sent the same email it would not have been a criminal offense since the average person would have no means of carrying out the threat.

Mr. Fantino, as the Commissioner of the OPP, used his office to threaten elected officials in Haldimand County. The McGuinty Government publicly supported him when the email became public knowledge back in 2007. The same McGuinty Government had a mock investigation into the police complaint that was filed back in 2007 which cleared Mr. Fantino before a report was even written. In fact, the Mayor testified that the investigator told her he had to write the report the way he was instructed.

7) Mr. Fantino continues to use his office, as Commissioner, to defend himself publicly. The OPP has issued two separate press releases defending Mr. Fantino and now the Ontario Commissioned Officers Association has issued a press release supporting him as well.

So we now have senior OPP officers, who are all agents of the Ontario Government, publicly supporting the actions of Mr. Fantino.

8) The Attorney General has already presented the argument that OPP officers and government officials cannot be prosecuted for criminal offense related to DCE because of their interpretation of the Henco and Frontenac rulings. Two weeks ago in the Ontario Appeals Court the Crown argued that informations filed by me are an abuse of process because of the Henco and Frontenac rulings.

The Crown appears to forget the number of court rulings that have interpreted the Henco and Frontenac rulings differently than the Crown's current view. In the Voortman ruling regarding the property in Hagersville the judge stated:

"Before I conclude I would like to emphasize the rule of law. All people in Canada are governed by the rule of law as confirmed in the preamble to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. That is, all people in Canada are required to obey the law. As a corollary, all people in Canada are entitled to know that every other person in Canada will be required to obey the law. If any person in Canada does not obey the law, the courts will enforce the law. In that way the public has some assurance that they can live in peace without fear of those who might choose to disobey the law."

A line has been drawn in the sand regarding the conflict of interest in the Attorney General's office in prosecuting Mr. Fantino. The next move is for the Crown to decide whether to stay the charge or bring in an out of province prosecutor.

We will have to wait until Feb. 3 to see what they do.