Step aside Fantino it's now the Crown's turn

by Gary McHale - The Regional

April 21, 2010

Has anyone heard from Commissioner Fantino in the past two years? In 2006 and 2007 he was endlessly doing interviews primarily attacking me and any resident who dared to speak out. The OPP did several press releases attacking the character and motives of non-Native people. 

There is little doubt the OPP started a smear campaign questioning what they called the self-serving agendas of the residents of Caledonia.

Through various court actions the OPP was reminded that we have laws in this country against defamation. The OPP very quickly removed their press releases from their website and Mr. Fantino went silent.

Occasionally the OPP attempts to defame the residents of Caledonia but they are reduced to using code phrases like “people with personal agendas” or “groups with self serving agendas”. By not using names the OPP believe they can get around the defamation laws.

However, the problem for the McGuinty Government is that while the public first bought into this smear campaign it has become wise and no longer falls for it.

Crown Lawyers appear to have become the new tool in the smear campaign. Statements made in court are protected against the defamation laws. Any media can reprint statements made in court without fear of being sued. Fortunately, this time the media is not falling for this and nor should the public.

On April 14, 2010, the Crown stood up to withdraw the charge of obstructing justice against OPP Deputy Commissioner Chris Lewis and Superintendent John Cain.

Instead of standing up and simply withdrawing the charge the Crown read off an eight page prepared text. When they withdrew the charge against Mr. Fantino the Crown read off a 10 page statement. In both cases they were before Justice MacDonald who stated after the statements were read out that the Crown didn't need to provide the court with any reason why they were withdrawing the charge.

By law the Justice simply records the Crown’s decision to withdraw a charge without having any say in it. Since the Justice didn’t need to hear the prepared statement, the Crown appeared to be making their comments for the benefit of media and not for the courts. In the Fantino case the Crown actually stood up and asked the court clerk to make copies of his speech to hand out to the media. Last week the Attorney General's office was emailing the Crown's speech regarding Lewis and Cain to various media outlets. According to the media I spoke with they have never seen this done before.

Anyone listening would have believed that I, as the victim of the alleged crime, had committed numerous illegal acts in order to lay charges against Lewis and Cain. This message was so clear that CHCH TV asked the Crown why they don't lay charges against me if they believe I have done what they claimed in court. The Crown refused to answer.

The greatest problem the Crown has is the fact that I cannot lay a charge unless a Justice of the Peace reviews the evidence and then issues the charge. The Crown is present in these hearings to ensure the process isn't abused. Therefore, do they believe the Justice is part of some conspiracy to lay charges against the OPP?

The Crown stated, "I have also concluded that to permit this prosecution to proceed would amount to an abuse of process. By laying criminal charges, the informant’s purported objective is simply to ensure that police uphold the law they are sworn to enforce. In reality however, the informant is attempting to manipulate the criminal process for improper purposes related to his personal agenda... The informant is engaged in an apparently abusive use of the criminal process for personal reasons, without restraint. His actions are personally motivated and without legal merit or substance."

There you have it folks - 'personally motivated and without legal merit or substance.'

It sounds a lot like the OPP's propaganda - anyone who speaks out must have some personal motive, hidden agenda or self-serving agenda etc.

We have had four cases that made it to Superior Court and we have won every single one. To date the Crown's victory is zero - no wonder they are upset.

Since the Crown believes that my actions are without legal merit or substance then where does that put three Superior Court Judges who ruled for us - Judge Marshall (twice), Judge Crane and Judge Glithero?

We have had several Justices of the Peace issue charges that were filed by members of CANACE. One of these cases is at the trial stage and the Crown is still prosecuting the accused person.

Do all these judges, justices and Crown lawyers who were present during the pre-enquetes appear to be too stupid to see that my actions are 'without legal merit and substance'?

What is truly amazing is the Crown believes it has a right to withdraw any private information even before any evidence is presented before the Justice of the Peace. In the case of Lewis and Cain the Crown lawyer, during that pre-enquete, told the court the Crown was NOT intervening to stop the process. This Crown lawyer had the right and duty to intervene and stop any so-called abuse of the court system.

It appears that everyone within the legal system in Haldimand is suddenly under my spell and unable to see there is no 'legal merit'  to these cases. Thank God for Toronto Crown Lawyers who come out to Haldimand to tell these ‘hick’ justices and judges about the law. I particularly like it when these Toronto lawyers tell the court that the community doesn't want these prosecutions to proceed.

They never say whether it is the people of Haldimand or the Government in Toronto that doesn't want these cases prosecuted.