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Judge stays McHale mischief charge

Prosecuting would take too much time: Crown

April 21, 2010 Hamilton Spectator

Ken Peters

Political activist Gary McHale has vowed to hold a victory march in Caledonia in the coming weeks after  a judge stayed an obscure charge against him Wednesday.

Crown counsel Brent Bentham asked Ontario Court Justice Bernd Zabel to stay the charge of counselling to commit mischief not committed against the 48-year-old Binbrook man because of the extensive court time the prosecution would require.

Bentham noted the proceeding remains at the preliminary inquiry stage and even more court time would be required should it proceed in the Superior Court of Justice.

McHale was charged by the OPP in December 2007. The allegation of inciting civil disobedience was connected to a public rally that turned ugly with native and non-native protesters facing off over the issue of an illegal native smoke shop on Argyle Street South at Highway 6.

McHale subsequently brought a criminal charge against OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino involving the use of threats to influence the elected officials of Haldimand County.

That charge was withdrawn by the Crown in February.

As well McHale brought criminal charges against two senior OPP officers in relation to the long-simmering Caledonia land claims dispute.

But the Crown withdrew obstruction of justice charges against Deputy Commissioner Chris Lewis and Superintendent Ron Gentle last week.