by Gary McHale - The Regional
Jan. 5, 2011
On Dec. 8/10, a few weeks before Randy Fleming's trial was to start, the Crown withdrew the charge of obstructing police. Fleming was arrested on May 24/09 while walking down the road carrying a Canadian Flag - something the OPP have repeatedly said is illegal but NEVER illegal when Natives do it.
According to the Crown, court time is precious and apparently they didn't want to use two days to try to prove Fleming had committed a crime. After all the Crown and the OPP had already inflicted punishment on Fleming by forcing him to have legal expenses and forcing travel restrictions upon him for the past 18 months. This has become standard practice to use the court system as a way of punishing anyone who stands up for their rights without the Crown enduring the embarrassment of losing at trial.
Mr. Paquette, lawyer for Fleming, stated in court, "This is a withdrawal of the charge that was not sought by the defence... this is a matter of considerable importance to my client and of considerable local importance because it rises out of the dispute in Caledonia... my client wanted a public hearing on this, wanted a public trial... the charges were never warranted. Essentially, he was arrested in the vicinity of Douglas Creek Estates because he was carrying a flag - a Canadian flag... the withdrawal of the charge at the eleventh hour prevents the matter from being publicly litigated..."
The OPP and Crown never intended on having a public trial that would force OPP officers to testify about their racist policies. It is not convictions the police and Crown want but punishment for anyone who stands up against the McGuinty Government.
In my own case ex-Commissioner Fantino never once stated the OPP were motivated by a desire to get a conviction - in fact, he belittled the Crown for only prosecuting cases they believed would result in a conviction. Fantino told his officers to use the court system in order to get travel restrictions and even if they failed it would allow them to publicly expose me as a mischief maker. He instructed his officers not to get bogged down with legal nuances - in my view legal nuances are what makes something legal.
To date the OPP has illegally arrested four non-natives for carrying Canadian Flags. The first arrest was on Dec. 1/06 and the OPP claimed the local Baptist Church asked them to arrest the person for trespassing - of course, the pastor stated no such request was made. The person sued the OPP and the Government settled out of court.
Then I was arrested on Dec. 16/06 along with Mark Vandermaas for walking down the road with a Canadian Flag. Two weeks earlier Fantino had contacted Government lawyers and asked them to find some way to deal with McHale. Government lawyers then held several meetings with OPP officers and Cayuga Crown lawyers prior to Dec. 16.
Unfortunate for them their plan didn't work because I was arrested on a Saturday when Cayuga Courthouse is closed thereby the case went to the Crown in Hamilton who refused to go along with their scheme to force travel restrictions upon me. According to Crown lawyer Andrew Goodman, two OPP officers then pressured him to lay a criminal charge against me for mischief which he refused.
So we have on both Dec. 1 and Dec. 16, 2006 the OPP trying to falsely lay criminal charges in order to stop non-natives from walking down the road with Canadian Flags. The first charge was prevented when the Pastor refused to support the OPP and the second charge was prevented when a Crown lawyer refused to give in to OPP pressure.
Even the OPP was forced to admit that they cannot determine whether their approach is legal or not. An OPP report states, "The propriety of the continued use of this unconventional approach cannot be decided at the writer's level, or even by the police or judicial communities with any certainty. It will likely have to be adjudicated by a court of competent jurisdiction."
The OPP approach is that they do what they want and let the courts deal with the fallout - i.e. taxpayers being forced to pay to settle OPP's mistakes.
It is interesting to note that after the OPP failed with a trespassing charge and failed with their mischief charge they informed the public in January 2007 that people would be arrested for obstructing a police officer if they walked down a road with a Canadian Flag. The OPP claim was that ANYONE walking through a police line would be arrested for obstruction.
In every rally I have ever had in Caledonia Native protesters walk through the OPP police line at will without a single charge. In fact, Clyde Powless gathered a group and walked through the police line in order to assault me on Dec. 1, 2007 without ever facing any charge of obstruction.
While OPP do little to stop real crimes being committed by Native protesters, the photos taken, by the Sachem, from the day of Fleming's arrest show one officer with his knee on Randy's head pushing him into the ground while another had his knee on Fleming's back and a third was handcuffing him.
At the time Bill Dietz (retired RCMP Sgt.) wrote a letter to the Regional which stated, "you may think that Ontario's Finest have captured a serious felon; perhaps a murderer or a bank robber; maybe this guy killed a little child and tried to run from the OPP..... Not so, he was simply trying to erect a Canadian Flag..."
Fleming claims the OPP used excessive force. He states, "I got a permanent injury [in my left arm] and it is not getting better. I have seen two doctors and am going to a third one. I am receiving physical therapy."
Fleming has hired Evans Sweeny Bordin law firm to file a civil claim against the OPP. This is the same firm that handled Dave Brown and Dana Chatwell's case.