Three Strikes and You're Out

by Gary McHale - The Regional

April 13, 2011

As many are aware, I have been charged with an assault stemming from events on Feb. 27, 2011. While I am well aware that anything I say in this story will be used against me in a court of law, I will limit my statements about the charge to information already available on the internet.

It is alleged that I assaulted Tom Keefer. Keefer who came into Caledonia on Feb. 27 for the stated purpose of confronting anyone who showed up at the Lion's Hall. Our event was scheduled to start at 1 pm and so Keefer bussed in over a 150 people to harass and attempt to intimidate any residents who showed up.

Knowing this prior to Feb. 27 I asked the OPP to keep the two groups separated in order to maintain the peace - the OPP refused. As a result, Merlyn Kinrade made arrangements with a property owner for us to move our event to private property to ensure that we could keep the two groups separated.

It didn't matter to the OPP that the only time they allowed the two sides to mix both I and our cameraman ended up in the hospital which occurred on Dec. 1, 2007. On that day numerous OPP officers were assaulted and Fantino immediately issued a press release blaming me for the violence even though I didn't assault anyone.

So on Feb. 27 as my wife and I stood on private property waiting for residents to show up to hear various speakers, Keefer walked onto the property and directed his followers to do the same. He was informed it was private property and ordered off the property. His response was to encourage his followers to join him. At this moment of time he became a trespasser and encouraged others to join him.

The purpose of entering the property was to confront people who wanted to listen to various speakers. The natural outcome of 150+ people walking onto a small private lot would shutdown any real use of the land.

It is alleged that after Keefer was ordered off the property I pushed him once to direct him off the property. After that I immediately walked away to find an OPP officer to aid in the removal of the trespassers who had effectively shut down our event. The evidence is that several officers refused to help.

Since Keefer travels with his own portable sound system and with loudspeakers, he is able to have his people scream and shout down people as they try to speak. Several times during the event they even switched their loudspeakers over to alarm with sends out a very loud hi-pitched sound. At other times the loudspeakers were placed behind me within a few feet as they screamed at me.

This is the reason we ask the OPP to keep people separated. Many residents simply leave in order not to get too angry at people who clearly are trying to provoke a reaction. Others don't get out of their cars because who wants to walk into a crowd of screaming people who call you all sorts of names and who carry signs calling people racists.

It should be remembered that the court had already rebuked the OPP for threatening property owners that they would be arrested instead of those who were trespassing. The court stated, "The police have no right to prevent the plaintiffs [lawful users of private property] from acting within their rights under s.41 of the Criminal Code. Their warning to the plaintiffs that they would arrest anyone who is involved in a physical confrontation, regardless of the circumstances, is an abuse of the power conferred on them by s.31 of the Criminal Code."

Section 41 gives "everyone" the right to "use force to prevent any person from trespassing" or "to remove a trespasser" if he uses "no more force than is necessary." It also states, "a trespasser who resists an attempt by a person to prevent his entry or to remove him, shall be deemed to commit an assault without justification or provocation."

In effect what the court told the OPP in 2008 was that property owners are empowered by Parliament to remove trespassers and that the OPP have no authority to charge the legal users of property for attempting to remove trespassers.

In short, the court has already ruled it is an abuse of power on the part of the OPP for arresting people, like me, who are the legal users of property instead of the persons who were trespassing.

Why then does the OPP openly and so clearly violate the law?

Well there are three reasons. First, it appeases native protesters - it shows them the government is prepared to stop non-Natives from speaking out. Second, it allows those in the public who don't like me to go around and say I am a violent person because I was charged with assault. Third, it empowers the OPP to create travel restrictions on me which will take up to a year to have removed.

If the Crown Attorney in Cayuga was doing their job properly this case would never use up any court time. The Crown cannot get a conviction and is therefore duty bound by the Crown Attorneys Act to drop the charge.

The problem in Haldimand is the Crown is part of the problem. They have become so accustomed to being used by the OPP to silence people that they are no longer independent. In this case the Crown consented to the charge prior to the OPP laying it.

At this stage the Crown is hoping I plead guilty. If I do, the Crown has offered a conditional discharge with only one condition - no contact with Keefer for a year. Meanwhile, if I refuse to plead guilty I have travel restrictions to obey.

This is the third time the OPP have arrested me and it will be the third time they will fail to get a conviction. If it wasn't so serious it would be laughable.

Continued next week.