Sunday, December 16, 2018
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A deal done

Today StandFirm webmistress Jann Vahey signed off on a negotiated deal to end the civil action taken against her by Calgary police chief Jack Beaton. Essentially, she signed a letter apologizing the the members of the Calgary Police Service if anything said on the original Stand Firm website offended anyone.Later this afternoon, media lawyers successfully argued the case for unsealing the Anton Piller order and related documents. The "gag" order on Vahey has also been lifted and she is now able to speak to the media. I have also learned that she will be seeking further investigation into the allegations of racism, cronyism and other matters she had been airing on the internet. Vahey is also seeking an audience with Alberta Solicitor General Harvey Cenaiko with a view, she says, to generating interest in a public inquiry.Vahey says she was pressured into signing the deal because there was a fixed time line to have the deal done of noon today, two hours before the hearing began to unseal the file. She may call it pressured, but to me it sounds a little more like blackmail. Any "do this or else" has that connotation.And in the end it was the "or else" that forced Vahey's to acquiesce. She could have fought the chief and his ham-fisted ways but the legal bill to do so would have forced her into the poor house. No such bother for Beaton though, not with the good citizens of Calgary funding his vendetta. Not opened...

Botched investigation leaves everyone wanting

The RCMP are a proud organization. Sometimes too proud. I say this as a former member who has never shied from praising the Force when they have done well. And I have certainly taken my fair share of criticism when I have identified times when I have been not so proud of what they have done.Certainly, the Force has taken a beating in the wake of the O’Connor report into their handling of the Arar affair, with the baying media hounds screaming for the scalp of Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli. Now, I suppose I should add that I don’t subscribe to the nit-picking done by Mr. Justice O’Connor. I also don’t subscribe to the “poor innocent me” nonsense spewed out by Arar. Whatever the RCMP can be criticized for in their handling of that file, there is no doubt that they had every right to be suspicious of Arar and he is not the innocent victim that he portrays himself to be. Having said that, the Mounties booted the internal investigation relative to the constable who was accused of having sex with underage prostitutes in Prince George, Justin Harris.Harris was never charged criminally with anything largely because there was never any evidence to substantiate a charge. But cops have to meet a higher standard and internal discipline charges were brought against him essentially for that wonderful catch-all, conduct unbecoming a member. Without regurgitating the salient aspects of the allegations, levied by what can only...

The public deserves the truth about crime

In a story in the Vancouver Sun (Crime stories frighten public – Monday, July 31st, 2006) the RCMP Communications section has authored a memo suggesting the police should be releasing less info to the media because too many crime stories on the front pages frighten the public. Given that the Lower Mainland leads the continent in property crimes and organized crime marches on virtually unimpeded, perhaps the public should be a little afraid.The other amusing part is the suggestion that the RCMP is being too free with information. As a former member of the Force, where even member to member information sharing is frowned upon, the concept that the RCMP gives out too much information toppled my gyros.But I digress. For years the police have always distrusted the media and for the most part, vice versa. That is not to say those considered positions of mistrust were misplaced. One only has to look at the actions of CTV during the Graham McMynn kidnapping to understand why the police mistrust the media. But, having said that, it seems to me that those types of situations could be avoided if the police worked harder to foster better relations with the media. The suggestion by this report obtained by The Vancouver Sun flies in the face of that aim.At the end of the day, the police represent the public and do what they do in our name. How is it therefore responsible to keep us in...

Plus ca change…

News items ran this week trumpeting that Canada was the methamphetimine production capital of the world and honorable mention was given to our position as the Ecstasy capital as well.  Many media outlets clucked their Holier-Than-Thou tongues about this as though it was something new.  Well, it isn't and not by a long shot. Warnings have been going out for at least 15 years that the media has written about or been otherwise informed about.  Yet, higher purpose papers like the Globe & Mail seem to have just discovered this nugget of information as evidenced by their main editorial on Friday. There is nothing  new or magical about this.  In the past 15-20 years Canada has become a major drug producing country on a parallel with Columbia.  We just don't have the sweaty jungles. But we certainly do have the violence that goes with that territory.  And we have seen the intimidation attempts on law enforcement and participants in the justice system.    How did we get here?   Well now, there's a question.  And the short answer is the lurch to the political left this country has taken in the past forty years.   In the '70s the rule of law was that evidence, no matter how gained, was admissible.  Now, a bloody murder weapon found in the hands of an accused can be excluded as evidence for a myriad of procedural issues that have nothing to do with justice and everything...

Is the Chief Justice afraid of change?

It was interesting to see the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada trying to cling on the last vestige of Liberal domination on the Canadian political scene by chiding Prime Minister Designate Stephen Harper not to "politicize" the appointing of a new Justice to the top court.It is hard to imagine the process being any more political given the appointment is at the sole discretion of the Prime Minister. And, as evidenced by more than a decade of very liberal Liberal appointees, the PM will appoint someone who has a similar vision to that of the person doing the appointing.Madame Justice Beverly McLachlin seems to think that the status quo is just ducky and is evidently afraid that Harper will appoint someone who doesn't share their soft on crime view of the country.Let's be realistic, the decisions of the SCOC are the reason crime is running rampant across this country. A couple of cases readily come to mind like R v Feeney and R v Stintchcombe. These are glaring examples where the SCOC came to conclusions that have not only defied the logic of the average person, but dramatically hampered the prosecution of criminals and altered forever the ability of the police to do their job.In her "advice" to Harper, Madam Justice McLachlin said, "And I think in order to preserve the public confidence in the impartiality of the courts, we should avoid politicizing it," McLachlin said.Well that's certianly interesting. Does the...

More questions in case of cop charged with murder

The more the extraordinary 2nd degree murder charge laid against Delta Police Constable Jordan MacWilliams in the 2012 death of 48-yr.-old Mehrdad Bayrami is looked into, the more it appears to be the railroading of a good, young police officer. Murder is an extraordinary charge to be laid against a police officer engaged in executing his or her duty. It is even more extraordinary when laid against an officer working as an ERT (Emergency Response Team) officer. There are so many aspects of this story that haven’t been told and I’m sorry to say so many apparent gaps in the investigation conducted by the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) that one must question whether ulterior motives or politics played a part in laying a charge of murder in this case. MacWilliams was a member of the Municipal Integrated Emergency Response Team (MIERT) on November 8th, 2012 when, at the start of his shift, his phone went off alerting him to a call-out after shots were fired and a woman was taken hostage. MacWilliams was the first MIERT officer to arrive on scene at the Starlight Casino in New Westminster. Within the first half-hour, the ERT members arriving set up their containment process which limited the armed suspect to a small patch of pavement on the sidewalk just outside the casino parking lot. MacWilliams then noticed the hostage had created some separation between herself and the armed suspect. Throwing caution to the wind, MacWilliams and two other officers broke cover and ran towards danger. They deliberately put...
Cops in Cuban paradise in living hell

Cops in Cuba get community support

There’s been a lot of reaction to my last post about the two Vancouver area cops who went to Cuba for a holiday last March and are still there because the Cuban government won’t let them leave. VPD Constable Mark Simms, then 28, and his close friend, Port Moody PD Constable Jordan Long, then 30, were enjoying a planned holiday of sun and relaxation when they had a fateful encounter with a girl. (Prime Time Crime exclusive)

Jailhouse violence no factor in justice

The lawyer for Michael "Pyro" Williams had the audacity to suggest to a court that his client, convicted in the brutal sex torture of 13 year old Nina Louise Courtepatte, would be at risk in the federal corrections system and the court should send him to a medium security facility.Fortunately, the court would have none of it and Williams will go to the maximum security Edmonton Institution. Which, I might add, is a place society rightly reserves for its worst.Courtepatte's murder has been well documented and the details still horrify. But to argue that because the act was so horrible that society should be less harsh lest something bad befall the individual responsible for the horror is nuts. From a personal perspective, whatever may be the fate for Williams and the others involved in the senseless slaying, I couldn't care less as long as they are never in the position to hurt someone again.Nina Courtepatte was tortured in a manner that was inhuman. She was raped, beaten, stabbed and worse, she knew she was dying and the killers knew it too. She likely pleaded with them to get it over with and kill her. And even then, the torturous, slow killing continued.I cannot even begin to describe the revulsion I feel for the animals who could participate in anything so horrible. I cannot even begin to understand why anyone in a just society should give a damn about anything that might happen to them in prison.Sentencing these animals to...

Talkin’ Shop

Interesting to see that the Chiefs are meeting in Calgary at their annual knees-up and bun toss hosted this year by Jack Beaton. Even more interesting is the CBC story headlined on Prime Time Crime saying a significant topic of discussion will be how to stay out of trouble. ( Police chiefs meet to talk controversy)Considering the morass Calgary Chief Beaton has immersed himself in this last year or so, one hopes he attends all the seminars and pays special attention to the speakers. But, in the event he dosen't, allow me to provide some free advice.If a bunch of serving members file lawsuits against another, senior police officer alleging fraud and other criminal offences, take it seriously, investigate the matter thoroughly and in the interest of protecting the police department's public image, place the officer under the cloud of suspicion on suspension until the matter has been dealt with and the officer has either cleared his or her name or the matter has been proven.This simple piece of advice also extends to other allegations like racism practiced by senior officers to subordinate staff. Or, for example, if another senior officer points a gun at a subordinate officer, don't try and sweep the incident under a rug. I know this sounds basic, but Beaton's history in the top chair seems to have missed some of these more rudimentary points.Oh yeah, there's another simple way of keeping out of harm's way for a senior police manager - tell the truth....

Irony apparently lost on lawyer

Regular Hells Angel lawyer Greg DelBigio is really stretching the bounds of credulity with his latest argument in defense of Ronaldo Lising. Lising's latest arrest came in the Mountie's Project EPandora. DelBigio has been doing his level best to get the charges against his client tossed. And fair enough, that's his job. But, the irony of his latest tack seems lost on him.Lising, incidently, is currently serving time for his conspiracy conviction arising out of VPD's Project Nova back in the mid - 90's. He was sentenced back in 2001 for his role in that case and fought his conviction and sentencing at every step until he finally ran out of legal options and had to go to jail.It was while he was out on bail going thorough his legal gymnastics that he got caught up in EPandora. And now we hear DelBigio trying to get the charges tossed because he claims an agent used by the RCMP put the public in danger. The agent, Michael Plante, infiltrated the Hells Angels and in doing so had to commit crimes.In closing arguments, DelBigio said, "The police were under a duty to ensure that the community was not endangered through Michael Plante's actions and yet the community was in danger."Come on Greg. Are you serious? The agent has to commit crimes to get cosy with your client and his pals. What, pray tell, does that suggest about your clients?The phrase "in defense of the indefensible" comes to mind.Leo Knightprimetimecrime@gmail.com

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