Sunday, February 03, 2008


Police corruption ruling could spark change in Ontario legal system


Amid mounting calls for inquiry, [Ontario] Premier asks attorney general to study case and report

Robert Benzie
Queen's Park Bureau Chief
Toronto Star - Feb 03 2008

KITCHENER–Crown bungling of the Toronto police corruption case that led to charges being thrown out against six drug officers may spark sweeping judicial changes, says Premier Dalton McGuinty.

With the recently re-elected Liberal government plunged into the first major crisis of its second term, McGuinty yesterday echoed concerns expressed on radio call-in shows, editorial pages, and by his political foes.

"This could very well serve as a catalyst for us to look at the broader system," the premier said yesterday, still reeling from the derailing of the biggest police corruption scandal in Canadian history.

"Let me just say there's as much interest inside government about what went on here as there is outside government," he told reporters at a weekend post-election party conference where Liberals had hoped to celebrate the Oct. 10 victory.

But Justice Ian Nordheimer's 54-page ruling Thursday that stayed the charges against the drug squad officers due to the Crown's ineptitude has cast a pall over the Liberals' festivities.

Nordheimer blasted government lawyers for the "glacial progress of this prosecution."

His decision effectively ended the decade-long probe of Staff Sgt. John Schertzer and Constables Richard Benoit, Steve Correia, Ned Maodus, Joseph Miched and Raymond Pollard, enabling them to walk free.

It also flushed away a probe that cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

McGuinty promised that Attorney General Chris Bentley, who left the conference early, would have some answers for the public soon.

"It is troubling. It is of real significance to our government on behalf of Ontarians. Our job is to give expression to the concerns of Ontarians and to respond to those in the best way possible ... "I've asked the attorney general ... to take all the time that is necessary, but no more than the time that is necessary for us to be thoughtful. We didn't set a specific timetable."

Sources told the Star the government knew as early as last summer that the charges could be tossed due to unconstitutional delays.

Officials, however, privately insist that it was legal wrangling by the officers' lawyers that hindered the process as much as anything.

Also, while Nordheimer is a well-regarded jurist, there are hopes within the government that, as an expert in civil law, his ruling on a criminal matter might be lacking.

With mounting calls for a public inquiry, McGuinty urged Ontarians to allow Bentley time to study the ruling. The attorney general has 30 days to seek leave to appeal.

Toronto defence lawyer Edward Sapiano, who helped spark the police corruption probe nearly a decade ago after several of his clients complained of mistreatment by the drug squad, said Friday there "absolutely needs to be a public inquiry" into why such an important case was allowed to collapse.

Also on Friday, Bentley said any bid for an appeal would have to be based on the points of law cited in Nordheimer's decision.

"There [are] a number of different statutory rights to appeal. We'll speak to those if and when they decide that there is an appropriate ground of appeal," he said, insisting the political embarrassment of the debacle would play no part in the government's legal strategy. "Let's be clear, you launch an appeal if there are grounds to appeal. They're grounds based on law, they're not grounds based on politics," he said.

Progressive Conservative MPP Elizabeth Witmer (Kitchener-Waterloo) said yesterday at the Liberal conference that Ontarians are demanding answers from the Grits – and soon.

"It's obviously a very serious situation and I think the public senses that, too," said Witmer.

"I would hope that Mr. McGuinty very soon would be in a position to reassure the public as to what action is going to be taken," she said.

NDP MPP Peter Kormos (Welland) has said the "justice system is in chaos and the McGuinty Liberals are ignoring the problem."

Toronto Star is available, free of charge, for online readers. By contrast, I pay $30. a month for online access to Vancouver Sun, The Province, and Victoria Times Colonist, a dubious privilege in view of the news provided. I doubt we'll ever see a comparable lead-in sentence like this one (above) in a British Columbia daily newspaper. Toronto Star is one of the oldest in Canada and one of the best. - BC Mary.



Thanks for the additional information but I can't for the life of me understand why you would ask that it be kept secret.

I've asked Vaughn Palmer to verify that the comments are actually his ... I've asked twice ... no reply.

I've tried, but I can't find these comments anywhere, not even at CKNW's web-site.

Is it a fake? a spoof? A practical joke? I'm beginning to think so.

In fairness, I wish you would now provide this web-site, which accepted your comments as verifiable, with as much of the background as you know.

[quote]McGuinty promised that Attorney General Chris Bentley, who left the conference early, would have some answers for the public soon. [/quote]

AG Chris Bentley and Premier Dalton McGuinty are pretty busy these days
prosecuting innocent dogs and their owners in Ontario,so if there is a bit of a delay,that might account for it.

After all when you`re dealing with an alleged Terrier-ist,you can`t be too careful.

Thank you Dalton,Chris and former AG Michael Bryant for keeping your priorities straight.

I know I sleep better at night because of you three.
Hi Mac & Gang,

Hahaha ... I think.

What conference? What dogs & cats?


Problem solved.

Vaughn Palmer confirms that those were the words he spoke on CKNW last Friday in a discussion with Philip Till.

See the main posting.

Thanks again for sending the news over to The Legislature Raids. You even included the sources ... only the NDP and CKNW weren't as fast on their feet as you are.

Greetings to Mac, the Gang, and Ontario:

Thanks for writing ... but I had to reject your comment as this web-site is focused entirely on BCRail and the 3 former BC government employees who are facing trial.

It's a very big issue for the people of British Columbia ... we owned BCRail -- Canada's 3rd largest railway -- and the current premier was elected on a promise that he would never sell it. Well, he did sell it. The deal which transferred a public asset into private pockets is still secret, and we need to have this trial go ahead so we get some answers about why that happened.

The BC Rail trial has some similarities to the Ontario trial of the 6 Toronto policemen. That's why we were interested in what Christie Blatchford had to say about it. And the legal review pending.

Sorry I had to delete your comments about dogs and cats and stuff but I hope this explains why.


Again, police overcomplicate investigations of their own. It sets up a procedural minefield by tabling info that is subject to Voir Dire (evidence hearing) challenges. That was done endlessly in R v Schecter. et al (Toronto corruption case). In BC, elites who fall under criminal charges usually employ super Defence attornies - David Crossin, QC and David Butcher - who are masters at use of procedure to exhonerate clients.

Solution: simplify prosecutions by focusing only on that which can be proved easily and promptly. Still insane deference to police investigators over-complicates cases, and some are drawn out over years. Frankly, Robert Picton would have been convicted on ALL charges if lead-weighted evidence had been avoided. The case as presented, revealed police incompetence and negligence, and the jury reacted to it. Now Oppal - cop friendly - is appealing a jury verdict. Jurors vote, Wally. And it was your findings (Oppal Report, internal cop investigations) that sanctioned cop investigates cop farces.
This is bizarre; one of the Toronto 6 has been arrested and charged with solicitation of a prostitute. Some of the 6 have spent 7 years on paid leave.
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