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More Tough Crimes Excerpts


Foreword by Honourable Patrick LeSage

“I have seen the effect of crime on many parts of the community; first and foremost the victims of crime and their families, but also police officers, medics, witnesses, court staff, the lawyers, the jurors and the judges and yes, even the families of the perpetrators. I have spoken to judges who previously unbeknownst to me had suffered deeply from the effects of a case or cases, be it the trauma flowing from the details of the crime, to the impact of having to view child pornography, to living in a smaller community where lawyers, judges and police find themselves always in the public eye, even outside the courtroom.”

PART I: Politics and Transborder

Donald Bayne. “Mike Duffy: Trial By Media in a Post-Truth World.”

“Moments before he went on television, Senator Duffy pleaded with PMO insider and confidante to the Prime Minister, Ray Novak, saying, ‘Ray, I did nothing wrong. If I take a dive for my leader when I am innocent, then I am totally at the mercy of the opposition.’ This plea fell on deaf PMO ears and insiders emailed one another with notes like, ‘I appreciate the work this team did on this. One down, two to go (and one out)’; ‘Yay this is fun’; and ‘Sweet’.”

Brian H. Greenspan. “The Eagle Has Landed: The Eagleson Transborder Resolution”

“The public fervour against Alan Eagleson led by Russ Conway and his cadre of supporters, most vociferously Carl Brewer and Bobby Orr, had always been offset by a subdued and more private list of Eagleson loyalists and admirers including Bob Gainey, Bobby Clarke, Marcel Dionne, as well as a distinguished group of former politicians and judges. I had always felt confident that my list of All-Stars would eventually outperform and outlast their All-Stars. Following the announcement of the Canadian charges, Paul Kelly was inundated with demands for speedy justice. At the same time I was bombarded with protestations of Alan’s innocence and demands for his ultimate vindication.”

 David Bright QC. “Justice Delayed: A Story of Complacency”

“When MacIntosh was taken before the presiding Justice in India, he indicated that he was not contesting his return to Canada, but needed time to wind up his affairs. He had been living in India for many years and had a household of furnishings that required disposal, as well a duty to his employer to turn over the office to a successor. Indeed he was given time, but he was accompanied everywhere by armed Indian police. During the nights and non-business times, he was housed in the infamous Tihar Jail, which is a vast penal colony in Delhi. It is equipped to handle some 5,200 prisoners, however, at the time of MacIntosh’s incarceration, some 10,500 were housed there. Conditions were abhorrent. MacIntosh slept and sat on a wet, concrete floor, with a variety of other prisoners incarcerated for serious crimes. He had to purchase his own food. The so-called dormitory area was visited by rodents and vermin, and snakes were a common sight.”

PART II: Covert Investigations

Mona Duckett QC. “Two Troubled Youths and a Mr. Big Sting”

“Just after 5:00 pm on May 31, 2009, two fourteen-year old boys ran away from Bosco Homes Ranch, a youth facility in a rural area outside of Sherwood Park, near Edmonton, Alberta. By 2:30 the next morning they were in police custody for driving erratically in a truck they had admittedly stolen. Police had trouble finding the registered owner of the truck, but at 5:40 a.m. the man’s body was found on his rural acreage, twelve kilometers from Bosco Homes Ranch. The truck’s owner and his female tenant had been brutally murdered. RCMP members met to brief the double homicide at 8:00 a.m. on June 1st, and by 8:30 a.m. they decided to arrest both boys for the killings.”

Brock Martland. “The Surrey Six”

“Person Y was himself a repeat killer. He had killed by shooting, by strangling, and by stabbing. He had shot and killed his own best friend, a man whose name he had tattooed on his body. Justice Wedge referred to him as a “career gangster.” He referred to himself as “despicable” and “a monster.” Person Y had volunteered to kill Corey Lal, the target in the plot that led to the six killings, but on the condition he do it alone, such as by luring him into a parking lot. One of the handguns used for the killings had been in Person Y’s possession just before the killings. He had stuffed it in his pants and had worn it at the gym. Perhaps because of this sweaty (and unsafe) storage mechanism, the gun was found to have his DNA on.”

PART III: Inquests

Breese Davies. “The Case of Ashley Smith: Incarcerating the Mentally Ill”

“On the morning of October 19, 2007 Ashley Smith died alone, clothed only in a smock, in a segregation cell at the Grand Valley Institute for Women. Ashley had a piece of cloth tied around her neck. She had ‘tied up’ dozens and dozens of times before – too many times to count. She would cut or tear a piece of cloth from anything available to her. She was incredibly skilled at acquiring and hiding pieces of glass, or metal, or floor tiles that she would use to cut her blanket, her mattress, even her so-called ‘tear proof’ gown into strips of fabric that she would then tie around her neck. Often she tied these ligatures so tight that she’d pass out, at which time, correctional officers would go into her cell and cut them off. But on October 19, 2007, correctional officers did not intervene.”

Jonathan Rudin. “The Death of Reggie Bushie and the Eight-Year Inquest”

“Almost all of the witnesses who testified about their experience attending high school at DFC (Thunder Bay) spoke about the racism—racism that sometimes took the form of name calling, but often including food and drinks being thrown at them on the street. For the students who came to the city from First Nation communities where this sort of racism was foreign, they had to live with the knowledge that these assaults could occur at any time. None of them ever went to the police, most didn’t even report it to school staff, it was—and is—the price First Nations students pay for high school education.”

PART IV: Love and Despair

Hon. Faith Finnestad: “Love is Not Love”

“’He would never do anything to intentionally hurt me’ Dawn said. She described his love letters, sent from the jail over the years and which she had saved in an album, as having kept her going. She noted, ‘no one has ever said things like that to me.’ She spoke eagerly and optimistically of his pending first parole eligibility date saying that all she wanted was to live with him in peace and quiet, and to be the family they were meant to be. She concluded, ‘Your heart wants what it wants, when you really love someone.’ All of this came after a brutal attack on her, the murder of the father of three of her children, and eight years of love letters and two-hour visits with the man responsible for it all.”

Brian Beresh QC. A Penalty of Death for Dina Dranchuk

“‘…you shall be hanged by the neck until you are dead; and may god have mercy on your soul.’ So went the condemnation of a thirty-four-year-old woman who heard the words but could not appreciate their significance because they were spoken in English. They followed a verdict by six white Anglo-Saxon men sitting in judgment of a Ukrainian housewife who had been convicted of using an axe to end her abusive relationship. It was 1934 in Edmonton, Alberta and the verdict concluded a five-hour trial. Court records would reveal that her trial commenced thirty-six days after her husband died. Swift justice did not, in these circumstances, serve the accused well. The prosecution’s case was completed in under three-and-a-half hours with the calling of thirteen witnesses in its own case and one rebuttal witness. The defence case was completed in nineteen minutes which included an opening address and the evidence of a defence medical expert.”

PART V: Questionable Experts

Alan D. Gold. “The Murder of a Criminal Lawyer”

Fred and Lynn Gilbank were found murdered in their home in Ancaster, Ontario, a small town near Hamilton, on November 16, 1998. Lynn Gilbank—dead from three gunshot blasts. Fred Gilbank—face down on the second-floor landing with two shots to the back. Fred Gilbank was employed by IBM. Lynn Gilbank was a very well-liked and popular criminal lawyer. A theory of a contract killing originated with the police and the local rumour mill. Lynn Gilbank was viewed as the primary target; Fred Gilbank, just an innocent bystander. Unsurprisingly, the murder especially shocked the criminal bar, born of a concern that her profession was somehow related to her killing. According to media reports, the murders of Fred and Lynn Gilbank triggered the most expensive and exhaustive homicide investigation in Hamilton history. After more than six years and multi-millions of dollars spent on the investigation, in early 2005, police charged two well-known criminals with the murders.”

James Lockyer. “The Wrongful Conviction of Steven Truscott”

“Mr. Truscott was convicted largely on the basis of Lynne Harper’s stomach contents which the pathologist, Dr. Penistan, said proved she died within two hours of her last meal. As the Crown put it in his jury closing: ‘This narrows the case down on Steven Truscott like a vice.’ In 1999-2000, I went to the Ontario Archives and examined the boxes produced. As I sat in their quiet room (no talking and no pens allowed), I came across Dr. Penistan’s ‘agonizing re-appraisal’ of this two-hour window. He had written ‘up to 24 hours’ … a Eureka moment for me.”

PART VI: Self Defence

Hon. Jim Ogle. “A Line in the Sand: Arms and the Man”

“The panic button was not the only thing Kesler kept under his drugstore counter to deal with would-be robbers. As Tim Smith moved back toward the store exit with the stolen money clutched in his hand, Kesler pulled out a 12-gauge shotgun. He pointed it at Smith and in his thick accent said, ‘Now you listen me!’ Smith didn’t listen. Instead he bolted out the door, took a hard left and ran south down the sidewalk along the west side of the pharmacy building. Kesler rushed out the door after him. As Smith continued to flee down the sidewalk, Steven Kesler lifted the shotgun to his shoulder and fired. Of the two-hundred-eight pellets normally contained in the No. 5 shotgun cartridge that Kesler had earlier loaded into the shotgun, approximately a hundred of them struck Tim Smith in the back. Several of those entered his heart. He fell to the sidewalk, mortally wounded and still clutching the $115 he had taken from Kesler’s pharmacy moments earlier.”

Clayton Rice QC. “The Case of Kristen Budic: Too Crazy to be Insane”

“At the core of the delusion was Budic’s belief that he had signed an insurance policy on a previous visit to Dr. Bozo Bulaijic and that Dr. Bulaijic was preventing him from getting treatment. According to Budic’s thinking, Dr. Bulaijic carried out the worldwide conspiracy against him by telex machine. Dr. Geoffrey Hopkinson, a psychiatrist at the Alberta Hospital, would testify years later: ‘I suspect that [Budic] took the law into his own hands to perhaps save his own life.’ The psychiatric diagnosis was the easy part. Getting Budic to trial was something else.”

PART VII: A Tough, Fascinating Vocation

Hon. Raymond Wyant. “The Scars That Never Heal”

“We are all products of our experiences; they shape us as human beings. This case was no different. It has contributed to my vicarious trauma but also, in some fashion I believe, it has made me more sensitive, more human, more compassionate, empathetic, and sympathetic. It has contributed to my knowledge of human behaviour and the human condition and the effect of crime on victims and maybe, just maybe, it has made me a bit better at what I do. If there is anything positive I can take from this, I do hope it lies there.”

Hon. Joseph Di Luca. “The Inmate Appear Duty Counsel Program”

“On another occasion, I watched an Appellant, a self-appointed minister of a church based on the sacred use of marijuana, remove his shirt in court and wrap it around his head. When asked whether the impromptu head-dress was for religious purposes, he replied ‘No, but you guys are all dressed up so I want to be as well.’ The Court let him continue with his submissions and head-dress. He did not get his marijuana back.”

William Trudell. “A Nice Job”

“One potential juror seemed to wince when his name was called. I rose to question him and asked, ‘Sir’, I said, ‘I apologize if I am mistaken, but I noticed that when your name was called after the Judge told you about the nature and expected length of this trial, you seemed uncomfortable. Am I right, is there a problem?’ ‘Yes actually’, he replied, ‘I am not sure I can put up with you people for that long.’ We chose him. You don’t get more honest than that.”