whitby -- his honour gave the cops and Crown a good going over before he released OCAP leader John Clarke on Monday afternoon.Superior Court Justice Patrick Sheppard ridiculed the Crown's evidence and courtroom tactics before releasing Clarke on $40,000 bail. The judge repeatedly cautioned Crown counsel Jinwon Kim against politicizing the hearing or going on a fishing expedition against Clarke, who had been in custody since June 15 on minor charges stemming from the June 12 "mock eviction" at Tory MPP Jim Flaherty's constituency office in Whitby.
"There is no room in this court for political statements," the judge cautioned the Crown attorney.
Sheppard was even more critical of the Crown's tactics at Clarke's initial June 29 bail hearing in Oshawa. The judge noted that the Crown counsel, Cindy Johnston, had failed to properly introduce a surprise videotaped statement by businessperson Karen Wild as evidence (who claimed, unlike anyone else, to have seen Clarke in Flaherty's office "silently directing the action"), and that therefore it was not evidence, let alone "credible evidence."
Sheppard also rebuked Johnston for making several statements of fact in a row when cross-examining detective Mark Price, saying that she was trying to supply the Durham police officer with answers to the charge that he had arrested Clarke unlawfully.
Apparently amused by the comic situation of the defence calling Crown witness Price to testify, and the Crown cross-examining its own witness, Sheppard remarked that the Crown "had serious problems with your case."
Finding fault even with the Crown's last remaining piece of evidence -- a photo of Clarke standing with his hands in his pockets near the scene of the protest -- Sheppard said the photo indicated little. Clarke's previous bail conditions did not prohibit him from attending protests, but merely required him to leave protests if they became unlawful, which he apparently did, the judge implied, since he was no longer standing there when police arrived. "If (Clarke) was standing across the street, would that be participating (in the demonstration)?" the judge asked at one point.
Sheppard added that an Oshawa justice of the peace had also misunderstood the provisions of the Criminal Code in refusing to accept a surety from professor David Hulchanksi at the original bail hearing. "I don't know what was on his (the JP's) mind.... Bail has been granted on far more serious charges."
The July 9 hearing, which was repeatedly interrupted by audience laughter, ended with applause when Sheppard refused to prohibit Clarke from organizing further protests. Clarke is, however, prevented from attending protests until his trial.Another weird day in court
danny antonioni was not in Whitby on June 12 when OCAP members staged their "mock eviction" at Tory MPP Jim Flaherty's office. Indeed, his actual whereabouts on June 12 are well known to the Crown and police.That's because Antonioni, a homeless OCAP member, was sitting in a Toronto jail June 12 after being arrested June 11 for allegedly spitting on a security guard who tried to rouse him from the park bench where he was sleeping.
None of this, however, prevented Crown counsel Vincent Paris from citing the Whitby protest at Antonioni's June 15 bail hearing. Indeed, Paris gave it as a reason why Antonioni should obey a curfew, not associate with other OCAP members, report to Intelligence officer Steve Irwin and carry his bail papers with him at all times.
"The Crown's position both here and in Durham (where bail hearings for participants in the "eviction" were held) is that there's been a material change in the direction of OCAP and that it's becoming progressively more violent," said Paris. "He either agrees to this or he stays in jail."
The transcript of the hearing indicates Paris's awareness of Antonioni's "mental health issues." It also reveals the Crown's ingenious solution to Antonioni's homelessness, which Antonioni had suggested would make it difficult to obey a curfew order.
Paris: You stay in your apartment.
Antonioni: I don't have an apartment right now. I'm looking for one.
Paris: When you get out, you'll stay there.
Antonioni: Yeah.Hargrove under pressure
caw president buzz hargrove has been on the receiving end of a phone and letter-writing campaign over his decision to de-fund OCAP.Diane Albrecht, a CAW 1325 member, says she and other CAW members have written Hargrove urging him to maintain the funding. Cathy Crowe of the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee and David McNally of the York U faculty association have also contacted Hargrove, requesting a meeting on the topic. And Judy Rebick says she has asked Hargrove to change his mind.
Even John Clarke was penning an open letter to Hargrove from Whitby jail. (The CAW national board currently gives OCAP about $10,000 a year.)
Many activists thought Hargrove's appearance at a July 6 press conference in defence of Clarke might be a sign that he had reconsidered cutting funding to OCAP. Hargrove demanded the OCAP organizer's release and railed against the "erosion of civil rights" in Ontario.
Indeed, upon his release from jail this week, Clarke said he'd decided not to send his letter to Hargrove because there was no longer any need to.
However, when contacted at Port Elgin, where he is currently meeting with other members of CAW's national executive board, Hargrove says there is no change in his decision to recommend OCAP's funding be cut off.
The de-funding could come as soon as this week, says Hargrove, though the decision may be postponed.
Hargrove adds that the pressure to cut off OCAP has greatly exceeded the lobbying to keep the group's funding intact.