………AND GO!

Picking up from the June 10th posting, “……..READY…….SET……”, a Demand Letter was sent to Correctional Service Canada’s Quebec Regional Reception Centre on June 10th.

Attorney Sarah Afshari of Kalman Samuels & Associates in Montreal immediately began working on the Application to Institute Proceedings, assuming CSC would fail to comply with the terms of the Demand Letter within the thirty days allowed.

At his attorneys’ recommendation, Brennan Guigue refused to accept CSC’s offer for the entire video of the 2014 assault, plus some redacted portions of the written documents sent to Attorney Stephen Fineberg. By accepting that offer, Brennan could not make further requests for data. In declining, the entire video plus some redacted portions will still be released, with some delays, but Brennan’s rights to demand more information if and when necessary are protected.

The final draft of the Application to Institute Proceedings was received in Toronto and approved on July 11. At the same time, Kalman Samuels & Associates was contacted by a lawyer with the federal Ministry of the Attorney General to advise a response to the Demand letter would not be forthcoming. This also served to introduce the firm to the attorney who would be the government’s lead representative in this lawsuit.

A July 20th registered letter to Brennan over Sarah Afsharis’s signature began, “You will find attached a copy of the Application to Institute Proceedings which was issued at court today. We will inform you once we receive a response from the opposing attorney.”

In the Superior Court of the Province of Quebec, District of Montreal, BRENNAN W. GUIGUE has begun an action against the ATTORNEY GENERAL OF CANADA, representing Correctional Service Canada – and – the REGIONAL RECEPTION CENTER, SPECIAL HANDLING UNIT in Ste-Anne-des-Plaines – and – ERIC CHARBONNEAU, correctional officer employed by Correctional Service Canada.

Since then, Correctional Service Canada, through the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, has issued a list of what information it is voluntarily prepared to release. As well, lawyers on both sides are now preparing their case protocols (agendas) going forward, and once agreed, will be presented to the Court. Brennan Guigue’s position is that the entire unedited video is the single most important and damning evidence, and is looking forward to its public exposure.

As always, we are standing by as the process unfolds.


Again and again….and again…..

……..policing vs the rules

“A man left in pain and naked in a Brantford police holding cell for hours has filed a $2.5-million lawsuit against the Brantford Police Service Board, the chief of police and six police officers.”  Alyshah Hasham, Toronto Star, Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Philip Alafe, a 27 year-old Nigerian refugee claimant, in Canada since 2010, and living in Etobicoke, was arrested on an outstanding warrant late in the afternoon of July 3 in 2015 for driving offenses in Brantford. He was transported by the OPP to Brantford where he told the booking officer at the police station he had mental health issues – depression and anxiety – and suffered from sickle cell anemia. Without medication sickle cell anemia causes extreme pain. There was no indication he was suicidal, and the booking officer noted he was sober and passive.

Ontario Court Justice Kenneth Lenz stayed Mr. Alafe’s criminal charges in April of this year after ruling Brantford police, and Staff Sgt. Cheney Venn in particular, subjected Alafe to “cruel and unusual treatment”, and violated his rights under sections 7 and 12 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Judge Lenz described the treatment as “egregious” and “clearly degrading to human dignity” after viewing the video exhibits, and found that Staff Sgt. Venn repeatedly violated police policies on the handling of people in custody and people with mental health concerns. “They were just treating me worse than an animal,” is how Philip Alafe put it.

Simply put, Mr. Alafe spent the evening and much of the night at first being ignored when his medical needs where not met, doing what he could to protest and, as the judge put it, “was a pain in the neck” as his discomfort increased. But, the police officers on duty not only didn’t respond according to policy, they…..Staff Sgt. Venn notedly….became aggressive, belligerent, and bullying, eventually leaving Mr. Alafe naked in a cold cell. This only exacerbated his pain. It wasn’t until a shift change the next morning that matters were put right.

Interestingly, nowhere in the material does the issue of race arise. The statement of claim filed with the Superior Court in Toronto alleges the defendants “maliciously, intentionally, unlawfully and/or without justification subjected the plaintiff to an escalating course of punishment, deprivation of basic needs, physical assault, infliction of mental anguish and other infliction of harm.”

August 1, 2017

Geoffrey Nelson, Chief,
Brantford Police Department,
344 Elgin Street,
Brantford, ON N3S 7P6

Re: “They were just treating me worse than an animal”

Chief Nelson:

In the very early 60s, then a naïve country boy new to Toronto, I met with a local police commander, looking to improve relations between police and members of the community in which I lived.

That meeting did not go well. It seemed positive community relations were subordinate to intrusive control of civilians, even if it meant skirting rules, policy and the law.

Assuming Alyshah Hasham’s report in the July 22 Toronto Star is factual, your Staff Sergeant Cheney Venn’s treatment of Philip Alafe not only caused Ontario Court Justice Ken Lenz to stay charges against Mr. Alafe, but is another example of how little police culture has changed in the last half century.

Too bad. After all, when push comes to shove, it is the people who are really in charge.

Yours truly,

Charles H. Klassen

Again and again….

……….policing vs the rules

The Toronto Star reported in the second week of July that a Belleville judge had ‘blasted’ the local OPP detachment for an ‘egregious’ strip search of a DUI suspect, and forthwith stayed the impaired driving charges.

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled 15 years ago that strip searching is “inherently humiliating and degrading”, and should only be done when there are reasonable grounds to do so. Yet, police across the province have continued to conduct what judges deem illegal searches. The Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) announced last July that it was undertaking a review of police search practices provincewide as a response.

“I’ve had enough. There is no regard being given to the rules”, OIPRD head Gerry McNeilly told the Star when contacted about this case. The lawyer for the accused in the Belleville court added, “The police can no longer take the position that they were unaware of what the law was. There’s no uncertainty now. It cannot be said that there’s any question with what the law is with respect to strip searches.”

Nonetheless, what is particularly challenging in this story is that one of the officers involved testified that she has not changed her practice, in spite of advice from her seniors.

We contributed our own perspective to the OPP.

August 1, 2017

Inspector Christina Reive, Detachment Commander,
Quinte West Detachment, OPP,
3 Dixon Drive, P.O. Box 1050,
Trention, ON K8V 6E6

Re:  Say it isn’t so!

Inspector Reive:

Assuming the Toronto Star’s Monday, July 20, front page headline is correct, and Jacques Gallant’s supporting report is factual, we have a problem, don’t we?

“Judge blasts OPP for ‘egregious’ strip search” not only charges two of your officers with breaking the law, but one of them, Amanda MacFadden, testified she won’t change her practice.

Now, tell us again, why we should give a damn about respecting our police services?

Yours truly,

Charles H. Klassen

Gotta minute? (21)

The path to justice is strewn with the wreckage of abandoned lawsuits.

…… from observing the experiences of complainants who are so beaten down by the aggression of a tax-dollar funded opposing bureaucracy that walking away from a just cause becomes a painful option, reluctantly taken.

To mark the 150th anniversary of the confederation of the Canadian colonies, how about our governments own up and do what is right, without prodding?