Senior OPP officers charged w/Obstructing Justice in McHale case

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UPDATE April 14/10: Gary McHale advises that, as expected, the Crown today dropped the charges against Deputy Commissioner Lewis and Superintendent Gentle after fast-tracking the hearing from April 28th to today. The Crown dropped the charge without even consulting the victim of the alleged obstruction of justice – McHale who expects to apply for a judicial review in Superior Court.

(UPDATED July 07/10) Gary McHale has confirmed that in a hearing before a Cayuga Justice of the Peace today (March 16/10), he presented sufficient evidence to convince the Justice to order that charges of Obstructing Justice be issued against OPP Deputy Commissioner Chris Lewis and Superintendent Ron Gentle for their role in having him arrested after a Dec 01/07 protest where he and other non-native protesters were attacked by Six Nations people supporting an illegal smokeshack.

139(2): Every one who wilfully attempts in any manner other than a manner described in subsection (1) to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years.

Criminal Code of Canada, Part IV, OFFENCES AGAINST THE ADMINISTRATION OF LAW AND JUSTICE, Section 139(2): Obstructing Justice

CANACE’s Jeff Parkinson was the first to release this story:

Other media coverage:

The charges of attempting to obstruct justice against OPP Deputy Commissioner Chris Lewis and Superintendent Ron Gentle were laid by a justice of the peace in a Cayuga courtroom late yesterday — an occurence observers are calling “unprecedented.” […]

OPP spokesman Dave Ross said he could not comment because the force had not received any information about or confirmation of the charges yesterday.

McHale said Ross issued a summons for the two officers to appear in Cayuga court April 28.

The evidence

The evidence presented came from emails recently obtained by McHale via Crown disclosure after a nearly two year battle for full disclosure of all relevant evidence related to the charge of Counselling Mischief Not Committed laid against him in connection with the Dec 01/07 protest where he was viciously attacked.

Copies of documents used in court against the officers will be released by Gary McHale shortly. For now, here are just a few excerpts from some of the many emails finally turned over to McHale. Keep in mind when reading them that Fantino later testified under oath that the OPP had not laid any charge against McHale prior to Dec 01/07 because they had no evidence to do so:

  • Dec 01/07,  10:30 am: shortly after the protest has begun, and before there is any allegation that McHale has broken the law, Deputy Commissioner Chris Lewis replies to Fantino’s instruction to arrest McHale. :

FANTINO: At some point McHale has to go.

LEWIS: Fleming too. Just sent a message to that ver effect!

  • Dec 01/07,  3:22 pm:  Fantino sends an email to Superintendent Bob Goodall — cc’d to Deputy Commissioner Chris Lewis — ordering his officers to begin an investigation which should target McHale for charges:

[…] All in all, but for McHale and his few supporters Caledonia is a relatively peaceful place. Furthermore, I want every avenue explored by which we now can bring McHale into court seeking a Court Order to prevent him from continuing his agenda of inciting people to violence in Caledonia.

[…] I don’t want us to get sidetracked by Crown lawyers on this. We need to be guided by the long established RPG criteria and not be constantly frustrated by timid Crowns who seem to only get charged up when they have a sure prospect of conviction. […]

McHale preliminary hearing, Exhibit 38: Fantino emails, Dec 01-07/07

  • Dec 01/07, 4:16pm: Superintendent Goodall notifies Fantino and Deputy Commissioner Chris Lewis that Bill Renton has been assigned to investigate. As Renton is driving to Cayuga he receives a copy of Fantino’s email ordering officers to target McHale, but later testifies that he was not affected by Fantino’s eagerness to get McHale:

Sir, fyi…D/Insp Bill Renton assigned. The urgency of this matter has been emphasized to him. Bob.

  • Dec 02/07, 4:19 pm: Fantino sends an email to Chris Lewis expressing his frustration at not being able to get McHale, and with “feeble” Crown Attorneys:

Chris: The reason I waited to get back to you was to simply cool off. What are we doing in Caledonia? We seem to be in an almost state of paralysis when it comes to proactively doing anything respecting Mchale et al. If it isn’t us being told what to do by feeble Crowns, its our own lack of fire. It seems to me that were are reactive to the point that McHale is the orchestra leader while we are almost captive to his nonsense. [BLACKED OUT] Ahh, I can’t believe this!!!!!

McHale preliminary hearing, Exhibit 38: Fantino emails, Dec 01-07/07

  • Dec 02/07, 9:31 pm: A frustrated, but determined Fantino sends another email to Chris Lewis, again ordering him to target McHale for charges, again expressing frustration with the Crown, and making it clear that he doesn’t care if they skirt the law in order to get McHale:

[…] Our job is not to act only when there is an absolute likelihood of a conviction as often told by Crowns who don’t want to take anything forward to trial that is not a sure thing. […]

[…] I want us to take McHale to court to seek a Court Order to keep him out of Caledonia. […]

[…] I don’t want us to get bogged down with legal nuances. […]

McHale preliminary hearing, Exhibit 38: Fantino emails, Dec 01-07/07

  • Dec 03/07, 6:45 am: Fantino email to Deputy Commissioner Chris Lewis and others (some blacked out) re meeting with Deputy Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Deborah Newman (see LINK):

Hi all: Would like to meet in the boardroom @ 9am if at all possible to discuss Caledonia issues. I have a phone call with the D/M @ 9:30am and want to get up to speed before I speak with her. JF

  • Dec 03/07, 7:51 pm:  Chris Lewis emails Ron Gentle saying:

Ron: Confidential please. I’m with the boss at a dinner tonight and we’re discussing McHale. He’s enquiring about the timing of the charges. Is there any way that charges could be laid sooner than later?

  • Dec 03/07, 9:37 pm: Supt. Ron Gentle emails Deputy Commissioner Chris Lewis  and makes it clear that while there is video evidence to charge their buddy Bullet (Clyde Powless’s nickname) with assaulting McHale he is disappointed there is no video evidence to charge McHale with a crime:

[…] First, the assault of McHale by Bullet was caught on all kinds of video as people turned the cameras on when the action happened. Unfortunately, the alleged assault committed by McHale, to this point, is not on video. The best we have is the victim claiming verbally to have been assaulted on at least one tape. We have witnesses on both sides that say he did and didn’t commit an offence. We continue to inverview witnesses and view video voluntarily provided to us. Unfortunately the Commissioner may have been told of some things in the first instance that may have been assumptions on the part of some.

We want to ensure when we arrest and charge Bullet we do the same with with McHale to eliminate any of the usual issues. There are those who fear charging Bullet will be counter-productive – I disagree. […]

  • Dec 03/07, 11:28 pm: Chris Lewis replies to Ron Gentle and makes it clear he agrees with Gentle’s decision that McHale must be arrested in order to appease natives:

“Thanks Ron. Makes sense and much appreciated. I’ll pass on info to the boss.”

  • Dec 07/07, 11:41 am: Deputy Commissioner Chris Lewis emails Superintendent Ron Gentle and others about the “political perceptions” and the importance of ‘Info Flow’ regarding the “McHale investigation” so Fantino can keep the Deputy Minister informed. Perceptively, he acknowledges that all this intense communication may cause “disclosure issues” in the future. (emphasis mine):

Hi Guys. This past week has been a challenge for all of us and even more so for our people, given the concerns  and sensitivity around the McHale investigation. Our people have done a great job of getting the facts straight, gathering evidence and filling gaps and that is much appreciated. We’ve put extraordinary pressure on them to do what is right as quickly as possible, due to the political and public perception issues. Appropriate charges have been laid and the judicial system will run its course. I firmly believe that having CIB lead these investigations, both proactively and post event was the proper decision.

Where we need to tighten up our efforts is in the timely communication of progress and significant investigative and media release issues, with the Commissioner. That’s not an easy task when we’re dealing with issues that transverse CIB, the Detachment/Region Commanders, local/regional CSO’s and Corporate Communications, but we need to pull it together in a more efficient way.

The Commissioner and the Provincial Commanders need to know what is happening in a timely way and the Commissioner wants input on press releases well in advance. When he has to reach out for an update and then doesn’t get a reply, that’s not a good thing. Then he asks questions of various commanders and gets conflicting info, which further frustrated him and hampers his ability to keep the DM properly apprised, or he runs the risk of getting caught off-guard by a direct call from a media contact. I realize that there may be disclosure issues as a result of such communications, but we’ll deal with those hurdles as they arise.

Plase put your heads together and tighten up the processes so that we don’t fall into similar traps in the future.

Thanks for everything.

Chris D. Lewis
Deputy Commissioner
Field Operations

Following specific instructions from Fantino – who was keeping the Deputy Commissioner informed – to target McHale, and direct pressure from him to hurry charges along, two OPP officers at the highest level decided that McHale was to be charged with a criminal offence in order to appease native extremists, and when that charge was going to be laid — even though they had no reliable evidence that he had committed a crime.

It is noteworthy that even though numerous police officers were assaulted by various Six Nations protesters and never charged; even though a number of residents were assaulted by various Six Nations protesters; even though McHale was a victim of their violence, did not organize the smokeshack protest and did not commit any acts of violence, and has never been charged with any Caledonia offence prior to Dec 01/07, the Deputy Commissioner Lewis refers to the totality of their ‘investigation’ as the “McHale investigation.” Lewis makes it clear that Fantino was driving the investigation and was not happy about the information he needed to keep the Deputy Minister in the loop.

Lewis’s concern about “disclosure issues” was well-founded — he and Superintendent Gentle are now facing criminal charges because of Fantino’s obsession to ‘get’ Gary McHale and micro-manage the process. (see  Mark’s Subversive Dictionary entry for ‘micro-management).

See also: 

  • VoiceofCanada, Feb 04/10: Fantino’s sworn testimony vs. Fantino’s emails (exposes the shocking disconnect between Fantino’s private email assertions regarding McHale’s link to Caledonia violence and Fantino’s own testimony under oath at McHale’s preliminary hearing)
  • CANACE reference, Feb 01/10: Journalist’s Quick Reference Evidence Guide [PDF, 9p] (If the URL doesn’t work, go to this link and download the latest copy in the Resources for Journalists section)

About the phony assault allegation vs. McHale 

The alleged assault by McHale on a native woman (Camille Powless) was later proven to be a piece of street theatre for which she was eventually charged with Public Mischief. On Dec 05/07 Superintendent Bob Goodall sent an email to Fantino:

[…] McHale did not assault Michelle [sic] Powless. She assaulted McHale and then committed public mischief by faking a false report to Police. – charges pending. […]

See also:

McGuinty minister was warned about alleged obstruction of justice

On May 30/08 I sent a 71 page complaint to the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Rick Bartolucci which contained a highly detailed summary of evidence supporting my belief that Julian Fantino may have been guilty of three criminal offences including Obstructing Justice in connection with the investigation into the Dec 01/07 violence. The minister dismissed the complaint out of hand.

VoC Comment

On Dec 01/07 Julian Fantino ordered his officers to target McHale for arrest even though he had no evidence he had committed a crime, and on Dec 03/07 two of his most senior officers (one of whom was cc’d on that order) conspired to make it happen. Once the assault charge turned out to be bogus, the OPP were then forced to comb through video to try to find something, anything, they could charge McHale with no matter how silly hence, the ridiculous Counselling Mischief Not Committed charge that no one, including the Crown and the pre-trial judge, had ever heard of.

The OPP shot themselves in both feet

What is remarkable is that these officers – and others – were so willing to go along with the complete fiction that McHale and his followers (which included Jeff Parkinson, Merlyn Kinrade, and me) were responsible for Caledonia’s violence, and carry out Fantino’s orders to target McHale. If you have ever wondered how innocent people come to be charged and/or convicted of crimes they didn’t commit, now you know. Unfortunately for them, however, the OPP picked the one man in Ontario who wasn’t afraid to fight back even though he couldn’t afford a lawyer and didn’t have a law degree.

CANACE founders have now successfully laid criminal charges against 5 separate OPP officers: two front line officers videotaped assisting native criminals during an illegal occupation, and three of the top OPP brass: Fantino, Lewis and Gentle. The corrupt Attorney General’s office, however, has dropped all charges against OPP officers and native protesters prosecuted by McHale, and the ones against Lewis and Gentle will be no different. But, they have to do it in full view of the public and the media and, sooner or later, justice and sanity will prevail.

I was with McHale when he told the CBC that it was the OPP who should be thanked for his ‘legal career’ because once they kept him out of Caledonia with bogus bail restrictions, he was able to focus all his energy on the courtroom. Many thanks to the OPP for their shortsighted decision to subvert justice with this frivolous charge:  you made it possible to expose racial policing in a most convincing manner. Congratulations to Gary McHale – again – for exposing the rot within this once-great police force.

Of course, the OPP and the Liberals have no one to blame but themselves. One would have thought that when Fantino’s emails came to light in 2008 showing that he’d ordered the targeting of McHale before the investigation had begun into the Dec 01/07 smokeshack violence, that the Crown and/or OPP would have dropped the charge right then and there against McHale. Had they done so, he never would have received the evidence necessary to get two of Fantino’s closest cronies charged with a criminal offence. The stupidity and the arrogance of these thugs in suits and uniforms is beyond belief. By the time McHale is finished the fallout from the Brown-Chatwell trial is going to look like wedding confetti.

Time to fire the top 100 officers in the OPP

On Dec 16/06, before I was arrested while trying to raise a Canadian flag in support of Bo Chausse who had been arrested on Dec 02/06 for the same ‘offence,’ I stood on the side of the road and told the crowd that I would not stand by while a corrupt police force arrested Canadian citizens for trying to raise a Canadian flag. I had no idea, then, just how corrupt the OPP would become under Julian Fantino.

It is nothing short of disgusting that the front line officers have been so badly betrayed by the OPP leadership which is an embarassment to the force, and to the people of Ontario. The only cure for the OPP is to fire the top 100 officers, beginning with Fantino. The problem, of course, is that the OPP is doing exactly what the Liberals want them to do. That much is clear by the government’s continuing statments of support and decision to intervene on Fantino’s behalf when he was charged with illegally influencing municipal officials for his threatening email to Haldimand Council.

Unfortunately, in order to restore the OPP to its former status as a credible police force we’ll first have to fire McG and his cronies – surely one of the most corrupt governments in Ontario’s history. There certainly seems to be no limit to how much corruption and criminality they are prepared to tolerate from the OPP in order to enforce racial policing against non-native citizens.

You can help fight back against racial policing!

If you are as repulsed by racial policing as I am, you can do something about it: be sure to attend CANACE’s upcoming Anti-Racism Rally at the Caledonia Lions Hall on March 21st at 2pm. Gary McHale will be there to speak. He has been successful in convincing the Crown to lift some of the bail restrictions which have kept him from entering Caledonia for two years.

Disclosure: Mark Vandermaas was an original founding member of Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality.  He left CANACE on Feb 22/10 to focus on research and educational activities in connection with the issue of racial policing during land claim disputes.

Mark Vandermaas, Editor
VoiceofCanada.ca
info@voiceofcanada.ca

References

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