I have as yet to write up day 5…as it was a little complicated and I would hate to get it wrong…let it suffice to say that the day started out with Mark Fournier’s lawyer, Ms. Kulaszka, cross examining Dr. Baglow – and it was in continuing this cross examination that the trial resumed today.
Oh, what a tangled web this lawsuit has become!!!
So many threads, on numerous blogs, intersecting, backtracking, re-posting of threads between blogs (with the necessarily resulting divergent discussions) – it’s messy, messy, messy, messy!
And the acerbic language, colourful metaphors, hyper-hyperbolies!!!
And by colourful, I do mean mostly brown…as in, Nazi brown…
But, let me narrate the day from the beginning:
The court was scheduled to resume at 9:30, so I set out nice and early so as not to miss a second of it! By 9 am, I was whipping down the Quensway towards downtown, traffic fast and smooth, despite the warm rain. The radio was droning on about one thing or another when I heard a report that Ottawa is the 3rd most traffic congested city in Canada (third only to Toronto and Vancouver) and 5th most congested city in North America. As the disembodied voice in my dashboard went over the details, the traffic on the Queensway slowed down to a crawl!
How lucky for me that I was nearly at my exit – Metcalf St.!!!
I reached my short little off-ramp. I was quite happy – as, in the past, it had taken me between 7 and 12 (worst traffic imaginable) minutes to get to the City Hall, where the ample parking is practically under the Courthouse. So, was going to be early! YES!!!
At this point, the reporter chose to point out that the most traffic congested time period on Ottawa is – wait for it – Tuesday mornings!!!
(Of course, today WAS Tuesday morning…)
Well….if this were in a movie or a novel, I would have called it ‘calculated’ and ‘overdone’ and ‘not realistic’. But – and I still have a hard time believing this – the tiny little distance to travel down the short little Metcalf St. offramp took me 20+ minutes to travel!!!
As I finally made it to Elgin St. (just a few short blocks to go up to the courthouse), I realized it was dug up with construction……and very, very s l o w….
At last, I pull up to the City Hall parking entrance, just south of the Elgin St. courthouse, and I pull in….and, for the first time in my memory (and I have gone to quite a few of these court hearings by now), the lot was FULL!!! The parking attendant who turned me away told me I needed to go to the Laurier Street parking lot. So, I went.
Of course, the Laurier Street parking lot was also full. But, pulling out of that entrance, I got stuck going onto the Laurier Street bridge – and the unholy mess of traffic at Ottawa University. THAT is a mess at ANY day and time – and much more so on the dreaded Tuesday morning Ottawa ‘worst traffic congestion’.
Oh – did I mention that every one of the streets there is under construction?
And – there were tour buses with high school trippers stopping everywhere, spilling their charges in all directions….
Eventually, I managed to fight my way to the just-waking-up Market, then back downtown… and now I got turned down by four different ‘always a cert’ paring lots before I finally found a place to rest my teenager-transport-vehicle…
…and I RAN to the courthouse. Let me warn you – this is a precarious process at best and I would not be surprised if there were reports of earthquakes in the area as a result….
Finally – I was there!!!
I found my way to Courtroom #37 – a really big one (where, if I remember correctly, the jury selection usually takes place).
I burst in, pen and paper in hand (so as to make as little noise/disruption as possible) and saw that ‘we’ were still waiting for the judge to enter!!!
It may have been well after 10 am, but I still got there before the judge!!! I just had time to note that Beth Trudeau from the Language Equality folks and a companion were there supporting the Fourniers, as well and the charming Aubrey and his lovely wife (in a pretty floral-print top with an elegant cross-mid-riff detail and flattering tan pants).
Connie Fournier looked very sophisticated in a smart, yet feminine, tan blazer topping an elegant, layered, reddish-brown, abstract-floral patterned chiffon skirt with a matching reddish-brown blouse and a silvery necklace, all polished off with nice black pumps.
The charismatic Mark Fournier wore a grey herringbone blazer, black pants/shoes, striped shirt and a tie – and his deep eyes shone as intensely as ever!
In contrast, Dr. Baglow wore an open-necked blue shirt under his elegant black suit, accessorized with a chunky watch, a lapel-pin and his signature riding boots (which were clean and shined!) It is really too bad Dr. Baglow is on the wrong (from my free-speecher-absolutist point of view) side of this lawsuit – he is very charming and an excellent conversationalist! (And very good looking to boot! …no pun intended – just saw it when proof-reading…)
Courtroom #37 is big – really, really big. It is the largest courtroom I have ever been in.
There is not one big table for the lawyers/participants, but two, layered behind each other.
On the right, there is a jury box – on the left, there is a plexi-glass ‘penalty box’-like thingy from which I imagine very dangerous criminal suspects would be able to watch their court proceedings. Quite somber….
In addition, the acoustics in the room are a bit freaky. Everyone speaking has to speak into a microphone and the words are piped in through hidden speakers…except that all the mikes are on at all times, and pick up ‘everything’. So, throughout the day, I kept looking over my shoulder as it sounded as if someone ‘just behind me’ were breathing loudly – even though there was nobody there! Yes, trick of technology – but still creepy…
Madam Justice Polowin breezed in just a few minutes after I caught my breath and settled into a position where I could see Dr. Baglow’s face when testifying….his face is indeed very expressive of the emotions he is experiencing and/or projecting….after all, he IS an experienced Labour negotiator and I, as an Aspie, lack even average ability to judge facial expressions. Still, I did not want to miss a bit!!!
Without all of the documents and threads in front of me, it was a little difficult to follow all that was said. But, I will try my best.
The morning started with some procedural arguments – par for the course, as I’ve learned. It seems Connie wanted to include some new documents, but, not being able to prove that they were so hidden that she could not have found them earlier (despite her having said some were too recent to have been included in earlier findings), they got ruled inadmissible. It seems to my layman’s eye that there is a huge chasm between what is the truth of the matter and what is admissible in court. Undoubtedly, thinking the courts were there to find the truth of a matter demonstrates my lack of sophistication. My apologies…
Once the procedural stuff was dealt with (Madam Justice Polowin seemed much more strident than before), Ms. Kulaszka, Mark Fournier’s lawyer, started things off. She covered some of the same ground as before, which helped me catch up on where it was we had ‘left off’. In a case like this, chopped up by scheduling pressures, continuity is important!!!
A few times, the judge lectured Ms. K. on ‘stuff’.
A few times, Mr. Burnett, Dr. Baglow’s lawyer, objected to some things.
Aside: Mr. Burnett affects the same patronizing drawl that so infuriates me when the current Ottawa Mayor, Jim Watson, employs it. Pretending to sound ‘reasonable’ while uttering the worst kind of jibberish (Mr. Watson,, that is…) I don’t know what it is about that manner of speech that rubs me so raw, but, it does and it makes me feel so looked-down-upon and denigrated, I have to consciously use self-control not to burst out in protest!!!! Oh, and during today’s proceedings (and during breaks), Mr. Burnett changed up his nervous tick from scratching the inside of his left ear with the arm of his glasses to scratching of the inside of his right ear with it….
One of the bits that Ms. K.’s cross examination focused on had to do with the IP address of Ms. Mew.
In the past, Dr. Bagow had testified (if I recall correctly) that he is technically not savvy and does not even really know the implications of what an IP address is – he had his IT expert, Mr. Bow, to handle all that. Yet, under Ms. K.’s cross examination, Dr. Baglow testified that he thought it was difficult to believe that ‘everybody’ (especially Connie F.) would not know that HE was Ms. Mew as the IP address of his email would have been the same as that of Ms. Mew’s post’s IP address….
It came out during the cross examination that Connie F. was using gmail, which does not include the header info that contains the IP address – as Dr. Baglow explained – but he had assumed she could easily get it, somehow. It was precisely because gmail does not show the IP address in the header that Jay Currie’s involvement in identifying Dr, Baglow as BOTH Dr. Dawg and Ms. Mew became necessary… If I may say so myself, it seemed that between his testimony in March that he was not really sure how that whole IP thing worked, and today’s very specific testimony how IP address info could be ‘easily’ gleaned and used, Dr. Baglow seems to have acquired a very large amount of IT information in a very short time!!!
What is more, he presumes Connie F. would have been able to use the knowledge he claims now but denied in March to have found his identity out years ago…which, according to him, demonstrates he was not hiding who he was while posting as Ms. Mew. At least, that is how it sounded to my untrained, ignorant ears: i.e. my opinion only, not fact and never to be mistaken for fact.
If anyone would like to email me their own eye-witness (or participant) version of these events, I’ll be happy to publish it as an update on this post, in order to be fair and comprehensive and as objective and informative as possible. After all, the more points of view there are, the better you, the reader, will be informed!!!
Ms. Kulaszka had finished her cross examination of Dr. Baglow at approximately 11:05 am.
Connie Fournierwas the next one to cross examine Dr. Baglow.
The questioning went back and forth, wither and hither. Yet, the first part of Connie’s testimony focused on the technical aspects of the case. It was detailed and technical and very, very specific…..it was only after the break that we got to the ‘political’ stuff’
What follows is not the back and forth of the questioning, but, rather, my highly imperfect conclusions as to what was shown by her questioning. And, I will not limit it by technical/political, when what….just what my highly imperfect observations lead me to conclude.
There was much of going over the ‘same old ground’ – Haloscan, Echo, Disqus, transfer of comments, platforms, tech experts, difficulties, etc.
Still, it seemed to me that Connie established that while Dr. Baglow and Mr. Bow claimed the comments from ‘the old site’ (before Dr. Dawg migrated it to Mr. Bow’s server and newer technology/movable type) were still visible as of March 2011, even though Dr. Baglow and Mr. Bow claim to be ‘shocked, I tell you’ that these comments did not disappear in November 2010.
In my very imperfect understanding, Dr. Baglow and Mr. Bow claim that all comments from the ‘old Dr. Dawg’ site were lost, because Dr Dawg did not update his Haloscan comments to Echo protocol when Echo bought Haloscan….and then the old protocol comments could not be migrated to Disqus because there were no drivers to go from Haloscan to Disqus without the intermediate step…so, all these comments were stored on a server in a file, but could no longer be accessed via the internet.
When Connie F. was working on her defense in this case, she claims the comments were fully visible not just till November 2010, but until late March Early April 2011 – and just went ‘poof’ when she was using them.
All the disclosure materials submitted to Dr Baglow and his lawyer, they requested communication from March/April 2011 when the comments actually disappeared from the web: however, only communication from November 2010 had been supplied to them by the plaintiff.
Dr, Baglow maintained that he believed the comments had disappeared in November 2010, which is why he provided emails from then – and that he thought the defendants were just too stupid to have realized the proper time frame, so he provided them with what they needed (in his mind), not what they were actually asking for.
The ‘killing blow’ came from Connie when, after she established (beyond a reasonable doubt, not just by the preponderance of the evidence, as required in a civil suit) that only Dr. Dawg (Dr. Baglow) and Mr. Bow had admin access to the site and Dr. Dawg’s email at this time – yet ‘someone’ had posted a ‘test comment’ from Dr. Dawg’s gmail account onto that site that is time-stamped in April 2011!!!
Dr. Baglow had no idea how THAT could possibly happen – he is, after all, technologically ignorant…..
Yet, when he testified about this, his gaze was lowered and he would not meet anyone’s eyes until after he had finished his claim of ignorance. I do not pretend to know what ht means, being really bad at interpreting facial expressions – I am just offering he physical observation for your own conclusions.
There was a lot more Connie questioned Dr. Baglow about, but, this seemed to me to be the most important point. Not only because Dr. Baglow avoided eye contact, but also because Mr Burnett, his lawyer, exhibited a huge amount of nervous ticks and affected frequent ‘deep sighing’ during this bit of cross examination. Just from that, this one seemed to be ‘a biggie’, in my never-humble-opinion.
As Connie had finished her cross examination of Dr Baglow earlier than expected, the judge thought it would be a good idea to finish the cross examination (by the CCLA lawyer) today, then start the defense’s case tomorrow. However, as Mr. Smith had been told that this portion of the trial would only be the cross and the defense’s case would not start till September, and since he ought to be there for all the defense as something Mark Fournier might testify to might end up being exculpatory for Mr. Smith, he needs to be there for the full defense bit….so they could not start it tomorrow.
There was a lot of wrangling, back and forth, and so on….
It seems 5 days in September may be insufficient to finish the case.
Plus the Judge is demanding an ‘expert witness’ that all sides agree to….which the CCLA lawyer will try to find, though finding someone with a PhD in ‘blogging’ willing to testify may be difficult.
Yet, that is exactly where the things ended today.
I look forward to seeing what tomorrow may bring!!!