In Part 1 of this series, I explained a little of the background of the ongoing Presto scandal, which has already cost Ontario taxpayers half-a-billion dollars – and how a concerned taxpayer (hereafter referred to as CT) had searched for who was behind this…and discovered the documents had been signed by none other than Kathleen Wynne, then Ontario Minister of Transportation and now the Premier of Ontario.
In Part 2 of this series, I explained a bit of how the Canadian/Ontario justice system function: in order to safeguard from a government that will either fail to bring charges against certain individuals or will not uphold certain laws, each and every citizen has the power to, as a private person, lay criminal charges. However, this safety-valve (a citizen-empowering protection against a corrupt government) is immediately eviscerated by permitting the government of the day, called ‘The Crown’ and represented by the office of the Attorney General of Ontario, who both employs all the crown prosecutors and is appointed by/serves at the pleasure of the Premier of Ontario, can take over any private prosecution and stay the charges for ever….and the example of Gary McHale in Caledonia was explained. (This very legal precedent was cited heavily by The Crown representative in this court hearing.)
Which is what brings us to Monday’s court hearing: The Municipal Taxpayer Advocacy Group founder (CT – conscientious taxpayer) had brought a private prosecution against Kathleen Wynne, due to her signature on the letter which seems (at least, to my untrained eye, as well as CT’s, I suspect) to be extorting the Jim Watson and the City of Ottawa, in order to force him to both accept the inferior and overpriced ‘Presto’ bid for introducing electronic payment on our public transit system as well as making it almost impossible to collect late/non-performance penalties from that particular contractor. The Crown took over his case – and chose not to proceed with it – meaning the charges would never see the light of day.
So, CT challenged The Crown’s takeover of his case.
And lost….for various, not necessarily ‘farious’ (as opposed to ‘nefarious’) reasons.
CT had appealed that takeover – and The Crown brought about a motion to ‘summarily dismiss’ his appeal: and this was the subject of Monday’s hearing.
In order to win and get his case back, The Crown argued, it was now necessary for CT to prove that there was some abuse of process in The Crown taking over his prosecution of Kathleen Wynne.
CT disagreed, saying he just had to prove that since the accused is the Attorney General’s employer, and by extension the employer of The Crown’s prosecutors, they are in a conflict of interest position in taking over his private criminal prosecution: and therefore must recuse themselves from the case and turn it over to the Federal Director Public Prosecutions.
CT even cited an Alberta precedent for this – even the appearance of a potential conflict of interest requires The Crown to kick the case to a different level of goernment, like, say, the Feds (who do not, ultimately, answer to Kathleen Wynne, their current employer).
If you read my blog regularly, you may recall that ‘summary dismissal’ is a topic I have covered when reporting on the John Baglow vs Free Dominion and John Does. In that case (a very, very important case about internet governance, the outcome of which will affect each and every internet-using Canadian and American – and one which is still ongoing), Dr. Baglow sued several posters on an internet political forum, Free Dominion, for having defamed him, as well as suing the administrators of the site for having facilitated the publication of those words (sort of like suing a printer for having printed a newspaper with an article that defamed someone).
In this ‘Baglow’ case, the defendants asked for the case to be summarily dismissed on the grounds that the words published were ‘common insults’ and thus not defamatory.
The hearing lasted a couple of days and the judge agreed that indeed, the words were not capable of being defamatory. (At east – that is what I heard in the courtroom nd what I understood the final ruling to say – but I am not trained in legal matters, just a member of the ‘unwashed masses’, with a bit of peasant wisdom tossed in.)
Dr. Baglow appealed the summary dismissal – and the court of appeal agreed. Not because they thought the case had merit – to the contrary, they agreed that they didn’t. (Or, so I understand.) But, they said, internet discourse lacks governance so there ought to be a legal precedent set!
So, a full trial is going on now. First part took place in the spring, the second part will do so this fall. With expert witness – as the judge chosen has no knowledge of the internet beyond using email (at least, that is what she declared).
Similarly, the MTAG founder (our dear protagonist, CT) had challenged The Crown’s takeover of his case.
He lost, appealed, and The Crown sought to have his appeal ‘summarily dismissed’.
Which is where we found ourselves on that fateful morning of August the 18th, 2014!!!
More to follow in Part 4 of this narrative.
August 23, 2014 at 10:48
“as well as suing the administrators of the site for having facilitated the publication of those words (sort of like suing a printer for having printed a newspaper with an article that defamed someone).”
Ah, no. It is not like that at all. A printer does not have the power to delete comments and enforce commenting policy or issue a retraction.
You always seem to skip over the part that the Forniers had been asked and had the ability to police their own website and act on complaints.
They were real good at policing my comments back in the day.
August 23, 2014 at 16:31
The comparison is accurate – a printer does not proof-read and approve comments prior to printing them, though they may refuse to print things from people who are known to be treoublesome…just as the Fourniers do not proof-read and approve comments prior to the being posted on their forum, but they may pay specific attention to posters who are known to have been troublesome in the past.
The volume is the limiting factor in both cases: both the printer and the forum administrator cannot possibly read all the material going through their printing shop/forum, but they may look out for one or two customers who are ‘problematic’ in way they could never possibly do for the full volume of the material moving through their print/forum.