PROSECUTOR Leo McGuigan may call corruption a "red herring" that is easily ignored, but it is not. It is a fact of life which deserves careful consideration, even though the willingness that the courts have consistently demonstrated is the determination and the capacity to evade a full disclosure of the issue, by keeping the public in the dark as much as possible. In terms of the Proverbs case, the general public was effectively denied the opportunity to appreciate the scope and potential implication of judicial corruption allegations, as only 5 of the 37 hours of videotaped evidence, were ever released to the media.4 But that alone was sufficient to effectively explode the myth that the integrity and impartiality of all police officers, judges and Crown attorneys is beyond reproach. The following list of allegations, disclosed through the few tapes that the media did manage to get a hold of, speak for themselves.
Policemen falsify their notes, leave blanks to be filled in latter or rewrite entire notebooks in order to insert what they want. Suspects can be put on a "legal treadmill" in which charges are kept in the legal system without ever coming to a conclusion.
Policemen, particularly partners, do whatever is necessary to back each other up, including falsifying evidence.
Victims of crime may even be supplied with appropriate clothing if it is required to fit in with the evidence.5
While some authorities like to dispute these so-called fictions, the potential credibility of many of the allegations is bolstered by other criminal cases that echo corrupt or unreasonable practices. Susan Nelles, for example, is well aware of the fact that "some officers arrest people who show what the officers consider impudence by suggesting they want to call their lawyer".6 Also, the fact that dishonest police officers do not hesitate to falsify their notes is clearly indisputable -and this is certainly not a red herring to the proper administration of justice, no matter what Prosecutor Leo McGuigan says. Indeed, even the Morin case is polluted by a police officer who evidently rewrote his notebook, in order to insert what he wanted. As lawyer Clayton Ruby has disclosed; "it was discovered that sometime between the preliminary inquiry and Guy Paul Morin's first trial, Sgt. Michalowsky rewrote his notes at home so they would include this.(new declaration which disputed previous testimony previously given under oath) He made many other changes as well.7
While many of the Proverbs tape allegations of corruption are indisputable, others are not easily demonstrable. For example, the claim that certain authorities are more concerned with clearing "police slates" than with solving crime, is difficult to conclusively verify or dispute. When the thirst to obtain a conviction is fiercely single-minded however, authorities have been known to conceal evidence which points to the innocence of the accused, and the ultimate consequence of this practice is that the primary motivation is evidently not to solve the crime, but to clear the "slate." If it is not glaringly obvious, it is because failure to disclose cases rely upon extreme secrecy, and in the absence of an information "leak" , or a thorough examination of the evidence, nobody ever finds out about them.
If the Proverbs case illustrates anything at all, it is the fact that corrupt officials practice the ability to secure criminal convictions through fraudulent, rather than through legitimate means. Clearly, in the face of slanted testimony, perjury, and judicial corruption, a trial verdict has the potential to reflect nothing, beyond an astounding perversion of justice. In particular, the implication of judicial corruption stories which include such extreme perversions like the claim about a judge who "listens to police in his chambers before a case and makes up his mind beforehand", are bloodcurdling.8 To be sure, the initial reaction to such a seemingly outrageous claim is to accept the fact that it is nothing beyond a cruel joke. But when one carefully examines the extreme bias of certain judges, it is necessary to question the source of their evidently predisposed commitments. And perhaps the most serious allegation that the Proverbs trial exposed is the claim that officers lie on the witness stand and that they plant evidence -a degree of corruption which provides the capacity to frame an innocent person. In terms of the Morin case, the judicial corruption stories that the Proverbs trial exposed are extremely relevant, particularly since the Ontario Provincial Police charged Police Sergeant Michalowsky, one of the people who had his hands on the evidence against Morin, with perjury and with obstructing justice. Unlike the charge against Morin, who was arrested simply because he was a suspect, the charges against Michalowsky were based on evidence of corruption.
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