|Justice Colin McKinnon|
Justice Colin McKinnon
(He Wasn’t From Cornwall Either)
Prior to the Leduc trial it was understood that the judge would be chosen from outside the city or jurisdiction of Cornwall to give victims and citizens assurance there was no possibility of bias.
Jacque Leduc’s sex abuse trial (his first) commenced 16 January 2001 with Justice Colin McKinnon as the sitting judge. McKinnon was from Ottawa. It was understood by most that since he was not from Cornwall there was no possibility of bias. However, before witnesses were called to the stand and the trial – in the eyes of the public – formally commenced, Dick Nadeau, the operator of a “controversial” website which dealt with the allegations of cover-up in Cornwall, raised the question of bias on his website. Nadeau questioned the judge’s ability to conduct an unbiased trial because he, McKinnon, had previously been a lawyer for the former Chief of Police, Claude Shaver. (Shaver was chief of the Cornwall Police Service when former Constable Perry Dunlop went to the CAS with the victim’s statement which he inadvertently discovered had been secreted by his police force, the Cornwall Police Service)
McKinnon did not explain or address the Shaver issue. But he did forego a trial by jury claiming that the jury pool had been contaminated by Nadeau’s site, and he cited Nadeau with contempt of court for violating a publication ban.
The trial by judge got under way. Several weeks into the trial Perry Dunlop’s name was first introduced into testimony and the trial degenerated into the trial of Perry Dunlop: the defense filed a motion to stay the charges.
Dick Nadeau was to be the first witness on the motion for stay. But, prior to taking the stand, Nadeau addressed the court and asked the judge to recuse himself because of his conflict of interest: he cited Justice McKinnon’s prior activities as legal counsel for Claude Shaver.
Justice McKinnon claimed he had no recollection of such activity.
Mr. Nadeau then produced copies of two letters (14 October 1994 and 18 October 1994) signed by Colin D. McKinnon QC acting on behalf of Claude Shaver who was by then retired from the police force having taken an early retirement. Both letters relate to the following item submitted by Carson Chisholm and appearing in the 03 October 1994 edition of the Seaway News:
“Congratulations to Const. Perry Dunlop of the City Police for giving a copy of the sexual abuse complaint to the Children’s Aid Society. Shame on management of the Police Force for trying to sweep it under the rug. We hope that no one from that management team would ever get on the School Board or similar position of trust.”
The first McKinnon letter dated 14 October 1994 is addressed to Mr. Aubrey of the Seaway News and threatened legal action for “defamation” if an apology “subject to the approval of former Chief Shaver” was not submitted by 25 October 1994.
In the two page letter McKinnon noted that it is well known that the only member of the “management team” running for a position with the school board is former Police Chief Shaver and that the implication of the news note therefore was that “Claude Shaver is a person of bad character who participated in ‘sweeping under the rug’ sexual abuse allegations.” McKinnon charged that the libel in this instance was exacerbated by the fact that the words quoted in the Seaway News “are in fact the words of Carson Chisholm who happens to be the brother-in-law of Const. Perry Dunlop. . . .a person presently facing a public inquiry for misconduct contrary to the Police Services Act.”
The second letter dated 18 October 1994 and addressed to Carson Chisholm also threatened legal action and demanded a written apology addressed to former Chief Shaver “for the defamation contained in the column.”
Once the letters were read aloud and into the record, however, Justice McKinnon’s memory was “refreshed.” That prompted the judge to disclose that he had acted as legal counsel for the Cornwall Police Service and to decide that perhaps he should refresh his memory further by looking through files at the police station to see just how involved he might have been.
The following day, Justice McKinnon acknowledged that he had indeed been quite involved and was, in fact, responsible for advising that Dunlop be charged with misconduct under the police services act for going to the Children’s Aid Society when he realized that his police force was not pursuing the sex abuse allegations against Father Charles MacDonald and Ken Seguin. It seems that once Dunlop was exonerated of wrongdoing, McKinnon advised an appeal. Dunlop was exonerated.
The bottom line is that, as a lawyer, Justice McKinnon was involved with persons (Claude Shaver) and parties (Cornwall Police Service) and actions (charge Dunlop) at the ground-floor level of the allegations of cover up – and he was assigned to, and he took the bench at a Project Truth trial.
Justice McKinnon was not from Cornwall, but he had lots of connections to Cornwall -connections which inevitably and finally (before his second trial got off the ground) allowed an alleged paedophile Jacques Leduc to “walk” claiming his right to a speedy trial had been violated.
The travesty of the first Leduc trial and the conduct of the two judges involved is documented in the complaint to the Canadian Judicial Council (see upper right column )
[Justice Colin McKinnon, who believes judges and lawyers must “suffer bitter public derision” as guardians of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, was honoured by Ottawa’s County of Carleton Law Association in 1995. ]
Information on the second trial, the one which never really got off the ground, will be added at later date.
A Travesty of Justice
These following five files comprise those related to the 09 April 2001 complaint filed with the Canadian Judicial Council regarding, among other things, Justice Colin McKinnon’s conflict of interest and failed memory, the apparent animus of Justice James Chadwick toward Perry Dunlop, and pertinent back ground information which is an essential read to put the complaint into context.
The first file is the cover letter, the next three are appendices to the letter, and the fifth is the conclusion reached by the justices’ peers in the Canadian Judicial Council.
1. Cover letter: Complaint to Canadian Judicial Council
2. Appendix A (Re McKinnon): Complaint to Canadian Judicial Council re Justice Colin McKinnon
3. Appendix B (Re Chadwick) : Complaint to Canadian Judicial Council re Justice James Chadwick
4. Appendix C (Backgrounder): Complaint to Canadian Judicial Council Backgrounder
5. 17 July 2001 (CJC Response): Canadian Judicial Council response
Well’s investigation of the 1994 David Silmser complaint against Cst. Heidi Sebalj which, with the aid of then lawyer Colin McKinnon, morphed into charges under the Police Service Act against Cst. Perry Dunlop.
21 September 2006: One Year Into Cornwall Inquiry Stonewall-Cover-Up Goes Higher (Re connections, Inquiry costs & Father Frank Morrissey and now Father Jeff King advice to bishops in mid to late ’80s)
11 January 2009: Lawyers are serious about standup for good cause
19 April 2004: “Lawyers in Odd Clothes” & “Greenspon a young 50” and 18 April 2005 “Lawyers wax theatrical” and 05 March 2007 “Lawyers always love a stage”
20 February 2001: Justice Colin McKinnon acknowledges prior involvement with Perry Dunlop
20 January 2001: The Right to Know is the Bedrock of Democracy (the post which triggered Justice Colin McKinnon to cite Dick with contempt of court)
14 February 1996: Rock amigo on glide path to bench
09 February 1994: CPS Public Complaint – Investigative Steps Taken in Silmser compliant against Cst. Heidi Sebalj shows Colin McKinnon approached by CPS on this date
27 January 2009: BLOG Coincidences
11 January 2010: Lawyers are serious about stand-up for a good cause
02 March 2001: “Judge made right decision” with commentary by Dick Nadeau
20 February 2001: Justice Colin McKinnon acknowledges his prior involvement with former Constable Perry Dunlop