|Former MPP willing to go to court to avoid naming sources, alleged Cornwall victims
The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Garry Guzzo, a major force in the fight for a judicial investigation of an alleged pedophile ring in the Cornwall area, found himself at loggerheads yesterday with the inquiry he helped create.
The commission wants Mr. Guzzo to produce his original notes containing the names of dozens of alleged victims, government officials and others who came to him with stories of alleged rampant sexual abuse of boys and young men over three decades. The alleged victims named a variety of perpetrators including priests, court workers, a justice of the peace, a lawyer and others in positions of trust. From 1995 through 2003, Mr. Guzzo was an Ottawa-area MPP.
If he doesn’t produce the notes and names by this morning, the commission and Mr. Guzzo may be headed to court.
Mr. Guzzo complied yesterday with a commission order to bring his notes. He supplied three folders of photocopies of his notes, but the names of his informants were blacked out.
In his sworn testimony yesterday, he explained that he had promised not to reveal the names of many of the informants who came to him and requested anonymity. The former provincial judge said he believed elected representatives had a privileged relationship, similar to that of a lawyer and client, allowing them to make promises of confidentiality.
He said he made such a promise to the Cornwall lawyer who, in 1995, alerted him to the allegations of widespread sexual abuse over three decades. He told the inquiry he subsequently made the same promise to many of the more than 90 others who came to him for help.
Commission counsel Peter Engelmann told the inquiry he had already warned Mr. Guzzo that the names might be “important” to the commission’s work and he would have to produce them. Mr. Engelmann said the commission might not make the names public, but needed to compare them to the stories of the more than 30 victims who have filed affidavits detailing their abuse and naming their alleged abusers.
Addressing the confidentiality issue, Allan Manson, counsel for Citizens of Community Renewal, argued elected officials did not have the privileged relationship lawyers had with clients. He also said the commission’s need for the names “outweighs any need for confidentiality.”
Following a closed session, commissioner Justice Normand Glaude said his previous ruling stood and Mr. Guzzo had to produce the documents. He instructed Mr. Guzzo to return this morning with his original, handwritten notes.
Mr. Guzzo did not say he would defy the order to produce the original notes, which he said were stored in his cottage in Westport. However, he warned the commissioner he would “go to court to protect some of those names.”
Since the inquiry began almost three years ago, more than 85 witnesses have testified in more than 150 days of hearings. Critics — including some of the many publicly-funded lawyers involved — have said the inquiry’s mandate was too broad and the investigation is dragging on too long. Estimates of the cost to date are in excess of $30 million, with another $10 million to $20 million still to be spent.
Document Expert To Review Inquiry Witness Papers
Cornwall News AM 1220
November 14, 2007 — A third party will be asked to look over the notes of a Cornwall Public Inquiry witness. Former Ottawa area MPP Garry Guzzo was ordered to bring original documents relating to child sex abuse allegations in the area. He did, but there’s a problem. A number of names are blacked out and Guzzo could not verify who’s who. Lead Commission Counsel Peter Engelmann tells AM 1220 News the inquiry needs to know who is named. Engelmann says inquiry staff will have an independent expert or a police force scrutinize the documents. He did not indicate when he thought the originals were marked but did say the notes would be reviewed in a matter of days. Guzzo will be back on the stand next week.