|Cornwall Standard Freeholder
15 November 2007
Posted By Terri Saunders
A forensic expert will examine documents on which former Ottawa-area MPP Garry Guzzo blacked out names of people he had contact with regarding historical child sexual abuse in Cornwall.
During a closed hearing Wednesday morning, Guzzo attempted to recall names once contained in several pages of notes the former judge says he made in late 2000, but at times admitted he was no longer certain of the accuracy of his memory.
On Tuesday, Guzzo was ordered by Comm. Normand Glaude to travel to his cottage in Westport, Ont., just north of Kingston, and retrieve the original notes. Guzzo had previously provided the commission with copies on which more than a dozen names were apparently blacked out.
Guzzo argued the individuals who approached him in the past did so in his capacity as a legislator and their identities were privileged. Glaude didn’t disagree with Guzzo entirely, but suggested the former MPP should provide the originals to commission counsel so that the names could be scrutinized in a closed session.
Guzzo returned to the hearings room Wednesday morning with documents in hand. He had found them, he said, at his home in Ottawa and didn’t have to travel all the way to Westport to get them.
Despite his efforts, however, the exercise didn’t move the process very much further ahead. The names had also been blacked on the originals.
Guzzo was then asked exactly when he’d made the redactions, and suggested it may have been after he met with commission counsel in the summer of 2006 or it could have been as early as 2004 after he was defeated in the provincial election.
“You’re telling me you tampered with these original documents because you knew you were going to come here,” asked Glaude, “and that’s why you blacked out these names?”
“I’m not certain when I did that,” said Guzzo. “It looks like I did it in 2004 when I was winding down the constituency office at Queen’s Park.”
Guzzo said at the time he was shredding much of his documents – by his estimate, somewhere in the 90 per cent range – which had been kept at his office over the years.
“I decided to keep these files,” said Guzzo. “In January 2005, I made a second set of notes, taking the names out, because I was not satisfied there was going to be an inquiry.
“I can assure you that it wasn’t in contemplation of this (inquiry) that I did this.”
Guzzo’s blacked-out originals seemed to pose additional concerns for some of the parties at the inquiry Wednesday. Upon reviewing the originals against the copies sent to commission counsel in recent weeks, there appear to be differences in the way some of the names are blacked out.
“The scribbles are different (on the copies) from these originals,” said David Sherriff-Scott, an attorney representing the Alexandria-Cornwall Roman Catholic Diocese at the inquiry. “It bears some close scrutiny, but you’ll see they are different.”
Sherriff-Scott said he didn’t believe it was appropriate for the commission to accept Guzzo’s original into evidence.
“I don’t think these documents are reliable and I think it’s mischief to have them tendered,” said Sherriff-Scott. “One possibility of mischief is that this gentleman did this last night.” Commission counsel confirmed they should have the results of an examination of the documents within a matter of days.
In the meantime, Guzzo has begun testifying about information he received from individuals about the “Cornwall situation.”
Guzzo said he was first approached by a city lawyer named Duncan MacDonald, who has since passed away, in the mid-1990s.
“He (Duncan) said (former Crown attorney) Malcolm (MacDonald) had acted in some way and he was going to end up taking the hit,” said Guzzo. “He (Duncan) said there were a lot of lawyers involved in this thing; it doesn’t look good. Malcolm was going to take the hit for this thing.”
Malcolm MacDonald was found guilty of obstructing justice in 1995 but received an absolute discharge.
The payment was made only after Silmser signed a document suggesting he would seek no further civil or criminal action against his alleged abuser.
MacDonald was found to have obstructed justice by “dissuading” Silmser from participating in any criminal prosecution, actions a judge determined were inappropriate.
Guzzo also talked about times he vacationed in Florida in the 1990s and he recalled a time when he had a conversation with a retired Fort Lauderdale police chief.
“We had a lengthy chat and he told me some interesting situations about powerful people from Ohio,” said Guzzo, referring to the officer’s commentary regarding the possibility men from the Cornwall area frequented two motels in an area known to be frequented by pedophiles, “and he (told me) there was a tribe from Cornwall that came down here.”
Guzzo will return to the inquiry next week.
City lawyer Sean Adams is expected to testify when hearings resume this morning at 9:30 a.m.
Names in Guzzo files coded for anonymity
The Ottawa Citizen
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Former MPP and judge Garry Guzzo gave original documents yesterday to the Cornwall public inquiry into an alleged pedophile ring in the city.
After a morning of in-camera discussions yesterday, many of those named in the documents were assigned code numbers to protect their anonymity. A publication ban was placed on the names.
The documents were notes he had made after talking to concerned citizens and alleged victims. Although the original records had the names blacked out, a backup list was available, although some of the names on that list could not be matched to his original documents.
© The Ottawa Citizen 2007