|Questions Over Legal Representation At Cornwall Public Inquiry
Cornwall News AM 1220
December 13, 2007 — Hairs were being split at the Cornwall Public Inquiry yesterday and it was hard to follow. Ken Seguin is a former probation officer who has been accused of sexually abusing young people. He committed suicide in 1993 and was never charged. Things became confusing when there was discussion on who should represent his interests. The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services says it represents all employees, past and present in regards to policy and procedure. However, it will not represent personal interests of former employees. Commissioner Normand Glaude appeared less than impressed with the amount of time the matter took before recommending the Ministry of the Attorney General take care of the personal side of things.
Frustrated Glaude ends day early
Cornwall Standard Freeholder
13 December 2007
The commissioner helming the Cornwall Public Inquiry was clearly frustrated Wednesday with two lawyers who are both funded by the public to represent the same individual.
Comm. Normand Glaude abruptly announced the inquiry would end earlier than expected after hearing from the lawyer for the estate of Ken Seguin and the lawyer for the provincial Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
One more witness from the Cornwall Probation and Parole Services office was expected to be called before Glaude decided to call it a day at 3:45 p.m. Two witnesses had already been heard from by that point in time.
Michael Neville, who represents the now-deceased probation officer Ken Seguin’s estate, had previously gone before the commission to request additional funding. Seguin, who was never charged with any criminal offence, was accused by a number of alleged victims for abusing them.
He stood before the commissioner yesterday to explain that he needed more funding to be able to cross-examine witnesses from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. Glaude had recommended funding for one counsel to represent the estate of Seguin and his brother, Doug Seguin in the early stages of the inquiry.
At that time, Glaude said there was “no need for the estate or family to represent his interests” during Phase I of the inquiry, since “the ministry has indicated it currently represents Ken Seguin as he was a former employee.”
But Joe Neuberger, who represents the ministry, said yesterday to the commissioner the ministry represents Seguin as long as it falls within the ministry’s position. The ministry has stated there are conflicts of interest in which it wouldn’t be representing Seguin. For example, Seguin’s brother, Doug Seguin, has categorically denied during his testimony his brother was a homosexual, but a number of individuals who worked at the Cornwall probation office or within the ministry have suggested otherwise. Doug Seguin said he believes there is a public perception that equates homosexuals and pedophiles as being one and the same.
The ministry would not question a witness about this, but Seguin’s lawyer, as a representative of the estate, may have to find out whether the witness knew this as a fact from Seguin or if this was just a rumour he or she heard.
Basically, two different lawyers are being paid to represent the same individual.
However, as the one who recommends how the public’s money should be spent, Glaude said he finds such a distinction “a complete waste of time.”
“The ministry for corrections should be funding this,” Glaude continued.
“I will certainly recommend funding for the cross-examining of witnesses only. I find it unfortunate we have to take up the rest of the time to deal with this. Whether it comes from the Ministry of the Attorney General or if it comes from the Ministry of Corrections, this funding is coming out of public funds. I find it deplorable this matter cannot be resolved by the Ministry of Corrections.”
Neuberger said he could not comment to the media about this.
Earlier in the day, two witnesses completed their testimony at the inquiry. Both worked for the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services in late 1993 when a former probationer made an allegation that a probation officer had been abusing him. On Tuesday, Bill Roy, the regional manager who oversaw six probation and parole offices throughout eastern Ontario, including Cornwall’s, said he received a call from David Silmser in December 1993. Silmser was alleging Seguin abused him and Roy said he was upset that Seguin had killed himself less than a month earlier.
Silmser, Roy testified, had also claimed there were others out there like him who had been abused, and that he was trying to get money from Seguin and if he didn’t get that money, he would go to the newspapers and sue.
Roy said after he hung up the phone with Silmser, he contacted the Cornwall police, the OPP and the ministry’s independent investigations unit.
Lenna Bradburn, the director of the independent investigations unit, testified Tuesday and Wednesday, stating she simply couldn’t recall the case at all. Bradburn said it was her decision not to do a further investigation and hand the information Roy collected to the ministry’s legal department. Lawyers at the inquiry have been trying to understand why apparently little follow-up was done after ministry officials received the complaint and why – if Silmser had alluded there were other victims – other probationers under Seguin’s care weren’t contacted.