Dear Free Speech Advocates and Radical Press Supporters,
On Tuesday, July 9th, 2013 I once again donned my suit and tie and along with my dedicated wife drove into the small city of Quesnel in order to attend court on the matter of the Sec. 319(2) CCC charge and arrest for the purported crime of “willfully promoting hatred against ‘people of the Jewish religion or ethnic group’ originally brought on by B’nai Brith Canada’s Harry Abrams and serial Section 13 complainant Richard Warman.
At my last appearance on May 28th, 2013 I had expected to find out whether or not the Crown’s new strategy of going for a “direct indictment” instead of allowing me to have the customary preliminary hearing in order to determine whether they had a strong enough case to move forward to a trial by judge and jury it turned out that the B.C. Attorney General’s office had still not made up its mind. As a result Judge Morgan was forced to extend the time period further and set a new date of July 9, 2013, one which Crown Counsel Jennifer Johnston felt would give the AG’s office more than sufficient time to determine whether to go ahead with Crown’s proposed unusual move.
It was a welcome relief for my wife and myself to finally get a month and a half off from the seemingly endless and onerous legal harassment that’s been going on since May of 2012. Unless someone has been forced to run through this gauntlet of appearance upon appearance combined with never-ending and surprising changes whenever they do appear it’s hard to imagine the stress and strain that it puts upon a person or a relationship in the case of a married couple. Now we basically could get on with our lives for a few weeks at least and enjoy a little peace and quiet while the Crown was making up its mind as to what direction the proceedings would take.
June passed without any word on the direct indictment and July also brought forth nothing in the way of new disclosure on this matter. Finally on Monday, July 8, 2013, the day prior to my appearance I received an email letter from CC Johnston containing a one line statement, “The Crown will not be filing a direct indictment on file 25166-5.”
Knowing that the Attorney General’s office would not be going for a direct indictment was good news and meant that at least now there was a still a glimmer of hope that I might be able to proceed with my Rowbotham application (to get a government funded legal counsel to defend me) and hold a preliminary inquiry to determine the merits of the aforementioned Sec. 319(2) charge.
The time for the appearance was 1:30 p.m. and we were there, as usual, a few minutes in advance. When I checked the docket on the wall outside the lower court room where the proceedings have been taking place I noticed that my name wasn’t on the list! What’s going on now was my first thought. I double checked just to make sure I hadn’t missed it and then decided to go upstairs to the court registry office to find out what was going on when one of the court clerks came by and said that there wasn’t going to be a court appearance for me today and that I should go up to the next floor and see the trial coordinator.
This has been the manner in which the Crown has acted since the beginning of my case. Knowing that I don’t have a lawyer to represent me Crown Counsel Jennifer Johnston, when she sent me her email the day before, could easily have informed me at the same time that I wouldn’t have to appear in court and instead ought to see the trial coordinator to set up dates for my Rowbotham application and for the preliminary hearing. But, out of either oversight or spite (and given all of her previous aggressiveness and calculated efforts to have me perceived in the same light as a child pornographer I would venture to say that it’s the latter) she failed to notify of this simple procedure.
So I and my dear wife went into the trial coordinator’s office and discussed the three immediate concerns related to my case. The coordinator was obviously becoming impatient with all the delays over the past months and was determined to set some dates. The first thing on her agenda was to call, via telephone, Keith Evans who is legal counsel for the B.C. Attorney General’s office in order to discuss my Rowbotham application which he is overseeing. There was some banter back and forth between the two parties in order to clarify exactly what was going on. I had submitted my Notice of Application and Affidavit to the AG back on April 23, 2013 and received a package of material back from Mr. Evans on May 11th explaining all the additional information that I was expected to furnish him with prior to a hearing taking place on the matter.
Then, when Crown suddenly decided to go for a direct indictment things changed and I had to wait for verification on that matter prior to completing the Rowbotham application because of the fact that if a direct indictment was going to be the method of proceeding then I would have to make the Rowbotham application out for a lawyer who would represent at the trial stage. If a direct indictment wasn’t going to be method used then I would have to make the application out to get a lawyer to represent me at the preliminary hearing.
Now that we knew what direction the Crown was heading in AG counsel Evans told the trial coordinator that he needed the additional information from me regarding my financial status before proceeding with the Rowbotham application and that then the Crown could set a date for a hearing on the application. The trial coordinator set August 13th, 2013 as the time in which I should have completed the required additional information and furnished AG Evans with it. When I returned to her office on that date we would then fix a date for a hearing on the matter. I would be expected to appear at this determined time and defend myself without counsel as I attempted to justify why I felt I could not afford to hire a lawyer and why I also felt that the case was much too important and complex for me to deal with it on my own. The outcome of this hearing will decide whether or not I will qualify for a government appointed lawyer to assist me in my defense. If I am refused it means having to go it alone without counsel and that could drastically change the nature of the case in undetermined ways.
One further point regarding the Rowbotham application and the preliminary hearing needs to be highlighted here. From the outset of this “hate crime” show trial venture by the Crown there’s been a concerted effort to downplay the preliminary hearing stage of events. Why this is occurring I’m not exactly sure but it’s been happening over and over again to the point where I feel it needs to be discussed. The primary purpose of a preliminary hearing is to determine whether or not the Crown has sufficient evidence to proceed to trial. Crown has also been stating that there is a very low threshold which it needs to meet in order for the case to proceed but I believe there are some critical issues which they are overlooking. In my case where the Crown itself (through the actions of the RCMP) broke the law right from the start by issuing an illegal search warrant to Det. Cst. Terry Wilson that then allowed his “Hate Crime Team” to enter my home and steal all of computers, email files and subsequently all of my firearms was a fundamental breach of the Criminal Code of Canada which states under Section 183 that a Sec. 319(2) “offense” does NOT allow for search and seizure of an accused premises and the removal or interception of any private communications or electronic files. My former counsel Doug Christie had allotted 5 days of time in order to deal with this and other matters during the preliminary hearing but in fixing a date the trial co-ordinator booked for only 5 hours on the January 22nd. I will be checking into this further as well as addressing it with counsel should my Rowbotham application prove successful.
Having dealt with that issue the trial coordinator then brought up the matter of my previous application to the court regarding particularization of disclosure. Readers who have been following these updates will know that I applied earlier on for particularization of the evidence so that I could get an idea of what it was that the Crown was planning to use during the trial to determine that I ought to be found guilty of this “hate” crime. All I now have is well over a thousand pages of documents filled with all sorts of articles, online books, etc. that the Crown (via Det. Cst. Terry Wilson of the BC Hate Crime Unit) has been downloading from RadicalPress.com in what it purports to be an “ongoing investigation” to back up their claim that I am guilty of committing said Sec. 319(2) ‘crime’. In order for me to defend myself against these charges I need to know what posts on the website are being used but when the application first came up before Judge Wilson on May 28th, 2013 Crown Counsel Johnston attempted, with a rhetorical flourish of her hand, to simply dismiss the application outright stating that there was no legal precedent or case law that required the Crown to furnish me with any particularization whatsoever. Given that my application was one which had been prepared by my former counsel Douglas Christie and was replete with case law backing it up, all the sound and fury emanating from CC Johnston appeared to signify nothing beyond theatrical antics rather than anything legal and so Judge Morgan determined not to delve further into it. The trial coordinator asked me if I would like to address the matter when I returned to court on August 13th and I said that would be fine.
The final date to fix was one for the preliminary hearing and already, because of the many delays and circumlocutions instigated by the Crown, this meant that it wouldn’t be taking place until next year. After checking her schedule the trial coordinator chose the date of January 22nd, 2014 for the preliminary hearing with an estimate time of 5 hours allotted. She also set a date of January 7, 2014 for a trial confirmation hearing. All of these proposed dates could possibly change if the Rowbotham application is approved and my new counsel has any concerns over anything.
For Justice and Freedom of Speech for Everyone Everywhere,
Arthur Topham Publisher & Editor The Radical Press “Digging to the root of the issues since 1998″
P.S. As a final parting note I would once again please ask readers to consider helping me out financially with a donation if they can. Please go to the top of the Home Page at www.radicalpress.com and click on the “PLEASE DONATE TO THE RADICAL PRESS FREE SPEECH DEFENSE FUND” link where you will find all the information necessary to send financial help. Thank you.