Killers like Michael Bryant should not speak for their victims

May 17, 2018

Today we call on RightsCon to honour its stated commitment to the human rights of marginalized communities by disinviting former Ontario Attorney General and recently-appointed head of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association Michael Bryant from this conference, due to his involvement in the death of a Métis man in Toronto nine years ago.

International attendees from government, civil society, the tech sector, and human rights are welcomed to Canada for RightsCon, where the recent acquittals of two white men in the deaths of two young Indigenous people mean that Indigenous justice issues are fresh in the public consciousness.

The widely-publicized case included a carefully-curated portrayal of the victim, Darcy Allan Sheppard, which included repeated references to his “troubled” life and substance use, a tactic which has been seen so often in cases involving Indigenous victims of violence, including recently Tina Fontaine and Colten Boushie.

Bryant’s recent appointment as head of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association is troubling, and would appear to run contrary to their stated mandate. We now therefore invite RightsCon to send a different message about who it invites into the shared space and what that signifies about whose human rights are valued


Memo to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association on the appointment of Michael Bryant – WTF were you thinking?

January 23, 2018



What was the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) thinking when it chose Michael Bryant as its new executive director and general counsel?

There was no formal statement issued by CCLA on the appointment, only a tweet January 11 stating that the organization is “thrilled” to have Bryant on board. According to Bryant, members of the board reached out to him some time in 2017 about the position. He says part of his focus will be on issues affecting people who “live on and near the streets.”

Perhaps Bryant is a credible defender of constitutional rights. He was, after all, the province’s former attorney general and is politically experienced and connected. More to the point, he understands civil rights – at least his own, which he says were egregiously violated by the Toronto police after a fatal encounter in August 2009 with my late son, Darcy Allan Sheppard, on Bloor.

Read the rest of this at NOW MAGAZINE


Case #1: RCMP Sgt. Gary Tidsbury involvement in attack on suspect in Mindy Tran’s murder

December 5, 2016


The following is the first case in a series where we examine several of Richard Peck’s cases where he acted on behalf of the government as a special prosecutor. The analysis will demonstrate at the very least a perception that Peck may have a pro-accused viewpoint that may lead to a propensity to withdraw charges in cases involving police or government officials. Peck’s pro-accused bias created a perception that he was not independent when he acted as special prosecutor in case against former Ontario Attorney General, Michael Bryant.

 (R. v. Murrin, 1999 CanLII 6025 (BC SC)


On August 17, 1994 eight year old Mindy Tran disappeared near her home in Rutland, BC. Her body was discovered on October 11, 1994. The prime suspect in her murder was a neighbour, Shannon Murrin. He would be arrested, tried and acquitted of her murder.



An RCMP review of the police investigation found that it “was plagued from its first day by police mistakes and personnel problems that ultimately doomed their case against Shannon Murrin” (“Tran murder case doomed from first day, review says”, Globe and Mail, July 18, 2001)



The report noted that the lead investigator, RCMP Sergeant Gary Tidsbury, should have been replaced. “The downfall of this case was the integrity of the investigation.”  “There were a few whose bad judgment, loss of objectivity and a failure to live up to one’s duty as a member of the RCMP contributed to the downfall of this file.”



Murrin’s defence attorney’s argued that Tidsbury investigated with tunnel vision and decided very early that Murrin was guilty.



The review team said that the integrity of the investigation came in to question as a result of a beating of Murrin by three men, “described by RCMP spokesman Cpl. Grant Learned as controlled by the police.” (“Review critical of RCMP”, Kelowna Capital News, July 18th, 2001). The men claimed they were put up to the beating by investigators, including Gary Tidsbury.

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Richard Peck’s Propensity to Withdraw Charges

December 5, 2016



After police charged former Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant with criminal negligence causing death and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death in relation to the death of cyclist Darcy Allan Sheppard, the Ministry of the Attorney General appointed BC criminal defence lawyer, and perennial independent prosecutor, Richard Peck as the Special Prosecutor. Since Peck was not licensed to practice in Ontario, Toronto criminal defence attorney Mark Sandler acted as his local agent.



Peck just happened to be in Ontario as he was already (and often) employed by the Ministry of the Attorney General as a Special Prosecutor in an extremely sensitive and embarrassing case for the Ontario Liberal government. The case involved allegations of alleged trial fixing by OPP Sergeant Michael Rutigliano and Ontario Crown Attorneys. The charges in that case would also be withdrawn.


A few short months before Bryant’s arrest, Peck again helped out the Ontario Liberal Government as Special Prosecutor in the case of two police officers who were accused of unlawfully strip searching Crown Attorney, Roger Shallow. Peck once again withdrew those charges.


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How Michael Bryant killed Darcy Allan Sheppard and how the justice system was manipulated to set him free

September 30, 2016



All of the tweets from this twitter essay are in this thread from the first tweet



September 27, 2016



When special prosecutor Richard Peck withdrew all charges against former Ontario Attorney General, Michael Bryant resulting from Bryant’s killing of Darcy Allan Sheppard, he failed to warn the court and the public about the credibility and bias of the prime video expert in the case.

Peck based his decision in large part due to the analysis of former Vancouver police officer Grant Fredericks whose work has been scathingly discredited as flawed, and biased in favour of law enforcement officials.

Grant Fredericks was a Vancouver police officer from 1988 until 2000. He is now an instructor at the FBI National Academy, an advisor to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and a principal instructor for the non-profit Law Enforcement and Emergency Services Video Association (LEVA).

Fredericks’ work has come under fire on both sides of the border as it has been repeatedly discredited. In the case of the death of Robert Dziekanski at the hands of the RCMP, Richard Peck acted as the special prosecutor. The Dziekanski case resulted in the dismissal of [Fredericks’] expert testimony and raised questions about “his cozy relationship with the Vancouver police.”

In a United States case involving the death of Otto Zehm, also at the hands of the police, the Justice Department argued that Fredericks offered his services to police and came to his conclusions before he finished analyzing the video of the incident.

The Center for Justice in Spokane, Washington reported:

“The gist of the Justice Department’s rebuttal is that Fredericks has a long record of bias in favor of embattled police officers and police departments, and that he regularly shapes his expert testimony accordingly.”

These shocking revelations raise credibility and bias issues surrounding the expert video evidence in the case against Michael Bryant. They create a perception of conflict of interest and special treatment for the former chief administrator of the justice system in the province.

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August 31, 2016

“Two-tier justice means that those who can afford a legal dream team can buy their way out of jail” – Michael Bryant




After police charged former Attorney General Michael Bryant with criminal negligence causing death and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death in relation to the death of cyclist Darcy Allan Sheppard, the Ministry of the Attorney General appointed BC criminal defence lawyer, Richard Peck as Special Prosecutor.


In September 20009, many news outlets reported based on a source familiar with the situation, that, In order to avoid a perception of a conflict of interest, Bryant’s successor, Attorney General Chris Bentley and his staff would “not be involved in Bryant’s case or take questions about it.”


“Instead, public servants in the ministry will deal with the file and report to deputy attorney general Murray Segal directly. Segal “moved very quickly to put the appropriate firewalls in place,” the source said.” (Metro September 3, 2009)


The problem with this move is that Murray Segal was also the deputy attorney general during Michael Bryant’s time as Attorney General, which meant that Bryant’s own deputy was handling his file. In fact even today, Bryant has a testimonial on Segal’s website:


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