How Michael Bryant, the Executive Director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association killed Darcy Allan Sheppard and how the justice system was manipulated to set him free

August 30, 2018

This article is based on a Twitter thread. As the 10th anniversary of Michael Bryant’s killing of Darcy Alan Sheppard approaches, we will be posting more detailed articles dealing with the evidence presented in the Twitter thread

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On August 31,2009 former Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant killed Metis bike messenger Darcy Allan Sheppard in a road rage attack. Bryant was charged with criminal negligence causing death & dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death. Michael Bryant’s actions were captured on surveillance video and witnessed by several people, and subject to forensic evidence.

The Attorney General for Ontario brought in criminal defence attorney Richard Peck as “special prosecutor” because Michael Bryant as Attorney General of Ontario had been most prosecutors’ boss. Richard Peck was unlicensed to practice law in Ontario so he turned to Toronto criminal defence lawyer Mark Sandler as his agent. Like Michael Bryant, Richard Peck was from the Victoria BC, area. Both were from political families. Both were boxers. Both were lawyers

One month before he killed Darcy Allan Sheppard in a road rage attack, Michael Bryant told the Toronto Star “road rage is back in my life”.

In his memoir “28 Seconds” Michael Bryant admitted that the months leading up to the death of Darcy Allan Sheppard were a difficult time for him.

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EYEWITNESSES TO A KILLING

August 29, 2018

Darcy Allan Sheppard

Friday, August 31 will be the 9th anniversary of the night Michael Bryant attacked and killed Darcy Allan Sheppard. “Eyewitnesses to a killing” is another excerpt from Jennifer Wells’ e-book, “Lost Boy: The Death of Darcy Allan Sheppard”

Let’s start with the criminal defence attorney turned “special prosecutor” who made the case in court to withdraw charges against his fellow attorney, former Attorney General of Ontario and current executive director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Michael Bryant.

As Richard Peck said in his address to the court, “Eyewitnesses see different things.” In a telephone interview in mid-August, Peck, a B.C. criminal lawyer appointed as special prosecutor by the Attorney General of Ontario, discussed the reliability of the witness accounts in this case. “There were quite disparate accounts of what happened from eyewitnesses or alleged eyewitnesses,” he says. “There were at least a dozen and they were quite disparate in terms of what they saw, or purported to see, the speeds, the interactions, all those types of things.” No one witness, he pointed out in his address to the court, appeared to observe the events from start to finish. Mark Sandler, a Toronto lawyer appointed counsel for the Crown in this case, was also present on the call. “As is often the case when you’ve got a reconstruction of a traffic-related matter, the eyewitness accounts are wildly at variance with each other,” Sandler says. “One has to look at more objective evidence in determining precisely what happened.”

What Peck doesn’t tell you is that the following two eyewitnesses gave consistent reports that match the surveillance videos and forensic evidence. Victoria Switzman is so close to Bryant’s car she can be seen on the surveillance video waving her arms as she screamed at Bryant to stop his attack. No other witnesses dispute the Switzmans’ account. Peck and Sandler did not interview the Switzmans’. They did not present any of the Switzmans’ eyewitness accounts in court. Instead, they paraphrased statements from witnesses who did not see anything until they HEARD Michael Bryant ram his car into Darcy Allan Sheppard, knock him on the hood of his car and scraped Sheppard’s bike at least 22 feet along the road. Sheppard was bleeding. Mark Sandler dismissed this as “moderately slight contact.” For most witnesses, the first thing they saw was Sheppard getting up off the road after Bryant attacked him with his car. Richard Peck also chose not to show the surveillance videos that captured most of Bryant’s attack on Sheppard.

Watch the surveillance video, hear the 911 calls of the eyewitnesses, and watch part of the eyewitness statements. (One day soon these unedited videos will be released in their entirety accompanied by transcripts.)

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Scooter Girl

August 25, 2018

Friday August 31 will be the 9th anniversary of the day former Attorney General for Ontario and current executive director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Michael Bryant, attacked and killed Indigenous cyclist Darcy Allan Sheppard. Over the next year I will be posting articles going through every detail of the evidence revealing never before seen video, pictures and details that special prosecutors Richard Peck and Mark Sandler chose to keep from the public.

 

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Darcy Allan Sheppard

 

Let’s begin by introducing Darcy Allan Sheppard though this except from Jennifer Wells’ ebook “Lost Boy: The Death of Darcy Allan Sheppard”

 

Scooter Girl

 

“It’s a lovely little thing,” says Martha McOuat of her pale blue metallic scooter, a sweet Vespa 50 that she rides when the weather is warm and the pavement dry.

 

McOuat sounds a bit surprised to be tracked down, but she’s happy to chat, recalling as best she can the spring day four years ago when she exited her office at the Ontario Power Authority — McOuat was a senior policy analyst — only to find the scooter badly scratched on one side.

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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

BY ALLAN SHEPPARD JANUARY 17, 2018

FROM NOW MAGAZINE

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

IMBALANCE IN THE COURT ROOM (PART 3)

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

IMBALANCE IN THE COURT ROOM (PART 2)

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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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