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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Ghomeshi v Bryant

April 24, 2016

 

IMG_GHB-1

After the trial and acquittal of Jian Ghomeshi much has been written and spoken regarding his lawyer Marie Henein and her work with another famous client, former Ontario Attorney General, Michael Bryant. In both cases the media attributed Henein’s success to her ability to find exculpatory evidence supporting her clients. The question that has not been addressed is why did Ghomeshi’s case go to trial but not Bryant’s?  Why did Henein reveal her entire defence to the Crown in Bryant’s case, in order to avoid a trial but not in Ghomeshi’s case?

 

The simple answer would be that Henein felt the evidence, against Jian Ghomeshi (including the exculpatory evidence she had uncovered) was stronger than the evidence against Michael Bryant. The Crown in Ghomeshi’s case went to trial because they believed they had a reasonable prospect of conviction. The Crown in Bryant’s case, represented by special prosecutor Richard Peck and his Ontario agent Mark Sandler determined that there was no reasonable prospect of conviction.

 

Both defendants had the same lawyer, so let’s compare the strength of the evidence in each case.

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WHY DID MICHAEL BRYANT WAIT THREE MINUTES TO CALL 911?

October 22, 2015

On August 31, 2009, former Ontario Attorney General, Michael Bryant was involved in a road rage attack that killed cyclist Darcy Allan Sheppard. Bryant was arrested that evening but he did not make a statement to police. He would not make a statement until almost eight months later when he and his lawyers received complete and full disclosure of the Crown’s case. Bryant did however make a 911 call to police. After he successfully knocked Darcy Allan Sheppard off his car with a fire hydrant, Bryant fled to the Hyatt Hotel on Avenue Road just north of Bloor. It became the staging area for his defence.

BryantSaabHyatt

Bryant described his actions in his book, “28 Seconds”

“So I turned right on Avenue Road and drove into the hotel’s circular driveway and found, I thought, sanctuary. I stopped the car and pulled up the emergency brake-for what would be the final time. I couldn’t find my cell phone. Susan offered hers.”

In a video interview with the Toronto Star, he said: “And so I pulled over and called 911. It was… police need to come and protect us.”

In his CBC interview with Amanda Lang he said: “So I drove in and called 911 and ah said, help, bring police..”

His lawyer, Marie Henein wrote in her article, “Split Seconds Matter,” “He drove to safety just around the corner to a hotel and called 911.”

What’s missing from all of these descriptions is that when Michael Bryant drove to the Hyatt Hotel, in what he described as a state of fear, he did not call 911 right away. He waited three minutes!

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28 Questions!

February 14, 2015

Follow Allan Sheppard’s blog on his son’s violent death at the hands of former Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant:

“In the meantime, know that I hope to talk here about my late son Darcy Allan Sheppard and the circumstances and events that preceded and followed his violent death in Toronto on 31 August 2009.”

Mr. Sheppard will also comment on his efforts to understand the special prosecutor’s decision to drop the charges.

“I will also comment extensively on my largely unsuccessful efforts to find out why and how Mr. Peck and Mark Sandler, the Toronto lawyer who oversaw the investigation, chose to exonerate.”

28 Questions


Michael Bryant’s complaints of harsh treatment by Toronto Police proven false

August 27, 2012

Bryant’s Lawyer praised Police investigation

Bryant Watch August 27, 2012

Michael Bryant in custody

Michael Bryant’s memoir about the night he killed Darcy Allan Sheppard is to be released tomorrow. The book is entitled “28 Seconds” and gives his self-serving account of the events that evening.

Bryant has been on a media tour of soft-ball interviews allowing him to promote the book while avoiding questions regarding the parts of his version that directly conflict with the evidence and or prior statements contained in court transcripts. Bryant revealed that he was an alcoholic until 2006. It’s not known if and when he had any relapses because no one in the media had asked him the question.

One of the new charges Bryant raised is police rushed to judgment when they charged him in Sheppard’s death.

“He is wrong,” police spokesman Mark Pugash protested.

“He had a team of very aggressive, very good lawyers whose job it is to jump on anything that will help their client, and we haven’t heard anything about this (until now),” Pugash said. “If he had all these concerns, why has he been quiet for the last three years? Why have his lawyers not raised a single one of these concerns?”

In fact in the court transcripts Bryant’s lawyer Marie Henein praised the treatment Bryant received from police:

“I want to take a moment to also express our thanks to Detective Britton, Detective Lane, Detective Lalla, for a thorough and evenhanded investigation.

I was confident throughout this case that we would be treated the same as, not better and not worse, than any other accused, that Mr. Peck would do no more and no less than is demanded in the prosecution of any case.”

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More Coverage of Michael Bryant’s case

June 4, 2010

There is a facebook group seeking Justice for Darcy Sheppard

Sign the petition

AND

WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?! no.28 – Blood on Bloor: Michael Bryant, Privilege, and Murder.

This is an interesting podcast about the case: Listen here

For those who might be unfamiliar with What’s All This Then?! – it’s typically a podcast about unusual Toronto musicians. Interviews, reviews, etc. This episode is an exception: it’s an examination of what actually happened between ex-attorney general Michael Bryant and bike courier Al Sheppard which resulted in Sheppard’s death.

AND:

From the Legion of Decency Blog – Sometimes the Dragon Wins

That said, as the special prosecutor detailed his reasons for dropping the charges, it was hard to feel like justice was being served, or that we’re all still somehow equal in the eyes of the law.

I don’t know why a “special prosecutor” had to be brought in to handle the case, although it makes sense that you can’t have a local Crown prosecuting his former boss without somebody questioning the possibility of impropriety. But when this special prosecutor detailed his reasons for dropping charges, I couldn’t help feeling a greater impropriety was taking place with somebody in charge who would never need to face much local scrutiny or accountability.

Instead of making sure Michael Bryant didn’t get preferential treatment, what was revealed yesterday suggested that’s exactly what he received.

Prosecutors and Bryant’s legal team seemed to share an inordinate amount of information and a lot of time and money was spent investigating the character of the deceased while hard forensic evidence (or the fact it had never been collected) seemed of lesser importance. It was as if both sides were trying the case in private, searching for a path to make it all go away.

Read more at The Legion of Decency


Canada’s cycle couriers: in the eyes of the law, roadkill

June 4, 2010

2004 Markus Cook Award Winner, Buffalo Bill writes an insightful piece about the failure of justice in Toronto.

By Buffalo Bill

The Guardian, May 28, 2010

What message does it send out that Michael Bryant faces no charges after his car crushed Darcy Allan Sheppard to death?

The video of the initial encounter is clear: a cyclist pulls up in front of a stationary car at red traffic light, and stops; after a few moments, the car jerks forward, reverses and then drives straight into the cyclist, knocking him off his bike and onto the bonnet and off again. The car stops briefly, and then drives around the cyclist to carry on down the road. As the car passes, the cyclist grabs hold of the car. Exactly what happens next is not as obvious, as there is no video, but at least this much is not disputed: the car moves over into the oncoming carriageway, hits some street furniture on the sidewalk, denting its side-panels, and at some point, the cyclist loses his grip on the car and falls dead in the roadway.

The driver later hands himself over the police and, in due course, is charged with “criminal negligence causing death and dangerous driving causing death”. Last week, the legal proceedings reached their conclusion. The charges against the driver were dropped by the special prosecutor appointed by the province of Ontario to investigate the case, who said that the prosecution had determined that there was no reasonable prospect of conviction.

An obvious miscarriage of justice, you might say, but an outcome that was feared by the Toronto messenger community once the identity of the driver became known. Michael Bryant is a former attorney general of Ontario, and Darcy Allan Sheppard was a bicycle messenger. The incident became a major media event, not least because Bryant engaged a well-known Canadian PR company very shortly after Sheppard’s death.

Read the full report at the Guardian