Gregg and I dressed up in our best formal clothes Friday morning and set off to small claims court in Oakville for a "settlement" conference in the action we filed against the Halton and Toronto police. This report is the best we can write from memory. We will try to get the transcript of the small part actually before the court if possible.
There isn't that much difference between US and Canadian courts. We showed up at a small courtroom where there was a list of cases posted next to the door and identified ourselves to the clerk. The clerk suggested those who have not talked about settling should talk to each other. The lawyer de jour for both police departments, Kevin A. McGivney, from the firm Borden Ladner Gervais, identified himself.
Edward A. Ayers, the partner who has been dealing with the case so far was not there. BLG is representing both the Halton and Toronto police. From the firm's web site, McGivney is not a lightweight.
About that time the Judge Henderson came in. Judges in Canada don't affect the powdered wig of the higher courts in Britain, but he was wearing a fancy lace collar on his formal black robe. He is perhaps 40 with an excellent judicial presence. A good fraction of the actions before him that day were stalled or sanctioned because people failed to show up.
During a lull in the proceedings we went out with McGivney. It was obvious he had orders to not give an inch, he said we would lose and that it was a shame it was in small claims court because they could not charge us much for their costs--which must be mounting up and are likely to far exceed the maximum we are asking for.
Gregg did an excellent job of laying out the weak points of their case (Gregg would have made a *great* lawyer). McGivney stuck to the line that the cops had every right to bust us with whatever level of violence they wanted because they had a warrant against me based on the "fact" I was an "explosive expert."
I pointed out that there are 17 places on the Internet where my name and "explosives expert" occur and every single one of them is by scientology or derived from them, and that, since I have never had a single bit of training in this area, calling me an "expert" is not going to work. We agree to disagree and went back into the court.
A few minutes later, *our* lawyer showed up. We have engaged Peter McWilliams, a solo practice lawyer who is up against McGivney's law firm in other cases. He is *very well known* for taking on the police and whipping their ass. He took on our cases partly because they were so unusual. (You can have a lawyer in a small claims case, but it is unusual.) Mr. McWilliams is a gentleman of the old school, perhaps ten years older than I am. He dresses in a light suit, speaks slowly has a remarkable courtroom presence--even when he is not in court."
After a bit of conversation filling in McWilliams, Gregg gathered up McGivney and took him out of the court for a friendly chat with McWilliams, leaving me to watch for our case to be called.
McWilliams went over to the corner of the room (larger than the courtroom) and sat down. McGivney (who knew Mr. McWilliams by sight) sat down and asked with just the slightest hint of incredulity, "Are you representing these gentlemen?" McWilliams looked at Gregg, who was watching them from about 6 feet away, smiled very slightly then glanced over at McGivney gunslinger style and drawled, "Yes I have been advising them," and turning his gaze on McGivney like a mongoose contemplating a cobra said, "Yes and I will be representing them today and at pre trial and at trial unless you have an offer." McGivney was not expecting this and was doing his best lawyer poker face, but it was obvious from the eyes darting back and forth that he that he had been sandbagged. (The true sandbagging took place a few minutes later in court).
About this time the judge took two parties into chambers, which released me to go out and watch the fun. McGivney said, "I don't imagine this is just going to go away . . ." McWilliams said, "No it's not. Because your fellows went too far." Gregg interjected a comment that indicated that he had far more knowledge of immigration procedures than expected. McGivney said, "Given the histories . . ." McWilliams interrupted and said "The histories? Ever hear of the Casey Hill case?" McGivney said, "Of course but it's not relevant to this." McWilliams smiles, gets that mongoose look on his face again and says, "Of course it's relevant. We have the same cast of characters. Your fellows were relying upon some strange bedfellows."
McGivney said, "I still don't see the relevance." and McWilliams saids, "Well, I plan to call Justice Hill as a witness to establish that relevance." McGivney blanched. He was not sure if McWilliams was kidding or not. (McWilliams was again wearing that cat-eating-a-canary smile.) Then McGivney said, "That would be interesting at the least." There was a pause while McWilliams nodded, amd McGivney said, "We fully intend to go to trial on this so perhaps we can save everyone the time by dispensing with the pre trial." McWilliams agreed that a pre trial would be a waste of time.
About that time I came out of the courtroom. I was not aware of what had been going on, but I didn't help the situation one bit by handing out bound copies of the Canadian Supreme Court decision in the Casey Hill case. Gregg gleefully took a copy and handed it to McGivney mentioning that the 8 coloured tabs sticking out marked where Pat Felske was mentioned in the Casey Hill case. McGivney, bewildered, said, "Felske?"
Whereupon Gregg mentioned that she was the scientologist currently in charge of the Toronto Office of Special Affairs, Scientology's dirty tricks squad. "In case you don't know, sir, her job is to take whatever steps she needs to destroy Scientology's opponents. That includes lying to the police."
At this point McWilliams said to McGivney, "You now understand why your fellows' chief source of information is a strange bedfellow." People were beginning to file back into the court so McGivney said we might as well go back in and set a trial date. Gregg said "Sir, when exactly are we going to see the information the Toronto officers were acting upon?"
McGivney said somewhat defensively, "They will get it to you." When he said that, McWilliams said a bit testily, "Not just that information, why haven't you presented the warrant. In fact, the Halton police were a bit misled by your fellows because *they* never saw the warrant. My client never saw the warrant."
McGivney said the warrant is in the packet of information. Keith piped up and said that copy was what *we* acquired independently. At this point McWilliams stepped in and said it doesn't matter what my clients have supplied, "how this works is that your fellows have to supply us with a copy of the original warrant. They have to show they had authority." At this point McGivney said, "Let's just see the Judge."
We filed in, sat down, and stood up just as quickly because the Judge came in. He quickly got rid of two cases, one in which the defendant didn't show, so he empowered the plaintiff to personally serve a contempt of court summons on the defendant. The next he sent out of the court to discuss payments on a judgement already granted, and then we were up. The clerk said "Henson and Hagglund vs et al." We went up to the plaintiff's table on the left while McGivney went to the table on the right.
It is not a large courtroom; the tables are separated by all of two inches.
Judge Henderson looked at McGivney and intoned, "You are?" McGivney said, "Kevin A. McGivney, acting for the Defendants." The Judge then enquired of our side. McWilliams introduced himself as acting for the Plaintiffs. The judge then looked our way and raised his eyebrow at us. "And these gentlemen are?" he asked. McWilliams then introduced us as his clients and asked if we could sit down.
The court returned our respect to the court by saying we could sit (in the presence of the Crown). The lawyers remained standing. McWilliams said, "My friend [referring to McGivney] and I have agreed to disagree. We have agreed to dispense with the pre trial and are asking for a trial date."
At this point I whispered to McWilliams about the conflict of interest we had noticed to the court. McWilliams brought it up to the judge that the Halton police had been misled by the Toronto police and that his friend should consider withdrawing from representing the Halton police. At that point the Judge asked if McGivney wanted to withdraw? McGivney said "No." The judge looked at McWilliams and said, You should file a motion." McWilliams was somewhat taken aback by this and said, "A motion? That's pretty serious for this level of court isn't it?"
The judge picked up the two thick briefs Gregg and I provided and shaking them slightly said, "There are serious allegations in here." McWilliams said "I take it your honour is familiar with our documentation?" and the Judge said, "Yes. I read them." At this point McGivney (who possibly didn't read them) is blinking like crazy. McWilliams says he may or may not file such a motion. "If my good friend is comfortable to embark on the perilous journey of riding two separate horses at the same time I might not object." The Judge gave McGivney another chance, by asking him, "Are you comfortable embarking on such a perilous journey?" McGivney said yes, he was. So the judge sent us out to set a trial date with the clerk.
We went out and McGivney and McWilliams made small talk for a few minutes while the clerk printed a copy of the form we needed off the net. McGivney's firm and Mr. McWilliams are doing a pre trial conference on a high value case that has been going on for about three years.
*Entheta Times of Canada*. Exclusive Thetan Reporting Associates* in Oakville Ontario:
Keith Henson and Gregg Hagglund.
PS, it's been posted, but one of the documents the judge was holding is here: