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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Man arrested and jailed under fake G20 law finds there's no record of his arrest

If the whole G20 policing debacle wasn't sufficiently Kafka-esque, today a man arrested and charged under the law that the government and police later admitted did not exist, showed up in court at the scheduled time for his pre-trial hearing only to find the court did not have his case on the docket. In fact, they have no record he was ever charged.

From the Globe and Mail:

The only person charged under the controversial G20 five-metre rule appeared in court Wednesday, only to find the charges did not exist.

David Vasey, an environmental justice organizer, was arrested near the security fence in downtown Toronto on June 24 and brought to the Eastern Avenue detention centre. Hours later, he was released and told he had been charged under the Public Works Protection Act, a law quietly updated to include the summit site for the duration of the G20.

Mr. Vasey signed a promise to appear in court. But after showing up Wednesday, he and his lawyer discovered that the case was not on the docket and there was no information pertaining to the charges. His lawyer, Howard Morton, says it's unclear if Mr. Vasey was ever charged at all, despite what he was told at the detention centre.

Lawsuit? I sure hope so.

Of course, the defenders of the police will still stick to their guns on not having a judicial inquiry. This incident is just another one of those "few" and so totally "rare" and "minor" incidents on the part of the police for which we shouldn't be concerned.

Posted by Mike Brock on July 28, 2010 | Permalink


"The only person charged under the controversial G20 five-metre rule appeared in court Wednesday,"

Sorry mike, that seems pretty "rare" to me.

Posted by: sid | 2010-07-29 12:30:53 AM

brings to mind that 60s quote :

what if they had a war and nobody came ?

Posted by: 419 | 2010-07-29 1:08:43 AM


The problem ultimately is not the police. McGuinty suspended civil liberties in private and his handling of the situation is popular with Ontarians. The police in a democracy reflect the government who in turn reflect the people they serve. Your beef is not with the cops -- it's with mainstream Ontarians. They're not big fans of freedom.

Posted by: Michael Cust | 2010-07-29 2:42:37 AM

Let me get this straight: The cops didn't to charge him, and you think that's grounds for a lawsuit? In other words, if they had charged him, that would be better for everyone?

Mike, I'm beginning to wonder if you think there is anything useful a cop could do other than die--preferably without issue.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-07-29 6:32:10 AM


He was arrested for failing to show ID within five meters of the security fence. The police told him and his lawyer he was being charged under the Public Works Protection Act. And he was jailed for this offence.

The police and the government have now admitted that no such 5-meter rule existed, making this arrest essentially illegal.

Now, there's no record of him being charged. How convenient.

They are actually pursuing a lawsuit for wrongful arrest. As they should.

If I'm ever arrested, especially on illegal grounds, I actually WANT my day in court. And when the judge dismisses it on the grounds the arrest was illegal, I want to walk out with that judgement and straight into the civil courts. Because, that's called keeping the police accountable for their actions.

Posted by: Mike Brock | 2010-07-29 7:35:46 AM

McGuinty suspended civil liberties in private and his handling of the situation is popular with Ontarians.

No he didn't. They admitted that the law was never changed. They lied to the public and claimed they had the authority. The chief of police even admitted to lying, essentially saying it was a security tactic to discourage people from approaching the fence.

The provincial ombudsman has an active investigation into this "tactic" on the part of the government and police.

The anarchists have black bloc tactics, and the government and police have "make shit up" tactics.

Posted by: Mike Brock | 2010-07-29 8:04:24 AM

approaching a security fence to snoop / discern any structural weakness or calculate ways to gain entry prior to a demonstration ?
_ that's spying, a dangerous and dishonourable hobby/vocation especially before what turned out to be a huge messy riot right at those fences..

.. Dude may have been a civilian but that was on a spy mission, real or imagined and he was caught in the act of spying..and when asked to identify himself he would not do so

opps !! sort of caught red handed like your video buddy lipping off and then discovered with goggles in his backpack- oops !!

no steel mesh security fence is so interesting that anybody would want to inspect it up close.. that was suspicious activity..there is no way anybody spying should have been allowed to walk away, to perhaps report any of his observations to any other agitators ..who were known to be assembling by the tens of thousands in the city around that fence. OOPS !!!

Spies in wartime get shot- BANG
spies in peacetime are refrigerated
until their spy work is of no value to the powers of corrosion.

if nobody is free if even one person is unfree - then everybody is fucked if even one person is a fucker


Posted by: 419 | 2010-07-29 8:39:02 AM

Welcome to Stephen Harper's police state. Don't expect ANY inquiry from mr open and accountable. Harper is a lying authoritarian douchebag.

Posted by: DrGreenthumb | 2010-07-29 8:45:47 AM


If I was going to a protest, I would consider bringing goggles too. Protecting myself from pepper spray and teargas does not make me a criminal. It simply says, that if police decide to crack down, I'd prefer not to get burning chemicals in my fucking eyes.

The fact you think police discovering "goggles" in someone's knapsack means they caught him red-handed in some sort of nefarious activity shows how much a totalitarian you are.

I assume that you're against gun ownership too. And against the US second amendment, which was envisioned for *gasp* people to defend themselves against a tyrannical state (ie. the police and government).

If you don't think people should be able to bring goggles to a protest, I'm sure you don't think people should be able to have any means of self-defence whatsoever.

"Kneel before authority! Kneel pitiful peon!"

The fact that conservatives associate their ideology with the protection and preservation of liberty is beyond me.

I'm guessing you support the human rights commissions too. They are, after all, agents of the state. And you don't support having any right to actually defend yourself from the state. Since all state power is legitimate in the minds of you totalitarian conservatives, I'm surprised you didn't have your stakes out for Ezra when he dared to challenge the powers of benevolent state.

After all, the criticism that conservatives had about the HRCs was that they weren't real courts with real due process.

But what we find is, when it comes to policing, conservatives don't really care about those things anyways. Due process is a needless inconvenience that gets in the way of efficiently locking people up. Maybe the left-wingers who envisioned the Human Rights Commissions were following the same thought process? I think so.

It just goes to show that the conservatism and socialism are two sides of the same authoritarian coin; expedience in the name of punishing the immoral -- at least in their concept of morality.

Posted by: Mike Brock | 2010-07-29 8:49:01 AM

How unfortunate ... for those without a life.

Posted by: set you free | 2010-07-29 8:53:59 AM

hold up -

you guys actually believe it is okay for the police to hold citizens in prison for crimes that were never committed???? aka at will???

what are you people coming to? I am disgusted. You probably don't think you will ever be arrested because you are "law-abiding", yes? Well:

Posted by: a | 2010-07-29 8:54:41 AM

Mike, you talk at length about holding the police accountable for their actions. Question: Who holds citizens accountable for theirs? When the police tried to ascertain who was responsible for the crimes at G20, you objected to their methods, even though they were legal, on purely moral grounds. I too would like an answer for why a billion-dollar security force could not have dispatched a handful of stupid vandals. But something tells me the issue is not the police, but in their political masters. I don't think cops enjoy watching private property and their own equipment being trashed any more than anyone else does.

I don't believe you have responded to my suggestion that either police or shopkeepers should be allowed to use live ammunition on those actually seen to be vandalizing, looting, or assaulting; I presume you don't approve, though it would eliminate the need for massive security detachments and giant fences. If on some level you did approve, though, it would be consistent for you to question police shootings with your customary thoroughness, but shrug off any shootings by shopkeepers, who are, after all, not police.

Those who would hold others to a higher standard than they hold to themselves or their identified group had best prepare for a lifetime of frustration and disappointment. You cannot say that it's acceptable for one group to use deceptive or dishonourable tactics, but not for another. And without deceptive or dishonourable tactics, mass protests like this one, along with activism as most widely practiced, would pretty much disappear.

Consistently presenting only one side of the argument while deliberately neglecting the other can be considered a form of deception, as can eschewing results in favour of questioning methods. Both tell only part of the story while omitting the rest. This is done because balanced coverage rarely galvanizes people to action and is thus of limited use politically.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-07-29 9:02:13 AM


I do not disagree with the use of lethal force as a matter of self-defence. However, I'm not sure that smashing a window meets the criterion for shooting someone dead.

Coming at me with a knife, or sharp object. Or pointing a gun at me. Then, yes. I'm fine with using lethal force in self-defence.

Vandalism, I'd probably support the use of mace or pepper spray by business owners against the vandals. Or I would support the owners physically apprehending, tying them up, and waiting for the police to come collect them.

But in general, I don't support killing people for all transgressions. Killing for damage to property definitely falls within the scope of "disproportionate" for me.

You're also claiming that the police methods were all legal. And I'm simply opposing them on moral grounds. I do not believe this is the case. I believe the police engaged in a multitude of illegal policing actions, including searches and arrests in areas and situations where they had no justifiable reason to engage in those actions.

I'm relatively confident, from conversations I've had with several criminal defence lawyers, that the police overstepped their boundaries.

Also, to accuse me of only taking one side of this issue is bullshit. Go back and read my piece on the black bloc and the protesters. I can say with a straight face that I have slammed the vandals and the protesters who supported them and egged them on.

You on the other hand, are the one who's taking one side of this; the police's side.

To try and label me as one-sided, as if you aren't -- especially when I've slammed both sides -- is wholly dishonest.

Posted by: Mike Brock | 2010-07-29 9:14:21 AM

the blac bloc "protestors" were probably paid state agents, used to try and justify the billion dollar security tab, and the crackdown on civil rights.

Posted by: DrGreenthumb | 2010-07-29 9:42:47 AM

Mike, in regards to the legality of the police actions, I was referring specifically to their use of facial recognition software and (potentially) the image databases from the local banks, not to their actions during the protest itself; as I recall, you objected quite strongly. I will note, however, that lying is not illegal, and that lying by politicians and police is no exception. Court rulings have upheld this, so there's no question of its legality.

Secondly, one or two remarks or threads about the Black Bloc doesn't come close to the amount of ink you've spilled in condemnation of the police. One-sided does not have to mean absolutely one-sided. In this context you might suggest that I am also one-sided, and merely for the other side. That's not true, because I haven't spent a great deal of time praising the police; merely questioning the veracity of the complaints against them. Expressing concerns that interested parties may be less than entirely forthcoming does not amount to an exoneration of those they accuse. It means I am not convinced, and that is all it means.

Now, as to the "goggles" incident: Police actions were quite understandable in view of the fact that "professional" protesters--the ones that attend how-to seminars put on courtesy your local anarchist brigade--are known to wear goggles and gas masks, and their presence does tend to indicate you have more in mind than holding a sign or bellowing into a megaphone. A man who is walking around with burglary tools on a dark street cannot expect a free ride from the police either.

As for shooting vandals being disproportionate: There's a world of difference between shooting someone in the very act of lawbreaking, and hunting them down and executing them after the fact. In the first instance, your primary intent is not to kill, but to force them to stop what they're doing. That is the case whether you are defending your property or your life: You are intentionally stopping that person, not intentionally killing that person. And the fact is, most people shot with handguns survive. Especially if you only kneecap them.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-07-29 10:40:49 AM

Shane thinks the police dont have to justify arresting people, sorry Shane blather all you want but they work for us and they have to be accountable .

Posted by: don b | 2010-07-29 10:58:22 AM

    the blac bloc "protestors" were probably paid state agents, used to try and justify the billion dollar security tab, and the crackdown on civil rights.

And the woman accused of masterminding the whole thing, who confessed to masterminding the whole thing, after turning herself in after learning that she was wanted for masterminding the whole thing, is she a police agent too?

I'd say it's rather more likely you probably just hate cops and are looking for any excuse to hate them even more.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-07-29 11:01:14 AM

Don thinks that arrest is the same as being detained (wrong), that an arrest must result in a charge (wrong), that the police never make paperwork errors (wrong), and that the arrested person in question had committed no crime (when he has no way of knowing and frankly does not care).

Yes, they work for us. And the majority of "us" appears to be happy with the job they did. To be fair, I have noticed that satisfaction with the police tends to drop the more one becomes associated with criminal activity. Who here would like a police force where criminal satisfaction was more important than general public satisfaction?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-07-29 11:16:14 AM

"...The fact you think police discovering "goggles" in someone's knapsack means they caught him red-handed in some sort of nefarious activity shows how much a totalitarian you are...."

doth say Mike Brock

Ok Mike... get some more fibre in your diet- before by brother totalitarian goggle masters come and getcha for being too important in the struggle to rule the planet

Posted by: 419 | 2010-07-29 11:18:17 AM

Lawsuits? Yes. Individuals who had their rights violated by the the police and the provincial government should definitely sue.

Public Inquiry? Hmm, maybe. Can we please wait for the Ontario Ombudsman to finish his investigation first?

Posted by: Anonymouse | 2010-07-29 11:41:09 AM

Where's Judge Judy when we need her?

Posted by: 419 | 2010-07-29 11:53:37 AM

Seriously, this is not about police vs innocents.

It's about how self-important some believe themselves to be.

Posted by: set you free | 2010-07-29 12:38:34 PM

Set You Free:
We should defer that judgement to the _professionals on daytime TV

Posted by: 419 | 2010-07-29 1:59:42 PM

Wow, never thought I'd live to see the day the CPC war room starts trolling the Western Standard, but there ya go...

Keep it up Mike. You are right.

Posted by: Mike | 2010-07-30 6:51:01 AM

Wow! a middle aged white guy with his own blog who rides a motorcycle in Ottawa without a helmet just shot us down. It's the revenge of the Mikes !!

Posted by: 419 | 2010-07-30 7:12:15 AM

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