Sarnia’s Veolia Environmental Services, manager Anthony Lavoratore acquitted of criminal negligence charges in fatal 2014 work explosion

Patrick Ducharme
Patrick Ducharme

Sarnia’s Veolia Environmental Services, manager Anthony Lavoratore acquitted of criminal negligence charges in fatal 2014 work explosion

A Sarnia business and one of its managers have been acquitted of criminal negligence charges in a 2014 workplace explosion that killed one worker and hurt five others.

Friday, Justice Deborah Austin ruled there wasn’t proof beyond a reasonable doubt to hold Veolia Environmental Services or a manager, Anthony Lavoratore, guilty – though she stated the company didn’t provide a safe work environment. Continue reading “Sarnia’s Veolia Environmental Services, manager Anthony Lavoratore acquitted of criminal negligence charges in fatal 2014 work explosion”

Complaint filed against judge and Crown

Patrick Ducharme. Photo Source: AM800 News
Patrick Ducharme. Photo Source: AM800 News

A complaint has been filed against a judge and a Windsor, Ont. Crown attorney for an “inappropriate social outing” that took place during an ongoing criminal trial they were both working on.

The aunts and primary caregivers of the accused in the case — Andrew Cowan — submitted the complaint, claiming Crown attorney Thomas Meehan and Ontario Superior Court Justice Kelly Gorman met for drinks the evening after the jury had rendered its guilty verdict. Cowan was convicted of second-degree murder.
Continue reading “Complaint filed against judge and Crown”

Judge Dismisses Mistrial Request in Andrew Cowan Murder Case

A murder trial in Windsor, made even more unusual by revelations of a late-night rendezvous between the judge and prosecutor, is headed to the Ontario Court of Appeal.

Superior Court Justice Kelly Gorman Monday dismissed an application for a mistrial in the case of Andrew Cowan, convicted by a jury in August of second-degree murder. Gorman, the judge who heard Cowan’s case and who is now being accused of impropriety for fraternizing with the assistant Crown attorney who prosecuted Cowan’s case, ruled she does not have the jurisdiction to declare a mistrial after a jury has returned a verdict.

That jurisdiction, Gorman ruled, lies with the court of appeal. Continue reading “Judge Dismisses Mistrial Request in Andrew Cowan Murder Case”

Woman acquitted in Goodwill hit-and-run of cyclist

Windsor Star.

A woman accused of stealing donated items, then running down a man in a Goodwill parking lot in Windsor last year, was found not guilty Wednesday.

Heather L. Michano, 29, had been charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, failing to stop at the scene of an accident, assault with a weapon and theft for the Sept. 25, 2016, incident at Goodwill Industries on McDougall Avenue. Police arrested her after surveillance cameras captured video of a woman in a Toyota Corolla drive into the parking lot, rummage through items strewn on the pavement near a donation bin, then drive away striking a man on a bicycle. Continue reading “Woman acquitted in Goodwill hit-and-run of cyclist”

Mistrial sought in Windsor murder conviction

Toronto Sun.

WINDSOR, ON. AUGUST 1, 2017. — Andrew Cowan, 47, leaves the Superior Court of Justice in Windsor, ON. on Tuesday, August 1, 2017. He pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in connection with an incident that took place in October, 2012. (DAN JANISSE – The Windsor Star) (For story by Dave Battagello)

After a night of drinking and gambling at Caesar’s Windsor casino in October 2012, Andrew Cowan drove his friend’s Ford F-150 at speeds of up to 150 km/hr and sent the pick-up flying through the air into the second storey of a Leamington, Ont., building.

The friend, Ed Witt, was in the passenger seat when the truck went airborne and ended up dead. Continue reading “Mistrial sought in Windsor murder conviction”

Defendant accused of sexually assaulting female colleague gives lurid account of evening: DiManno

Toronto Star.

Const. Leslie Nyznik gives an exhaustive and exhausting account of the alleged sexual antics of the complainant, a parking enforcement officer, he and two other cops, are accused of assaulting.

WARNING: Extremely graphic content

Goodness, what a skank!

That, of course, would be the sexual assault complainant, as portrayed by one of the three off-duty cops accused of carnally besieging her during a hotel room bacchanal.

Or, looked through the other end of the testimonial prism, the officer in the witness stand Friday had been the skank on that hotly disputed night two-and-a-half years ago. What’s the male equivalent of skank? Skunk?

Never touched that woman, Const. Leslie Nyznik asserted on Friday — at least not with his hands. Only his penis. Four times only with his penis, four times she put it in her mouth, ravenous to perform oral sex upon him. And so dexterous had this lustful woman been, that she was able to, simultaneously, have “missionary” sex with another officer, Const. Joshua Cabero, while using her other hand to rub and grope yet another cop, the zonked-out Const. Sameer Kara.
Continue reading “Defendant accused of sexually assaulting female colleague gives lurid account of evening: DiManno”

Witness put through the paces at police sex assault trial: DiManno

Toronto Star.

Defence grinds away at purported inconsistencies in testimony.

I’ve come to think of them as the silverbacks, legal primates beating their chests.

The banger-in-chief among this troop of well-coiffed lawyers is unquestionably Harry Black, pointy end of the defence spear in the trial of three Toronto police constables charged with sexually assaulting a parking enforcement officer.

Snappish, indignant, provoking — much as I’ve witnessed him in action over decades of largely representing cop defendants — and practically stamping his foot in ire on Tuesday, more like a “You’re-not-the-boss-of-me” brat than a be-robed servant of the court, following an objection from the Crown over an inaccurately quoted passage put to the witness.

“I can put whatever I want to the witness!” Black retorted hotly, with a rustling flounce of black silk. “I can make whatever suggestion I want to the witness!’’

Indeed, in a sex assault trial, even in these allegedly enlightened times, that does appear to be the case.

It was a minor matter, as so many of the purported inconsistencies in testimony have been over the past nine days. Not the reputed pile-up of damning contradictions and incongruities — aha moments — of TV courtroom drama fare. Mostly niggles and slight shifts between statements made to investigators more that two years ago and what’s been said on the stand.

So there was the witness, a parking enforcement officer himself and a friend of the alleged sex assault victim, being put through the pedantic paces of his interview with professional standards investigators in February 2015. In that session, the man had recounted how he went to the complainant’s house on the day after the alleged assault, because the woman had called him distraught and bewildered.

(While there is no publication ban on the names of two witnesses who testified yesterday, both friends of the complainant, the Star is withholding their identities because naming them might make the complainant recognizable within the small world of 51 Division, where she worked. Her identity is formally protected by a publication ban.)

“It just seems odd to me that today you say she threw up on her bedroom floor but that’s not in your statement,” Black nit-picked. This, after asking if the witness if he’d ever had “a relationship” with the complainant (“we’re good friends”) or has since discussed the case with her (“I don’t bring it up because I know how upset she gets”).

“Where did that come from?” Black continued, referring to the vomiting detail, which wasn’t in the police statement.

Calmly, the witness replied that he’d told police what he recalled of his conversation with the complainant.

On such picayune disparities — if there are enough of them — a sex assault trial might actually turn.

Had the complainant told this witness if she’d told medical staff at North York General Hospital that she’d been sexually assaulted when she went to the hospital the night after the alleged assault at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel? “She said she didn’t say those words, per se,” the witness replied.

The complainant, as quoted by Black (although I must admit at that point this reporter was confused about the source material being cited): “I think I told them I had un-consensual sex. And I also told them I was drunk.”

Witness: “She was upset about how she was treated at the hospital.”

More quoting, from the complainant to this witness, some 26 months ago: “I don’t remember anything from the time we left the last bar until I woke up and took a cab home.”

Witness: “That’s what she said . . . She said she didn’t know what to say because she was scared and she was upset.”

But — aha — looks here, from your statement Mr. Parking Officer, that the complainant never mentioned how, on the day after the alleged assault — this would be the Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015 — the woman didn’t mention word-boo about having spent some four hours or so blithely and humorously texting back and forth with another officer about the previous night’s pub crawl, then getting a pedicure, then going out for dinner. All of that before this witness found her sobbing and shaking when he went to the woman’s home later.

Black suddenly and jarringly changed tack. “Do you have a nickname?”

Witness, with a “huh?” expression, creasing his brow: “No.”

Black: “Are you sure?”

Oh, for heaven’s sake.

Witness: “I only have the given name my parents gave me and that’s what I use.”

On re-direct, Crown attorney Philip Perlmutter had only one further question for this witness, about the complainant’s emotional state.

“Before I left, I tried to give her a hug. She was shivering, (said), ‘Don’t touch, don’t touch.’’’

Constables Leslie Nyznik, Joshua Cabero and Sameer Kara have all pleaded not guilty to one charge of sexual assault. The complainant, who was on the stand for four days of cross-examination, has steadfastly insisted that she did not consent to the acts — oral sex and intercourse — allegedly committed against her following a night of heavy drinking after she accompanied Nyznik and Cabero back to the hotel where a heavily intoxicated Kara had been deposited earlier by another colleague.

Although the marquee silverbacks — Black representing Nyznik, Alan Gold representing Kara, Pat Ducharme representing Cabero — have yet to open their defence, the cross-examination quarterbacked by Black has made it clear they will argue that the sex was consensual, even instigated by the complainant; that the woman’s “narrative” was plotted out afterwards, from fear of the blow to her reputation if the sordid encounter became known – remorse guilt; and that her memory of the event, as she recounted in the stand, is utterly unreliable.

What’s not at all clear, because during cross Black has posited it both ways, is whether the complainant was so smashed that she doesn’t remember what happened. Or whether she was, in fact, quite fine — despite consuming at least eight alcoholic drinks — captured by hotel security cameras walking steadily, smiling in the company of Nyznik and Cabero whilst waiting for the elevator, and thus capable of halting the sexual escapade had she chosen to do so.

On Wednesday, court heard also from another female parking enforcement officer, likewise a friend of the complainant, who met up with the woman at North York General on the Saturday night.

“She’d explained that she had gone out and she was raped. I immediately explained to her that we would have to go to the hospital.”

Under questioning by Perlmutter, this witness said: “Her fear was being in the service, outing officers, that she would be blacklisted. She was afraid of the backlash.”

The witness agreed they’d done an Internet search on date rape drugs while at the hospital and waiting more than four hours to be seen. “The nursing staff was taking too long and we didn’t know if it could affect the testing. I was getting agitated. They hadn’t flagged her as a rape victim.”

They didn’t have a sex assault nurse, either. So, in the early morning hours, onto Scarborough Grace Hospital.

The judge-only trial continues.


By Rosie DiManno

Christie Blatchford: Surprise allegations of ‘threats and harassment’ irrelevant, judge tells police sex assault trial

Lawyers for the three police officers were furious at the woman’s last-minute allegations of harassment after reporting the incident, saying this was news to them

Trial Sketch by Pam Davies CBC
Trial Sketch by Pam Davies CBC

Minutes before she left the witness stand, the complainant who claims she was sexually assaulted by three Toronto Police officers two years ago said she received “intimidation, threats and harassment” at work after reporting the incident.

The 36-year-old parking enforcement officer, who was in the stand for four days, was being briefly re-examined Monday by Crown attorney Ted Ofiara.
Continue reading “Christie Blatchford: Surprise allegations of ‘threats and harassment’ irrelevant, judge tells police sex assault trial”

Defence blasts TPS investigation of 3 officers on trial for sexual assault

CBC News

Missing videos, a lead investigator with ‘lack of experience’ and 11-dayvacation among defence concerns

Trial Sketch by Pam Davies CBC
Trial Sketch by Pam Davies CBC

For a second straight day, defence lawyers for three Toronto police officers are attempting to pick apart the criminal investigation that led to sexual assault charges.
Continue reading “Defence blasts TPS investigation of 3 officers on trial for sexual assault”