News

1. Weather

There’s weather today.

2. Sexual history and anonymity

Catherine Campbell

Yesterday, the courts published Judge Anne Derrick’s decision on whether testimony on Catherine Campbell’s sexual history would be allowed in the preliminary inquiry of the murder charge against Christopher Garnier. Derrick’s ruling is complicated, but the gist of it is she ruled that Campbell’s sexual history would be inadmissible as a defence:

I can see no principled basis for treating public access to Ms. Campbell’s sexual history differently at this preliminary inquiry than it would be treated if she was alive…

It would be illogical to suggest that because Ms. Campbell is dead she has no entitlement to dignity and privacy. Indeed, one of the offences with which Mr. Garnier is charged is a dignity-based offence: improperly interfering with Ms. Campbell’s “human remains.” A salutary effect of a section 486 order therefore is the protection of Ms. Campbell’s dignity and privacy. There is no public interest to be served in allowing members of the public access to details about Ms. Campbell’s intimate life at this stage of the proceedings.

But that was the preliminary hearing. Later, at trial itself, Justice Joshua Arnold allowed the testimony. That evidence didn’t seem to have any effect on jurors — they swiftly convicted of Garnier of second degree murder.

Derrick disallowed the testimony because it would impugn Campbell’s reputation, dignity, and privacy. Arnold allowed the testimony, apparently, because Garnier should be allowed a robust defence. There may be not inherent contradiction here — the preliminary hearing was only to test the worthiness of taking the crown’s case to trial, while the trial was to actually judge Garnier’s innocence or guilt. Two different standards were at play.

But there’s a related issue that needs exploring. Arnold held an in camera voir dire — that is, an evidence hearing within the trial from which the public and reporters were barred — to hear arguments about whether details of Campbell’s sexual history should be permitted. So we don’t know what arguments were put forward, but the crown asked that the witness’s name be subject to a publication ban, a condition the defence did not contest and which Arnold agreed to.

The result of Arnold’s decision was that Campbell’s alleged sexual history could be discussed in open court and so was broadly reported, but the name of the man making the allegations was subject to a publication ban and so wasn’t reported. I guess the dead woman has no right to privacy, but the man making the allegations does. So we got reporting like this:

A man who briefly dated Nova Scotia police officer Catherine Campbell was called to testify Friday about her prior sexual activity, as the defence closed its case at Christopher Garnier’s high-profile murder trial.

[…]

The man, whose name is protected by a publication ban, told the jury he had sex with Campbell on two occasions, and at one point, he put his hand on her throat.

When he was asked by Pink to describe for the jury how he did that, he opened his hand and placed it around the front of his own neck.

Under cross-examination by Crown attorney Christine Driscoll, the man conceded that he did not put pressure on Campbell’s neck, and he agreed when Driscoll said his hand was on her throat in a “caressing fashion.”

He agreed that she never asked to be choked.

“She did not ask for domination? She did not ask for erotic asphyxiation? She did not ask for anything that you would think of as rough sex?” Driscoll asked.

“No,” the man replied.

The witness testified that Campbell wanted to practice wrestling with him following their second sexual encounter, and that they were partially clothed at the time.

(I’m not faulting Canadian Press reporter Aly Thomson; hers was a Herculean reporting job, and she worked with what she had.)

I happened to be in court when the man’s name was discussed by Arnold, but because of the publication ban, I can’t tell you who he is. I googled his name, searched other public records… so far as I know, he’s not himself a prominent person or related to anyone who is a prominent person.

Arnold’s voir dire ruling has yet to be published, so I can’t say what his reasoning was.

We have a presumption of an open court, and to close the court or to put a publication ban in place requires an extraordinary reason. But at this point, in terms of reporting the name of the man who testified about Campbell’s sexual history, I’m not seeing that extraordinary reason to prohibit it.

3. CFL

Taxpayers spent $2.4 million to design this 25,000-seat stadium at Shannon Park, and a half a million dollars more to study building a 10-14,000 seat stadium at Shannon Park, and then another million dollars to study building a 20,000-seat stadium at Shannon Park. Now the city is being asked to look at another stadium proposal.

“Jaded by past failure and sporadic expansion chatter that hasn’t gone anywhere, local fans might be too hasty in relegating the latest CFL expansion bid to the improbable bin,” reports Francis Campbell for the Chronicle Herald:

“We feel that the odds are better than not,” said a guarded Anthony LeBlanc, one of three businessmen who front a company that is keen on pushing CFL expansion to the Maritimes over the goal-line this time around.

“There is a lot of work that needs to be done. We are taking a sizeable financial risk on our part. Business is a deal of risk-reward. We are certainly not at that point that anybody is saying this is approved and it’s moving forward.”

Sizeable financial risk, eh? Like what, exactly?

Campbell continues:

LeBlanc said the ownership group has commissioned Deloitte Halifax to prepare a third-party analysis of the benefits a stadium could bring to the city and province.

[…]

LeBlanc said in addition to hiring Deloitte and legal representation from McInnes Cooper in Halifax, the ownership group engaged Corporate Research Associates to do detailed polling.

[…]

Earlier this month, the legal team secured the trademark name Atlantic Schooners.

So, basically about ten thousand bucks. Whoop-de-doo.

Oh, but the “real money” is about to come, honest:

“We are getting to the point where we’re ready to spend real money, when you are bringing in companies like Deloitte, law firms, when you are doing serious government relations,” LeBlanc said.

You only need “government relations” if you want something from the government. And in this case, “spend real money” means getting the government to build you a stadium. It’s as simple as that.

Look, if the government will build you a stadium, just about anyone could put together a CFL team. How hard can it be? Hire a manager, a coach, a couple more guys to carry around clipboards, someone to sell trinkets and jerseys online, finance the thing by splashing the name of a bank on your uniforms — the Scotiabank Schooners, wait for it — and voilà, you’ve got 11 doped up guys running around the field slapping each other on the ass and a bunch of tailgaters passed out drunk in the parking lot. The TV rights to that are a gold mine, I’m told.

Seriously, I’m told the whole thing hinges on getting a TV deal. And a stadium, of course.

You just know we’re going to build them a 25,000-seat stadium. That’s how these things work. Why the hell else did the ownership group meet with city councillors in secret? Oh, they’ll spin it otherwise, It’s not really a CFL stadium, but an “all purpose stadium” for, um, all purposes! Like a concert. Never mind that we couldn’t get 25,000 people to buy tickets to see a Beatle on a sunny day on the Common, that many people will trek out to Bayers Lake to line up to see, I dunno, NCT or Beiber or some such. And the financing will be complex enough to dupe at least some people into thinking the government isn’t actually paying for the stadium — a long term lease to the team to cover loan payments on a bond secured by blah blah blah — but in the end, the public will be left holding the bag.

4. More garbage for Nova Scotia

“More than a dozen mayors in southeastern New Brunswick are urging the provincial government to deny a private company’s proposal to truck garbage from the Saint John area to a landfill in Nova Scotia,” reports Bruce Wark:

At last week’s meeting of Sackville Town Council, Mayor Higham circulated a letter he had signed along with the mayors of several other cities, towns and villages, including Moncton, Dieppe, Memramcook, Shediac, Port Elgin and Dorchester, urging Environment Minister Serge Roussell to put a stop to the plan.

The Toronto-based, waste management company, GFL Environmental Inc., applied for a provincial permit in October to build a garbage transfer station in Saint John. GFL wants to use the station for shipping industrial, commercial and institutional waste (known as ICI waste) to a landfill the company owns in the Nova Scotia Municipality of West Hants, which includes the town of Windsor and the areas around it.

The letter, signed by the mayors, is from the Southeast Regional Service Commission also known as Southeast Eco360, the body that oversees the regional garbage disposal system. It operates the regional landfill site as well as recycling and composting facilities.

The letter warns Roussell that GFL’s plan would set a precedent that could eventually undermine the financial viability of New Brunswick’s entire garbage disposal system leading to job losses, higher taxes and a reduction in services.

5. Slow news week

I’m not going to pretend otherwise.


Government

No public meetings.


On campus

No public events.


In the harbour

0:30am: Itea, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Liverpool, England

Fritz Reuter. Photo: Halifax Examiner

6am: Fritz Reuter, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Lisbon, Portugal
7am: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from Pier 41 to Pier 36
1pm: Augusta Sun, cargo ship, arrives at Pier 31 from Muriel, Cuba
4pm: Asian Sun, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands
4pm: Otello, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea
5pm: Aristomenis, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for sea
6pm: Viking Queen, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Emden, Germany
6pm: Fritz Reuter, container ship, sails from Pier 41 for New York
8pm: Singelgracht, cargo ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Rotterdam


Footnotes

2017 sucks.

Tim Bousquet

Tim Bousquet is the editor and publisher of the Halifax Examiner. Twitter @Tim_Bousquet Mastodon

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13 Comments

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  1. Re: the CFL stadium marketing ploy.
    Is anyone paying attention?
    Halifax regional council has voted unanimously
    to direct staff to put together a business case for a 24,000 seat stadium
    on the Shannon Park grounds in Dartmouth.
    This stadium could cost ( a no doubt will exceed) $190 million
    and it’s still unclear who’d be footing the bill.
    Plus there’d be many other costs to consider..water, sewer, roads, parks
    and transit. Now some council members are using Shannon Park stadium as the perfect excuse to bring HRM transit into
    the 21st century. Lol
    Of course the CFL commissioner is pumping the idea of a franchise in Halifax
    on the condition that a stadium be built. Everyone knows that attendance at CFL games
    is down across the country. If you are a fan of football you know the quality of the game
    has suffered.
    The absurdity marches on! A more detailed business analysis is expected to take 3-6 months to complete.
    But the Maritime Football Partnership has already begun a season ticket campaign and
    name-the-team contest. The Atlantic Shell Game!
    We were suckered with the Halifax convention centre fiasco…. we won’t get fooled again!

  2. I love what you are saying Bill Turpin, that is a good idea, I am impressed it has worked elsewhere. I think an appropriate name for the team would be the “Steele Rudders” if we were to invest public money.

  3. If I want to go to a football game, I will pay the full cost of the ticket on my own. I don’t want a taxpayer-subsidized ticket, and I don’t want to subsidize anyone else’s ticket with my taxes.

    I cannot imagine that there is any level of government that can’t think of more important problems to solve than the lack of a football team in Halifax.

  4. Shipping solid waste materials (garbage) from other provinces to be buried in a Nova Scotia (West Hants) landfill is not a good idea. This needs to be stopped… burying waste materials is not a good idea. Other technologies should be pursued by New Brunswick (as well as Nova Scotia).

    Taxing the public to bring a CFL team here is CRAZY STUPID. If the CFL cannot run a sustainable franchise, funded on their own hook, then why should the public subsidize it? The promoters and players get paid big, big bucks… let them bankroll the venture if they feel it is a winning enterprise. We have a hard enough time trying (and failing) to filling the seats for local hockey and basketball… this is not a good venture for public money… and no one was elected with a mandate to bring a CFL team to Halifax in any way, shape or form.

  5. If we want a CFL team that badly, then we should finance it the same way Saskatchewan supports the Roughriders–by public subscription. Nobody owns the team. There are periodic offerings of shares that sell out even though they cannot be re-sold and do not pay dividends other than pride of ownership. In other words, football fans pay for the team, not taxpayers. There’s an 11-man team in Green Bay with a similar structure.

    1. I love the idea that football fans pay to play! I believe another plan is underfoot that could care less about taxpayers opinions…

  6. If we are going to spend tons of ca$h on a CFL franchise, and it really looks like we are, why doesn’t the municipality just own it outright? Edmonton Eskimos, Saskatchewan Roughriders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers are all publicly owned. Seriously, if we are the ones taking the financial risk, why let slip the possibility for a bit of profit to the municipality?

  7. Public money for a private stadium? Taxpayer money for private gain?

    What’s new?

    The Irvings, the convention centre? Why not a stadium. Why not have former public servants with inside knowledge of city hall lobbying for private gain?

    Ah democracy, oh crony capitalism.

  8. The feds have no money for stadiums, McNeil has no inclination to lay out money/tax breaks and there are not enough votes at HRM council to agree to any financial scheme.

  9. Was the man who testified about Garnier’s sexual history legally required to do so?

    If he was compelled to testify, then what protection does he have other than anonymity from extrajudicial consequences for something he had no reasonable choice about doing?

  10. The publication ban on the man’s name was made improperly and not in accordance with the requirements of the Criminal Code and the existing case law from the Supreme Court of Canada. For one thing I doubt if the request should have been made during a voir dire.

    I’m surprised none of the media outlets challenged it, ex post facto, although notice of the intention to seek the ban should have been given to them in advance as I understand the usual practice is in Nova Scotia. (In New Brunswick the Crown just ignores the Criminal Code provisions and the case law on seeking such bans, and the judges go along with it – seriously, that’s the truth.)

    1. CTV and CBC hired David Coles for other issues related to the trial, but apparently didn’t ask him to contest the publication ban on this issue.