An ounce of prevention: Phoenix’s social worker, in-depth

Phoenix Sinclair

To say it’s disheartening hearing the evidence that’s coming out at the Phoenix Sinclair Inquiry would be beyond an understatement.

But among the litany of facts painting the picture of major systemic breakdown — a portrait of ignominy becoming clearer each passing day — there are moments of fascinating clarity.

One of them came today, in the testimony of veteran CFS caseworker Laura Forrest, who, like many of her colleagues, was asked towards the end of her time on the stand to comment on the nature of the CFS system in general and improvements which could be made to it to better protect Manitoba kids.

Forrest handled Phoenix’s case for a few months, and despite her failure to physically see and visit the child in following up what was considered to be a low-risk potential maltreatment claim, it was Forrest who finally put together all the available information to determine the little girl’s background equalled nothing less than a high-risk situation.

And her parents’ negative attitude and disregard for CFS and its work was a huge factor in her finding, which a review noted was largely ignored a few weeks after she came to this conclusion.

Fast forward to today, and Forrest is no longer an intake worker with CFS, handling crises and complex cases as they poured in by the bucketsful.

She now works delivering services to families as a case worker — a step removed from the process of initial contact and assessment of cases by CFS. (EDIT: she’s actually doing foster-care placements, but left intake in 2009 to move to a family service position with CFS till recently).

Off the top, Forrest readily admitted her workload was high — if not huge — in her time in intake, and that continued till she left that unit in 2009. By then, several reviews of Phoenix’s case had been done, and changes implemented by officials to try and ensure no similar situation ever happened again.

“My practice was to do the best I could with what I had,” she said.

Forrest says she was never consulted or interviewed about any of the reviews that were done or findings made, something she says she would have liked to have seen happen just because the investigations analyzed her work. It also may have been educational for her, she said.

“What’s the answer to workload issues?,” Commission lawyer Sherri Walsh asked her today — toward the end of Forrest’s lengthy testimony.

She paused a while before speaking.

“I guess, it’s a big answer. Because it’s not as simple as telling a system, ‘these are all these standards you should be following and that will take care of everything. We deal with really complex family situations. And depending on where they’re coming from, lack of community resources, increased issues with respect to addictions, mental health, which makes things much more complicated – families placing their children into care at much more, much higher numbers.

The system can try and change as much as it can sometimes, but if everything else around, in our community is also escalating in terms of their needs and their problems that they’re trying to deal with, I don’t know how we can keep up, to be honest.”

“In my experience — over 20 years — things have changed. It’s not easier to do my job.

Not withstanding changes in the system?

“Yeah. I mean, I think that we all try to do the very best that we can, whether people can believe that or not. We have a lot of hope, we have a lot of belief that people can make changes, that families can make changes. Sometimes I find if I didn’t have those, that would be very very difficult, because sometimes that’s all you have with a family.

So, is very simply one answer to the workload concerns reducing the need? Prevention?

“Well, prevention would be helpful. So if you could look at some prevention programs that could be in place even within [the] system, we had those — we had a couple of them — and they were helpful in terms of dealing with families that had teenagers out of control. But those programs were changed and something else came about as a result of that. So I think that it would be helpful if we found practical interventions that would actually really, adequately meet family needs in a realistic fashion.

We can tell them what we think we need them to do, but if they can’t do it because they don’t have enough food, they don’t — they’re struggling maintaining the three or four or two kids in their home because they’re a single parent and they don’t have a lot of resources  — I think we have to be fair and mindful that these are people that are working hard to do the best they can.

We have to come up with better solutions as to what we can offer them for intervention. So that could be helpful — some practical intervention, some more practical and more available resources. I always hope for that and I know other people do. And I know the community resources try as much as they can as well with what they have. But, you know, to say that one system has to make all the change and that will take care of everything and no child will be harmed again — I don’t know if that’s going to happen by just looking at one system.

You say that protecting children can’t just be put on the shoulders of the child-welfare system. 

“We have that burden. But it would be helpful if we had other supports and resources. Not for us, but for the families.

We talked about community resources and addressing issues of poverty, employment, education, child care — those are all things that would help, ultimately, with workload?

“Yeah. These are all the things that our families struggle with and we have to try and help them overcome those. Sometimes it’s very difficult.

Was there anything about (Phoenix’s family’s) circumstances, either in terms of their factual circumstances or the nature of services that were being delivered by the agency that stood out in your mind as compared to other families that you were working with?

“This family situation was fairly similar to many families I had dealt with. Whether it was single parent dealing with addictions issues, conflict with the other parent, struggling to manage in child care, relying on other family members. It wasn’t unique in itself. There are certain things about it that make them different but often times I dealt with families that struggled with poverty … parenting … addictions … mental health. It was more common than not.


You can follow my live blog on the inquiry by finding any Phoenix-related story on the home page of the Winnipeg Sun website.

Kines heading back for new murder trial: The Court of Appeal’s reasons

Manitoba’s top court issued reasons Wednesday on why it sent accused killer Jason Allen Kines back to trial on charges of first-degree murder, aggravated sexual assault and sexual interference in connection to the death of Venecia Audy, 3, in August 2006.

Justice Brian Midwinter acquitted Kines after weeks of evidence being put forward at a Dauphin jury trial earlier this year.

The Court of Appeal ruled last week that Midwinter was wrong to take the case out of the hands of the jury after ruling bite-mark evidence put forward by the Crown though a dental expert didn’t go far enough to prove Kines was the biter “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Below are excerpts of the appeals court panel’s reasons. A new trial date for Kines is pending and he remains free on bail in Saskatoon. He is presumed innocent.

[Reasons authored by Justice Richard Chartier, on behalf of Barbara Hamilton, Marc Monnin and himself.]

“The autopsy revealed that the cause of death was multiple blunt-force trauma resulting from non-accidental trauma. The victim had a combination of lacerations, bruises and human bite marks all over her body. Her vagina had been torn and bite marks were found just above her vagina.”

“A forensic odontologist testified that [Kines] had a “very highly unusual” dentition that lined up with most of the bite marks on the body. He definitively excluded the other member of the household as being the biter for all but one bite mark. The expert testified that the accused was “most likely” the biter. He also said that he was “very confident” in his identification of the accused and explained that “probable” identification was as definite a designation as his discipline allowed, except in rare circumstances.”

Midwinter’s principal reason he took the case from jury, Chartier said,  was “his conclusion that the evidence identifying the accused as the biter did “not give rise at law to proof beyond a reasonable doubt.” Because it was only “probable,” that led him to conclude there was insufficient evidence to support a conviction.

“The judge in this case appears to have failed to differentiate the question of whether the Crown met its burden on a directed verdict test (the evidentiary burden) with whether the Crown met its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt (the burden of proof).”

Evidentiary Burden = determines whether an issue should be left with trier of fact. 

Burden of Proof = “determines how the issue should be decided.”

“The first is for the judge; the second is for the jury.” “Moreover, the “proof beyond a reasonable doubt standard” has no direct application on a judge’s consideration of a directed verdict motion.”

“The judge’s conflation of the evidentiary burden with the ultimate burden of proof caused him to engage, to an impermissible degree, in a weighing of the evidence, to the point of determining questions which fell within the jury’s purview. We also agree with the Crown that the judge failed to consider the circumstantial evidence in its totality. Given that we are ordering a new trial, we will simply state that there was other contextual evidence which the judge did not seem to consider. In our view, the Crown’s suggested inferences fall within a range of inferences a jury could reasonably draw. As such, there was some evidence that the person accused of the offences was the perpetrator of the offences.”

“… In the end, the judge’s conclusion that the identification evidence in this case does not meet the test on a directed verdict motion cannot be allowed to stand. Whether the evidence adduced but he Crown will ultimately be sufficient to meet the burden of proof beyond a reasonable count will be for the jury to decide.”


Winnipeg: a favorite hub for fraudsters?

Why Winnipeg?

That’s the question that kept coming to my mind during Ben Harvey-Langton’s sentencing hearing today in provincial court.

The largest credit card fraud operation ever uncovered in Manitoba’s history. (Link is to my report on the case, which was never revealed by Winnipeg police that I can see.)

Let that rattle in your brain for a bit and realize the magnitude of what Harvey-Langton and his co-conspirators were trying to accomplish.

Judging from the facts of the case, Harvey-Langton is no dummy. He’s a grad-school educated whip-smart scam artist who seems to know his way around corners of the Internet most people don’t know even exist. He’s skilled in fake ID’s, computers and world travel.

 “Harvey-Langton was born in Nice, France.  He moved to England when he was 17 years old.  He lived with his mother, step-father and sister.  He studied Psychology, receiving an Honour’s degree.  He went to New Zealand and obtained his private pilot’s licence.  He went to Germany and studied international business at the Schiller International University in Heidelberg.  It was there that he was introduced to the criminal business of credit card fraud …”

“… He was not only obtaining, but also sharing, stolen credit card data over the internet.

He was known in the fraudulent credit card business as a “dumps” buyer.

He purchased a card embosser from China on May 30, 2011 over the internet.

He was in communication with people who were finding additional illegal carding sites and new ways of fraudulently obtaining credit card data, such as a new way of IP straining.

He was visiting illicit internet websites with names such as “Little Snitch Program”, “Kurupt” and “”.

He was in the process of purchasing a new identity complete with a false passport, perhaps Finnish, “as it opens more doors to a new identity in the EU outside of Finland,” and other personal identification cards.” (Judge Devine decision)

But for some reason, Harvey-Langton and his co-conspirators (one who went by the curious Internet handle of “Darky”) chose our fair city as home base to set up their scheme. 

I keep wondering why. Harvey-Langton met the other co-conspirator in Montreal and for whatever reason chose Winnipeg to set up the hub of operations.

Weird thing is, Harvey-Langton had used fake credit cards to book first-class passed from southern Africa in August [and stayed in high-ticket hotels on the way] to find his way through Johannesburg to London and then on to Montreal. Ostensibly the trip was to visit his sister in Quebec with a [unfulfilled] side-trip planned to Churchill.

It wasn’t to be.

“Communications once within Canada in September 2011 show he was in Montreal, northern Quebec, then in Ontario, using false credit cards again for cars, flights and hotels.  He characterized his criminal activity as “working really hard”, complaining that he hadn’t gone out in over two months and was completely wasted.

He is currently subject to criminal investigations and/or charges in Ontario and Quebec.  The Winnipeg investigation led to information relevant to those investigations, such as lists of malls and photography stores in Ontario and a search for the “best lawyer Montreal fraud credit card”.

His calendar entry for October 5, 2011, showed he was “doing Darky’s shit”.

A conversation between he and co‑accused Guo characterized the Winnipeg hit as part of a larger plan to invest for ATM fraud.” (Devine decision)

Again, the question begs — and I won’t pretend to know the answer — why Winnipeg?

Why not Toronto, Vancouver — or given how internet based the data-scamming scheme is — Jasper or Kelowna? It it our cheap long-distance rates?

Yes, the actual damage in this case was minimal, thanks to a sharp-eyed and suspicious Henry’s sales clerk who questioned why all of Harvey-Langton’s fake cards were being declined when he tried to buy a Canon D60 DSLR as part of the overall scheme to finance further fraud.

The plan was to counterfeit credit cards, buy high-end cameras and give them to a fourth individual named “Dope Carder” who would sell the cameras for $800 each.  The offender’s take would be $300 on each camera. (Devine decision)

So what’s the big deal, you might wonder as well.

Amex thought it was a big deal. In a rare move, the Crown sought a victim impact statement from the credit-card company to tell the court about the effects credit-card scams have on Canadians.

One of the agreed documents was a Victim Impact Statement from the Amex Bank of Canada, completed by its Director of Security, Rick Neals.  In the statement, Mr. Neals outlined the increasing seriousness of credit card fraud internationally and in Canada.  There are 68.2 million credit cards in circulation across Canada.  In 2011, the Canadian issuers of Visa, Mastercard and American Express reported losses of $436,588,757 due to credit card fraud, a form of “electronic bank robbery” according to Mr. Neal’s statement.  Counterfeit activity is the largest type of credit card fraud in Canada.  One of the methods is through computer hacking:

Data thieves hack into networks to steal account data or infect the network with malware which is capable of collecting account data as it is being processed by a merchant or processor.  The compromised data is then sold by organized crime groups on the Internet “carder forums” and is later used to manufacture a counterfeit credit card. (at 4)

Credit card fraud is not typically committed by sole operators.  Mr. Neal’s statement goes on to say,

Counterfeit credit card fraud is not usually perpetrated by one individual acting alone.  It is generally committed by highly mobile, organized-crime gangs, who use the funds obtained to finance various other criminal activities, including drug trafficking, firearm purchases, etc. (at 5) (Devine decision)

Anyone with any answers to the question that started out this post, please chime in in the comments.

Harvey-Langton has six years now to reflect and ask himself the same question.

Minus earned remission and early parole eligibility, of course.


Downtown Winnipeg: Personality sketches iii

This is the third in a series of sporadic reports about criminally-involved people who habitually inhabit and wander downtown Winnipeg.

There’s a lot more to them and their lives than I’d bet most care to realize.

These are true stories. 

“He stated that he is “a city boy” and will remain in the City of Winnipeg.” 

It wasn’t until only recently that C found out how old he was.

He made the discovery after a prison guard read the 41-year-old his date of birth off a corrections report.

But then, C’s ignorance about what are (to many people) simply routine facts of life maybe shouldn’t be all that surprising from a man who says his mother consumed so much liquor, solvents and hand-sanitizer that he was “drunk at birth.”

He hasn’t heard from her in three years.

Dad — his namesake — was only introduced to him for the first time at age 16 during a chance encounter at the Manwin Hotel.

Dad is blind in one eye because of the amount he drank. He and C don’t keep in touch.

Accounts of how C’s made-in-Winnipeg journey led him to a federal prison cell for the next six years vary even when recounted by him.

“Confirming the account of his life is difficult as he has disjointed thinking which he accounts to his FASD,” a report states.

But it’s safe to say that since he was 9, C’s been largely ‘living off the land,’ as it were.

That is, wandering Winnipeg neighbourhoods on foot, with the Main Street strip — and its characters and dangers and urban angels — being the constant backdrop of C’s public life, mostly lived on the streets.

He had to grow up fast, he says.

 “I know know from the age of 7 to 40 on Main Street there was only pain and suffering,” he said in a recent letter to a probation officer. “When I was 8-9 year of age I felt like I was 15-16 year already. I know it sounds nuts but that part of my life.” (sic)

Then there’s also the good chunk of time C has spent occupying space in provincial and federal jail cells, youth and adult, over the years.

In his fourth decade, the FASD-diagnosed Salteaux/Cree man finds himself HIV-positive, recovering from a recent gall bladder infection that nearly killed him and a blood clot in his lung.

He’s also been labeled a convicted sex offender who took damaging advantage of a young relative introduced to him at a medical clinic in 2008.

He’s assessed at a very high risk to reoffend.

C was recently convicted of aggravated sexual assault after impregnating his 14-year-old, drug-addicted and CFS-involved niece during a 2.5 month-long criminal “arrangement.”

The two would share needles and he’d ply the girl with pills, booze and cash in exchange for sex.

C says he thought of the girl as “a stranger” and was so intoxicated for the entire year that he didn’t remember abusing her. He told a report writer he didn’t have a full understanding of the court proceedings, and had hoped to get a sentence of “time served.”

C’s criminal record is somewhat storied at this point, having amassed more than 40 convictions over his lifetime.

The vast majority of them, however, relate to his street-assimilated “trade” (his word) of “boosting” (stealing) other people’s stuff and reselling it for cash.

But when you’re 9 years old and already living on the streets — likely still bruised and broken from being frequently beaten by a stepdad’s belt and mom’s broomstick, you do what you gotta do.

Simply surviving could be said to be a daily miracle.

Reporting the domestic abuse did him no good, he says. He was “slapped in the face and discredited.” When the violence was directed at his sisters, he tried to step in and was beaten for that, too.

“He was consistently told that he was ugly, wasn’t wanted and that he should’t have been born, which led to suicidal thoughts,” he told his PO.

His six step-sisters each turned to the sex trade. His nine step brothers haven’t fared much better, with many also being locked up — at least one for murder.

By age 8, C’s already thinking of killing himself.

But C? He’s a survivor.

And he says he found at least some safe harbour from the very people who had once likely been mired in similar circumstances as he then found himself.

“He was helped out by various prostitutes and drug dealers who showed him how to live and survive in the elements of Winnipeg. He had people who showed him how to deal drugs and make money ‘boosting’ goods to sell to others.”

He also made some cash by working as a casual at a scrap yard — an arrangement that continued into his 30s.

So that’s what he did. Life on the streets, year after year. The grind.

Somehow, C managed to complete Grade 8.

At 16, CFS punted him to an independent living program and he just stopped going.

He was often kicked out of school for fighting and once — in elementary — expelled for stabbing a classmate with a pencil.

C’s first sexual experience also came at age 9, the same year he started doing drugs, eventually developing a problem with Talwin and Ritalin.

His partner was a 21-year-old prostitute with whom he somehow wound up staying with.

He says they had sex after she gave him a bath one day.

“He reported feeling weird, but believed he was “the man” as he heard people talking about sex but wasn’t sure what it was,” according to a provincial report. “He questions why people make a big deal about it.”

Other sex partners over the years included sex-trade workers, one of whom C married.

A report states they had “up to” four children, all now wards of CFS.

The five-year marriage, as one might imagine, was destructive.

“Their time together was barely a relationship as she was a prostitute that used intravenous drugs, ingested solvents and drank.” As for his part, C admits he often “hid in beer.”

It was his wife who gave him HIV.

She ultimately left him after he was jailed on a prior conviction.

His lineage hails from a reserve north of Regina, but he’s only been there once in his life — for a funeral.

He says he has found some solace with a North End mission, who’s executive director he describes as being “like a mother to him.”

He has expressed hope to change with the help of community groups he’s come in contact with in recent years.

C says he has no connection to his aboriginal heritage. He has no plans to return to his home community when he gets out of prison. That’s his choice.

That leaves us pretty much back exactly where we started.

“The subject enjoys traveling around the city, exploring different neighbourhoods. He presented how this allows him an understanding of how he thinks and other people’s journeys. He commented how he is trying to leave his criminal life of boosting things to sell others behind him.”

 “He stated that he is “a city boy” and will remain in the City of Winnipeg.”


Just when you think…

I couldn’t help but post this here after turning it in to my bosses at CBC

It is one of the most bizarre tales I’ve ever come across, yet.

Man guilty of helping girls create porn site

Sentenced to time served in case of wannabe internet stars 14 & 16

Last Updated: Friday, August 6, 2010 | 2:27 PM CST

By James Turner, CBC News

A Winnipeg man has been sentenced to 16 months in jail for helping two teenaged girls create a child pornography website to fulfill their bizarre aspirations of internet fame.

The 40-year-old pleaded guilty to making child pornography during a court hearing Friday.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Donald Bryk heard that between April and late October 2002, the man and the victims’ aunt helped the girls, then aged 14 and 16, take nude and semi-nude photos of themselves in their Salter Street home.

The man and the aunt were dating at the time.

‘They wanted to be stars [and] they wanted to advertise themselves and uploaded photos of themselves.’—Crown attorney Terry McComb

The pictures were uploaded to a website the man created for the girls, court was told.

Justice Donald Bryk handed down a 16-month sentence but the man, whose name cannot be published in order to protect the identity of the victims, won’t spend any more time behind bars.

He has already been in continuous custody for about eight months after breaching a previous bail order. He was given double-time credit and was immediately released after the court hearing.

However, for the next three years he will be on supervised probation in the community on a number of strict conditions, including not accessing the internet and not being alone with children under the age of 18.

As well, for the next 20 years, his name will be registered on a federal government sex-offender’s database. He is also not allowed to go near any parks, playgrounds or other places young children may be.

The case has been winding its way through the Manitoba justice system for nearly a decade, delayed by complications and shifting Crown strategies to bring the man to trial.

Basement room became studio

McComb said a locked room in the home’s basement was used for the purpose of conducting photo shoots.

While many of the illegal images seized by police had been taken by the girls, McComb said the man took a number of them himself and also provided the girls with camera equipment.

He also assisted in building the photo studio — known to those involved as “the Gothic Room.” The room was furnished with sex toys and other paraphernalia used as props in a few of the photos.

Court heard the girls, who had had moved in with the aunt from their home community in northern Manitoba, concocted a scheme to pursue fame on the internet by posting explicit photos of themselves.

“They wanted to be stars [and] they wanted to advertise themselves and uploaded photos of themselves,” Crown attorney Terry McComb said.

While not a blood relative, the man had a “de facto role as a parent” in the home, McComb said.

The content on the website was password-protected and the man did not have access to it, despite his role in helping build it, court heard.

It was not stated in court if any of the images were ever offered for sale.

Aunt ran X-rated internet business

The girls may have hatched the scheme based on the income their aunt was making from her own X-rated online venture, court heard.

The woman was running an internet-based pornography business from the home.

“[It was a] web-based business where people would sign on to watch [the woman] and get her to do things,” defence lawyer Saheel Zaman said.

‘It was at the girls’ own urging that my client became involved … they asked him for some technical help.’—Defence lawyer Saheel Zaman

Court heard the woman was earning as much as $1,600 a month from her efforts.

The woman pleaded guilty in January to possession of child pornography for her role in the crime and was given a one-year conditional sentence.

The girls pressured the man into helping them, Zaman said.

“It was at the girls’ own urging that my client became involved … they asked him for some technical help,” he said.

Through tears, the man told Bryk that his ex-girlfriend, the aunt, dominated him.

McComb said the man was co-operative with police and was under the “delusional impression [that] because the girls … could consent to sex, they could consent to making child pornography.”

At the time of the incident, Canada’s age of consent was 14. It has since been raised to 16.

Not instigator: Judge

The man has spent time in solitary confinement in jail for his own safety, court heard.

“I’ve been spit on, slapped around and treated like an animal,” the man said at the hearing.

‘I’ve been spit on, slapped around and treated like an animal.’—Man who helped girls make porn website

“I’m not putting on a show for you. I’d rather be dead right now than go any further in the corrections system.”

In making his sentencing decision, Bryk said he accepted that the man “wasn’t an instigator or leader” in creating the images.

The man’s father, a former police officer who now works with at-risk youth, appeared in court to support his son.

What the public doesn’t hear, week 2

Latest instalment of the ongoing effort to document the number and type arrests of quote-unquote ‘normal’ suspects made by police on a daily basis.

Note: Breaches of court-orders or release conditions are now being tallied.

I realized it’s important for people to get a sense of the re-involvement rate and respect many alleged offenders have for court-orders.


Media briefing held, on the agenda: Gun-trafficking bust, arrests in a stabbing/assault in T-Cona/ Vandalism in River Heights/ Sketches of suspects in sex assault on a 14-year-old girl released.

Now, on the adult criminal intake docket [people arrested and locked up] from the weekend – does not include domestic violence-related arrests, youths arrested or people arrested and released on a promise to appear. Neither does it include RCMP arrests resulting in people being locked up in Winnipeg, which show up on the docket.

  • Male, sex assault
  • Male, robbery
  • Female, House break, enter and theft, fail to comply with court orders
  • Male, aggravated assault [T-cona stabbing]
  • Male, bail breaches [pending on 5x arson and theft charges]
  • Male, 2x fail recognizance
  • Male, theft under, breach of court order
  • Male, 5x fail to comply with conditional sentence
  • Male, criminal harassment, violate restraining order
  • Male, breaches
  • Female, 4x fail probation orders
  • Male, assault, possess weapon for danger purpose, fail probation
  • Female, Robbery with weapon, housebreak/enter to commit robbery, drug possession, 5x breach of release from police custody
  • Male, assault cause bodily harm, breach [T-cona stabbing]
  • Male, fail attend court, 2x bail breach
  • Male, fail court order
  • Female, Fail probation, prostitution with robbery-related, assault, mischief and 10x breaches
  • Male, fail youth sentence, unauth. possession of weapon, obstruction, drug possession, court order breach
  • Female, fail recognizance
  • Male, fail conditional sentence x3
  • Male, 2x HTA charges [must be a car thief]
  • Male, assault peace officer x2
  • Male, discharge firearm with intent [4-year mandatory minimum on conviction…], 6x weapons offences, mischief property over $5,000 — This is Winnipeg’s pal, Jesse Garrett Thompsett, who was arrested for the North End cemetery vandalism last week. Turns out he was wanted on these charges at the time
  • Female, theft under $5,000, fail comply with release from police custody
  • Female, 2x breach [including attend court requirement]

Note: With exceptions noted, these arrests occurred between Friday morning and early Monday. Unlike last week, I have begun tallying breaches when they are attached to a person’s new substantive offence. The public should know how often court-orders are snubbed.


Media briefing held: on the agenda – the arrest of the police involved shooting suspect from last week, an update to the sex assault on a 14-year-old girl, an appeal for information in a commercial robbery and an arrest after a high-speed chase.

Now, on the adult criminal intake docket [people arrested and locked up] from Tuesday (Monday lock-ups) – does not include domestic violence-related arrests, youths arrested or people arrested and released on a promise to appear, Neither does it include RCMP arrests resulting in people being locked up in Winnipeg, which show up on the docket.

  • Male, robbery with imitation firearm
  • Male, robbery with a weapon
  • Male, carry concealed weapon, possession for dangerous purpose, fail court orders x2
  • Male [already pending on 3x possession purpose trafficking] — 3x breaches and 2x HTA, including a requirement not to carry a cell phone [alleged dial a dealer]
  • Female, fail probation x4
  • Male, possession of weapon for dangerous purpose, assault, fail probation
  • Male, theft under, fail to attend court x3
  • Female, fail probation orders x5
  • Male, assault with weapon, fail restraining order x3
  • Male, fail attend court x3
  • Male, assault, fail probation
  • Male, house break enter with intent to commit an offence, possession of weapon for a dangerous purpose, fail probation
  • Male, mischief, fail probation order
  • Male, fail attend court, pending on possession and drug trafficking
  • Male 2x breaches
  • Male, impaired driving, refuse breath sample
  • Male, fail to register as a sex offender
  • Male, breach — pending on a high-profile manslaughter case at the former Empire Cabaret
  • Male, assault x2
  • Female, fail attend court, pending on a robbery with weapon and breach charges
  • Male, possession purpose of trafficking, possession, fail attend court [this one’s interesting…more later]

Note: With exceptions noted, these arrests occurred between Monday morning and early Tuesday. Unlike last week, I have begun tallying breaches when they are attached to a person’s new substantive offence. The public should know how often court-orders are snubbed.


Media briefing held, with the announcement of the new look for the WPS cruiser cars, a child porn arrest with no information in it, 2 missing persons announcements, some preliminary info on the assault outside Bar Italia on Corydon — and later in the day an announcement that 3 suspects charged in a December homicide are now facing first, not second-degree murder charges.

Later in the day, the PIO sent word that their office would be closed Thursday, July 29th to Sunday, August 1st, 2010 included. The duty office would pick up the slack, but you can only contact them between certain hours if you’re in the media. They can get ornery otherwise. Rightly so – they’re kind of quarterbacking police operations in the city in real-time.

Now, on the adult criminal intake docket [people arrested and locked up] from Wednesday (Tuesday lockups) – does not include domestic violence-related arrests, youths arrested or people arrested and released on a promise to appear, Neither does it include RCMP arrests resulting in people being locked up in Winnipeg, which show up on the docket.

  • Male, flight from police, dangerous operation, theft under $5,000 & possession of property obtained by crime [Police announced this arrest on Tuesday]
  • Male, failing bail supervision and other breaches
  • Male, fail curfew and checks
  • Male, break/enter and theft [offence happened on Apr. 27, arrested Tuesday]
  • Male, aggravated assault
  • Male, break, enter with intent to commit a crime, possess weapon for dangerous purpose
  • Male, fail attend court [pending on charges dating back to 2005]
  • Male, fail probation conditions
  • Male, fail probation X2 – a ward of the Manitoba High-risk offenders unit (sex offender)
  • Male, robbery with a weapon, house break enter and theft, fail conditions of youth sentence, fail probation
  • Male, fail long-term offender’s supervision order [Aaron Ryan Livingston]
  • Male, fail attent court, assault peace officer x2 and obstruction
  • Male, fail curfew x2 [Manitoba Warriors member]
  • Male, fail curfew x2
  • Female, fail to attend court
  • Male, assault, utter threats, breach condition of prior release
  • Male, voyeurism, possess child porn, make child porn, breach condition of prior release [See story here] Police did not release this and refused comment when asked, wanting to safeguard the ID of the alleged victim

Note: With exceptions noted, these arrests occurred between Tuesday morning and early Wednesday. Unlike last week, I have begun tallying breaches when they are attached to a person’s new substantive offence. The public should know how often court-orders are snubbed.


Media briefing cancelled. See Wednesday note, however, advisory sent out regarding an arrest of a Bar Italia employee in connection to the assault on Wednesday. Victim died in hospital.

Now, on the adult criminal intake docket [people arrested and locked up] from Thursday (*Wednesday lockups) – does not include domestic violence-related arrests, youths arrested or people arrested and released on a promise to appear, Neither does it include RCMP arrests resulting in people being locked up in Winnipeg, which show up on the docket.

[It was apparently a slow day for the kinds of arrests documented here]

  • Male, uttering threats
  • Male, 7x fail conditional sentence [a theme this week]
  • Male, uttering threats, 4x fail conditions of release
  • Male, 2x fail conditions of release
  • Female, drug possession
  • Male, 2x fail probation conditions, assault, 2x fail conditions of release
  • Male, fail attend court, theft of motor vehicle over $5,000, fail conditions of release

Note: These offences occurred between Friday morning and early Monday. Unlike last week, I have begun tallying breaches when they are attached to a person’s new substantive offence. The public should know how often court-orders are snubbed.


Media briefing cancelled. See Wednesday note. However, Duty office picking up slack. Key release  was the manhunt on for a prisoner released from Headingley jail by accident. Manitoba Justice later confirms he was one of two accidentally let go. Human error blamed, CBC sayeth.

Now, on the adult criminal intake docket [people arrested and locked up] from Friday (Thursday lockups)- does not include domestic violence-related arrests, youths arrested or people arrested and released on a promise to appear, Neither does it include RCMP arrests resulting in people being locked up in Winnipeg, which show up on the docket.

Today’s theme should be called: What happens when police conduct traffic stops on a regular basis [would have made a great story for the PIO].

  • Male, drive disqualified – was wanted on warrants for theft under $5,000, possession of property obtained by crime, fail release conditions x3 [including to not be in a car under court order]. The warrants were issued by the Dakota Ojibway Police Service. Guys stopped and arrested by WPS
  • Male, 2x highway traffic offences – wanted on warrants for failing to show up to an ID appointment with police, theft and possession of property obtained by crime
  • Male, 3x highway traffic offences -Stopped Thursday and police had him at warrant status for breaching probation
  • Male, fail to attend court, pending on 2x assault peace officer
  • Male, fail report bail supervision program
  • Male, assault POx2, fail to attend court, obstructing PO
  • Male, fail report for ID appointment with WPS, fail attend court, fail probation
  • Male, fail house arrest, fail attend court condition
  • Male, 2x fail release conditions — pending on a sex assault from God’s Lake Narrows
  • Male [Geoff Oliver Reid, fingered as suspect in recent police-involved shooting] was rearrested in custody on Thursday on pending charges of mischief, failing conditions of a release and consuming liquor in a public place
  • Male, 2x fail probation, pending on assault and 2x breach of court conditions

Note: These offences occurred between Friday morning and early Monday. Unlike last week, I have begun tallying breaches when they are attached to a person’s new substantive offence. The public should know how often court-orders are snubbed.


Tales of the Avro Lancaster

Bullets in Avro Lancaster rear turret

As a kid, I dreamed of, made models of and read about WWII aircraft. When we left South Africa, my all-too-distant-family gave me a book on the history of airplanes that I still have to this day.

One of my all-time favorites was the Avro Lancaster.

The different Lancaster models

One of two still-in-service-Lancasters is on display as I write this at Winnipeg’s aviation museum. It’s a rare treat because you can line up to get inside the historic aircraft and have a look-see.

On a trip there today, hundreds of people were snaked in a line around the museum’s interior to do just that. I didn’t have the time to wait, so I paid my $10 and got a chance to touch history.

People lined up in droves Friday to see — and feel — the historic plane

It was a dream come true for me. I took a few pictures, but you can see better on the Winnipeg Free Press website, which, to the FP’s credit, is doing a full-court press on this short-term exhibit.

Even better, I got 20 minutes of face time with Frank Creamer, a London, Ont. police officer who’s volunteering his time to talk with people who have come to see the plane.

I’ll let officer Creamer, an RCAF brat whose knowledge of aviation was astounding, tell you two awesome stories of Lancaster heroics in his own voice.

The first story is about Lt. William Reid, who braved harrowing conditions to bring his Lancaster home in wartime. Runs: 5:14

Frank Creamer on William Reid

The second is about the use of a Lancaster in the search and rescue of a boy in Canada in 1950. Runs 2:17

Creamer on Canadian rescue mission

The third is just some general stuff from Creamer about why he feels this aircraft was so awesome. Runs 2:39

Creamer on Lancasters in general

Imagine having to shoot enemy aircraft down with these.

A few more pictures are also presented below, but you should really go and see it for yourself, or check the FP website. [PS- Tania Kohut is doing an awesome job for the Freepy in their new online reporter position].

[I have a feeling the museum is gonna make a mint off this one…]

The bombardier sat in the nose of the plane and opened the doors when ordered.
Looking down on targets
The Lancaster's specs

Tone versus context

Is it just me or is there something odd about the tone of CTV Winnipeg’s 6 p.m. report on a bust of the HA clubhouse on Thursday?

What’s the gag and why the smiling? Did I miss something?

The Province moved in to temporarily  — note: temporarily — seize the Scotia Street hangout under the criminal property forfeiture act. The home’s owner has 40 days to appeal, and he likely will.

Not sure if CTV’s intention was to give the story a lighthearted tone or not, but it struck me as odd.

I have no issue with Stacey Ashley personally, she’s an awesome reporter.

But I thought the seizure was the kind of story that could have benefited from a more serious take out of the issues surrounding gangs and policing in the city.

Not just pictures of cops mugging for the cameras lifting a deadhead gate onto the back of a flatbed.

The long-standing war between the HA and law-enforcement around the world is serious business and should be treated as such, in my opinion. Too many people — some of them totally innocent — have died for it to be in any way kinda funny.

Aside: The comment about the unnamed nearby resident wanting for years to come out and paint pink polkadots on the HA’s front gate, but now he won’t have to … was kind of nauseating.

The point of this:

Anyone who thinks it’s the last we’ve seen of the gang in Manitoba would be sorely mistaken.

Today’s CTV story also kind of rubs me a little wierd, in a ‘bigger picture’ kind of way.

Just before Kelly Dehn passed the torch of the ‘Crimewatch’ beat to Ms. Ashley, he had been reporting exclusively on a supposed epidemic of HA-versus-Rock Machine, biker-related violence that was due to break out and besiege the city at any day.

With that in mind, how is it that today’s story about the “symbolic” dismantling of the HA by taking away their hangout — and the larger implications for the hollow future of the gang —  could make any sense at all?

They’re either powerless and [mostly] in prison, or their not. And that doesn’t happen in a matter of 4 months, and in the wake of Project Divide, which took more than 30 HA-affiliates off the street.

And if they’re not in prison [or even if they are] they’re gonna find ways to make money.

Mail a letter from jail and mark it ‘disclosure’ and the right people get their orders.

That’s what it’s all about for the HA, for the most part. The money. Not indiscriminate killing and shootings and violence. It’s about money.

Police officers taking a house away from them and selling it looks good on TV for a newscast, but it’s not going to halt the big red machine.

The police know this too well.

What I’m more interested in is why the local media don’t take more of an interest in the efforts in Manitoba to police gangs like the Indian Posse or the Native Syndicate?

From a viewpoint of what actually matters to the public — public safety — it’s gangs like this that pose far more risk to society as a whole than the relatively small number of HA or Zig-Zag Crew in the province.

In the past year, I can count a number of things the cops and Manitoba Justice have done to right the wrongs these street gangs pose, so to speak.

Last June [June 2009] the RCMP served notice that they were seeking to designate the IP a criminal organization. A key move that could clear the way for harsher prison terms for IP members in the future.

CBC sayeth:

RCMP pursue gang charge

Bruyere has long been a high-profile target of RCMP gang investigators.

He was already in custody at Manitoba’s Milner Ridge Correctional Centre when he was arrested on the murder charge.

He was charged with assaulting a woman on the Peguis First Nation in July 2009 and has been in custody ever since.

RCMP alleged that assault was committed to further the interests of the Indian Posse, and based on that claim, Bruyere was also charged with participation in a criminal organization.

He is the first member of the street gang to face such a charge, which has not been proven in court.

Police have used the charge to combat motorcycle gangs like the Hells Angels in the past.

Their use of it in connection with the Indian Posse is an indication of the group’s increasing sophistication over the last few years.

They’ve also sought out special peace bond applications against IP members about to be released from prison so they can keep tabs on them for a while while out in the community.

CBC Sayeth:

An unrepentant Manitoba gang member, set for release from prison next week, has said he will continue to commit crime.

Christopher Brass, a 28-year-old member of the Indian Posse, is nearing the completion of a 6½-year sentence for a violent robbery spree and for assaulting a prison guard. He has served the entire sentence behind bars, which is unusual in Canada where prisoners are often released after serving two-thirds of their time.

He will be freed on July 14.

According to parole board documents, Brass refused to get help while in prison, which is why he was not released early. The documents also state that he will likely reoffend.

Brass has admitted plans to continue his criminal lifestyle, according to court documents obtained by CBC News. The reports state that Brass said he would continue to commit crime and collect welfare.

Police are cited in the report as saying Brass assaults people for sheer enjoyment and thinks robbery is the easiest way to make a buck.

They were so concerned about him being back on the streets that they requested a special court order — and won. For the next two years, Brass will be bound by a peace bond forcing him into counselling.

The order also allows police to conduct curfew checks and require Brass to notify them if he changes his address.

Such orders are typical for convicted people who avoid jail with a conditional sentence, or are released from prison early. Requesting an order for a gang member who has completed his entire sentence is not something the Winnipeg police service has ever done before.

Crown attorneys have also started using direct indictments against the gang in an effort to show they mean business.

As well,

CBC Sayeth:

Justice Minister Andrew Swan said proposed amendments to the Manitoba Evidence Act would list proven criminal organizations in a government-sanctioned reference document.

The move would eliminate the need for prosecutors to continually have to prove that an entity is a criminal organization in criminal and other court proceedings, Swan said.

“We face the problem of having to essentially prove rocks are hard and water is wet over and over again,” Swan said in a press release. “These changes would establish a single, fair and independent process to determine conclusively whether a group is in fact a criminal organization,” he said.

The proposed legislation is the first of its kind in Canada, Swan said.

So there’s proof out there that something’s being done besides well-publicized takedowns of gang members’ clubhouses.

The ultimate problem is one of gathered intelligence, I think.

The bulk of Manitoba’s police officers are white and male.

The bulk of the street gangs are young, of various ethnic origins and strongly dislike the police and what they stand for. The mistrust is rampant.

For years, police have made great strides infiltrating biker gangs through informants, undercover operations and surveillance.

When it comes to city street gangs, however, things clearly get more complicated.

The tactics have to change, but it’s difficult.

You do things like turn to the internet to find out what you can, but ultimately, it’s a tough go, which is why well-funded intervention and diversion programs are so crucial for kids these days.

Make it so they won’t join up with a set and you’ve attacked the root of the problem on a number of levels.

That includes policing and law-enforcement.

What the public doesn’t hear — a project

Got 10 minutes? This could matter to you if you care about crime and the media and policing in Winnipeg.

While Menno criticizes the Winnipeg police for cancelling media briefings with reporters [and reporters for letting them do it unchecked] — and implies that there’s some political motivation behind it, I thought I’d weigh in on the experience with dealing with the Public Information Unit as a journalist.

First thing’s first: there’s limited staffing and limited resources in the unit. There are two active PIO/ police officers with Glocks and one information assistant who carries no weapon but her quick wit.

Each of these people are extremely pleasant to deal with and are typically speedy about responses to inquiries from reporters.

One of the officers is fairly new to the gig and deserves time to find her place in the scheme.

The most common mistake journalists make is assuming that the PIO knows about everything that the service is up to.

Point blank: they don’t.

My understanding is that the heads of the WPS’s individual units brief the PIO about [what they feel are] significant events and discussion happens about what the public is told, if anything.

The items chosen are vetted by the executive, and run past the legal department to identify potential issues with the release of information.

My sources tell me that the latter is particularly hard-nosed when it comes to what gets out in terms of official statements from the WPS.

Bearing this in mind, occasions do arise fairly often where a reporter finds out about an event that was never publicly disclosed by the PIO.

A request is sent for information, and depending on what it is, it appears an internal negotiation takes place about what to say by way of official response to the request.

This, in my experience, is where the breakdown between the media and the PIO hits a rut.

But I’ve come to learn that while it may be easy to say the PIO is being unreasonable or stingy with info, there’s reasons behind the madness.

Recent example: on July 15, a man is arrested for aggravated sexual assault in the downtown area near Central Park.  It’s a rare charge that denotes not only a horrible crime, but a horrible, life-altering incident of violence. In my mind, it’s second only to murders, simply because the victim is typically scarred for life by what happened.

Digging a little deeper, I find that the suspect in the case is what might generously be called a career criminal.

So, naturally curious, I send a request to the PIO for information, as the public was never notified that it happened.

I initially thought it related to a serious sexual assault they talked about in June, but as it turn out, was not.

Some information is nearly immediately sent my way, but it’s so scant:

“You have most of the details….. Winnipeg Police arrested 29 year old *** on July 13th for a sexual assault that occurred between June 23 – 24th to a 27 year old female in the 300 block of Quappelle.

*** was charged with aggravated sexual assault.

It’s so scant that it begs for a follow-up reply asking a few more questions, including why the public was never notified.

I get one later saying that the hope was to provide more info on Saturday … two days later.

Again, I asked why they didn’t release on such a serious crime, and wasn’t given a response.

On Sunday, I inquire again if anything more was coming.

“It’s still under investigation,” I’m told.

It seems weird to me. One of the most serious charges in the book laid against someone, and it’s still under investigation.

But at that point, when you hear those words ‘still under investigation,’ I’ve learned there’s no further response forthcoming.

Your best bet is to hit the street and start the digging process to find out what you want to know.

In this case, thank God for the court system is all I can say.

As there’s a publication ban on the case [the first thing the Crown asked for when it came before a judge], I can’t say much, but I can say this case could turn out to be a real bag of hurt for the cops, who are, my sources tell me, now suddenly very much interested in continuing the investigation.

But that’s beside the point, and I’ll fill in the blanks of that story when I can.

However,  what seemed like an unreasonable delay and response from the PIO in terms of my request turned out to be totally justifiable in terms of their having to act responsibly.

But if my estimation of how the public information system works is correct [and I believe it is], the unit commanders at the WPS have some explaining to do.

This week, I undertook a little project, which I will continue from here on in.

I call it the ‘what the public doesn’t hear about’ project.

And here it is. For the last five working days, M-F, I have documented the arrests made by the WPS that resulted in an adult, non-domestic violence-related suspect being locked up at the Remand Centre pending a bail hearing.

I have also documented what the PIO released on that day.

You’ll note some extreme differences in what’s going on ‘out there’, and what the public’s being told. Not to mention the amount of criminal activity officers are out on the streets cracking down on.

Here goes week one of the project. I’m open to your thoughts.

Monday media briefing held. Topics were: Fraud investigation, fire investigation and MVC involving stolen vehicle.

Of these items,  none requested the public’s assistance in obtaining information. There was the addition of one missing persons report which did ask for help locating the person, nothing unusual.

The fraud involved the discovery of money stolen from a hospital ATM over a period years [did nobody notice missing money from a bank machine for years? really?] The fire happened two days prior and simply said arson officers were investigating the cause. The MVC was more current, happening just about 12 hours prior to releasing info. It involved police property being damaged.

Now, on the adult criminal intake docket [people arrested and locked up] from the weekend – does not include domestic violence-related arrests, youths arrested or people arrested and released on a promise to appear:

  • Male, charged with a home invasion, robbery with a weapon and robbery
  • Male, charged with assault with a weapon, uttering threats
  • Male, charged with 75 gun-offences, including weapons trafficking between December 2009 and July 12
  • Male, charged with assault
  • Male and a co-accused male, each charged with 2x break, enter and theft
  • Male, charged with 8 gun offences and drug possession
  • Male, assault
  • Male, mischief
  • Male, robbery
  • Male, charged with 58 gun offences and drug possession for the purpose of trafficking x3
  • Male, uttering threats
  • Male, assault peace officer, assault with a weapon, careless use of a firearm, breach of a court-ordered weapons prohibition
  • Male, mischief, drug possession
  • Male, theft under $5,000
  • Male, theft under $5,000
  • Female, prostitution-related
  • Male, theft under $5,000

Note: These offences occurred between Friday morning and early Monday. I have omitted charges such as breaches to tally only new substantive offences.

I note that none of the weapons-related arrests appear to be related on paper.

So, over the weekend, that’s 18 unpublicized arrests – four of them involving guns or busts of alleged gun-runners. Admittedly, some on the surface appear minor, but if you’re getting locked up on a theft under $5,000, there’s likely more to it than meets the eye.


Tuesday –

Media briefing held, but nothing specific noted on the agenda other than a discussion of a Stats-Can report on police-reported crime in 2009. Report notes violent crime on the rise by 15 per cent in Winnipeg over 2008 levels. Also note: No person from the executive [chief, dep. chief, inspector or superintendent] appears before the media to discuss what’s been happening.

Of two other items released Tuesday — by emailed news release — one requested the public’s assistance for information [a robbery], suggesting that this was the motivation for bringing it to the media’s attention. The other involved a public warning about a lost Taser cartridge, I think the third time this has happened in recent memory.

Now, on the adult criminal intake docket from Tuesday [people arrested and locked up] – does not include domestic violence-related arrests, youths arrested or people arrested and released on a promise to appear:

  • Male, assault cause bodily harm, theft under $5,000
  • Male, assault cause bodily harm, 2x assault with a weapon
  • Female, public mischief
  • Female, assault peace officer
  • Female, assault with a weapon
  • Male, trespassing
  • Male, robbery with a weapon
  • Female, assault cause bodily harm, aggravated assault, uttering threats, possession of property obtained by crime, fail comply with youth sentence. [incidents occurred July 11, she wasn’t arrested until Monday.]
  • Female, fail conditional sentence order

Note: I have omitted charges such as breaches to tally only new substantive offences.


Wednesday –

Media briefing held, with two items on the agenda. An update to a past homicide file [New arrests in the Ricky Lathlin case from Gilbert Park] and the announcement of a new sex-trade enforcement program targeting child sex-trade workers.

Of these items,  none requested the public’s assistance.

On the adult criminal intake docket from Wednesday [people arrested and locked up] – does not include domestic violence-related arrests, youths arrested or people arrested and released on a promise to appear:

  • Male, possession for purpose of trafficking, possession of property obtained by crime [he was pending on a possession charge already]
  • Male, housebreak enter to commit robbery or assault
  • Male, possession
  • Male, possess prop OBC under $5,000, possession purpose trafficking x4 and possession of weapon for dangerous purpose
  • Male, robbery, fail to attend court
  • Male, conspiracy to commit an indictable offence [co-conspirators not IDd] Offence date was Apr. 10, he was arrested Tuesday.
  • Female, robbery with violence and intent to steal
  • Female, aggravated assault, possess weapon for a dangerous purpose
  • Male, sexual assault [incident was Feb. 4]
  • Female, theft under $5,000
  • Male, uttering threats [but was locked up, indicating there’s more to this than meets the eye on paper]

Note: I have omitted charges such as breaches to tally only new substantive offences.

Later in the day, there was a police-involved shooting on Alexander – PIO called in on OT to address the media at 9:30 p.m.


Thursday –

Briefing Held – on the agenda: Internet luring arrest, update to the police shooting, a sexual assault and an assault with a weapon. The office was closing at 12:30 p.m, media were warned. No reason was given for the altered schedule.

That being said, the PIO was clearly returning calls to media about requests that had been made. I received one at 3:00 p.m. in response to a query made after 12:30 p.m.

On the adult criminal intake docket from Thursday – does not include domestic violence-related arrests, youths arrested or people arrested and released on a promise to appear:

[It appeared to be a slow day on Wednesday!]

  • Female, prostitution-related
  • Female, theft under $5,000
  • Male, break, enter and theft, fail to comply with youth sentence
  • Female, aggravated assault
  • Also, Gary Palmer, the independent GWL broker who bilked clients out of their cash was arrested for allegedly breaching his bail.

Note: I have omitted charges such as breaches [Palmer excepted] to tally only new substantive offences.


Friday –

Media briefing held. On the agenda: an update to the officer-involved shooting – suspect ID’d and picture released. Others: The bizarre arrest of an off-duty RCMP officer who found his way into a stranger’s home while drunken, and a notification about an arrest in connection to the sale of mouthwash or whatever non-potable gunk to drunks in the downtown.

On the adult criminal intake docket from Friday – does not include domestic violence-related arrests, youths arrested or people arrested and released on a promise to appear:

  • Male, Robbery, non-compliance with a conditional sentence
  • Female, prostitution-related, theft under $5,000
  • Male, theft under $5,000 x3
  • Male, theft under $5,000
  • Female, theft under $5,000 [pending on two other theft under charges — likely chronic shoplifter]
  • Male, possession for the purpose of trafficking x2, gun offences x4 and possession of property obtained by crime
  • Male, theft under
  • Male, robbery with a weapon x2, break and enter with intent to commit robbery or violence
  • Male, robbery with a weapon x2, break and enter with intent to commit robbery or violence [co-accused to above]
  • Male, robbery with a weapon, drug possession
  • Male, robbery with a weapon
  • Male, break, enter and theft, fail to comply with youth sentence
  • Male, mischief to religious property and failing curfew [see Sun’s story from today. Guy’s name is Jessie Garret Thompsett].


So, there you have week one of this ongoing project. Again, I ask for your suggestions on how this could be improved, bearing in mind I’m not flush with time to sift through all the paper.

I leave it to you to come to your own conclusions about what this means. Remember, this denotes but a fraction of the results police have demonstrated this week in terms of arrests made, crimes possibly solved.

Assuming, that is, that they have the right suspect.

What I take away from it is that while a number of serious incidents went unreported, I don’t believe the PIO is, at root, the reason for this.

I note that each day of this week, reporters got face time with the police, contrary to Menno’s assertion that cancellations of daily briefings are deliberate.

I also note that anyone wanting a taste of how the police and the media interacted prior to the adoption of the PIO system, head down to your library and look at some of the absolutely great police-related stories from the early 90s by Cory Castagna of the Sun, or Mike McIntyre from the Sun and later, the FP.

It used to be very different.