Parents have NO RIGHTS.... ONLY RESPONSIBILITIES....
Parents' Rights now gone with my Homosexual Marriage bill"
Contact & Friendly Parent Rule has to go to conform
to Judicial Practice, or Judges may be held in criminal BREACH OF TRUST"
the ideas that the State assigns
Responsibilities to it's Citizen is straight from pre-war Nazi
Germany. Under the British system rights are not
State-given, but God Given.
into the Court's position that what rights remain are Children's Rights,
is buying into the same position that "<Natural> Parents have no
rights", and Canadian Children are at birth the property of the Courts.
Ask a lawyer what "Common Law" is and they will
likely tell you it is
"Judge Made Law", and expand up this to say
"Common Law is whatever the Judges are commonly saying these days".
completely FALSE. The Judges are Agents of the Crown
and they BY DEFINITION Judges
are WITHOUT CAPACITY to make any law whatsoever. Since
1649, only PARLIAMENT
has the Capacity to make Law.
British Common law was NOT created by Judges, it was only observed
and documented by individuals sent out by the newly Norman Crown after
Norman Conquest of 1066 to observe and codify the laws and
customs of the various peoples of Britain.. This was done with a
view to aggregate existing customs which may vary across the land,
into a unified body of Laws. The Authority quoted by the Commoners
in their administration of
Common Law were frequently direct quotations from the
Bible and principles
The process of documentation took only a couple of
hundred years, and the product was a STATIC body of Law which was
historical, popular, and has served in the intervening centuries as a
Benchmark against which
Statutory Law may be measured for "Fairness".
It does NOT change.
Svend Robinson (right) cries while being supported by his partner
Max Riveron. Robinson claimed "stress" caused him to steal
the jewelry he intended to give his boyfriend. Robinson continues
to practice law in BC following a deal cut with his
Bill C250 added Homosexuals to the super class of groups in Canada's
retarded "Hate Law". who
can destroy in Criminal Court regular Canadians for exercising
Even France has rejected Homo-marriage (preferring
France's homosexuals to emigrate to Canada?!). International societies
of Women Judges & Lawyers appear to have designated Canada as the
globe's Homosexual habitat of choice:
Meijers Latest news about globalizing Homo-Marriage & Homo-Parenting;
Coming up: 26-29 June 2005, Toronto, Canada, the conference of the
International Lesbian and Gay Law Association (ILGLaw),
Fabian Society, Communitarian
"Wolves in Sheep's' Clothing"
Globalizing National Socialism (Nazism) since 1884
In June 1989,
Gisele Marie Goudreault, 46 disobeyed a court order to hand her son
Orey over to his father, Rod Steinmann of Ponoka, who had been awarded
custody. She fled with the boy to Mexico and lived there for four months
before moving to California. ... Justice Peter Martin condemned
which prevented Orey and his father from being together during the
child's formative years. "They had the right to know and
love each other. "That possibility was totally and irrevocably
destroyed," Martin said. "What this woman did to this man and this
child is every parent's nightmare."2004-02-19
US teen 'discovers own kidnap', BBC
Stanley Monteith. It is impossible to understand the
unfolding of world events without the information
contained in this video. What was the origin of the
on Foreign Relations, and what is its relationship
Socialism and Communism? This video is felt by many
researchers to be the best single source of information
on the movements working to create a New World Order. No
researcher, or seeker for the truth should be without a
copy of this highly acclaimed presentation.
Canada's only leadership camp for
"lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-identified, two-spirited,
intersexed, queer, questioning and allied youth" made
its debut yesterday in B.C. With the
three-day event on an unnamed island in Howe Sound comes
a chance for the province's young "sexual minority" to
have their own space -- perhaps for the first time in
"The youth can just be completely free to be themselves,
and they don't have to worry about some of the negative
consequences or . . . the stigma just associated with
expressing themselves," said
Rod Knight, the camp's B.C. director. Knight,
29, calls the camp a "social-health
and education intervention" for a group
that does not have enough community support.
Camp fYrefly was founded by university researchers
at the University of Alberta in 2004. It expanded this
year to Newfoundland, Regina and the Vancouver area.
Participants must apply to attend the camp, but Knight
said no one was turned away this year. In B.C., 50
aged 14 to 24, are doing campy things such as theatre
and hiking, but also learning about health and sexuality
and issues in the queer community. There are 10 youth
leaders and 20 adult volunteers, as well as guest
speakers. But it is the camp atmosphere that
means the most, said Knight.
"Just sitting around doing arts and crafts can be
potentially emancipatory experiences for them," he said.
"They're talking about things that they may never in
their own community have talked about, or had the
opportunity to talk about."
For Taylor Basso, 19, a youth leader from Surrey,
the camp is a chance to mentor young
people and share his life experiences as a
gay youth. "I thought that I had come to a
place of accepting who I was, but I realized that, for
me, self-acceptance meant silence," said Basso. "I was
not comfortable speaking about it with other people."
The third-year University of B.C. creative-writing
student now volunteers with a queer organization and has
many people in the gay community.
"Everyone should celebrate themselves,"
he said. "Not just queer people. I think that
everyone should be allowed to celebrate what makes them
an individual, what makes them unique." <Note
Personality taking hold>
Note that in Homosexual culture
"Celebration" typically means heavy partying and orgies.
Children who grow up without both parents in their lives are
more prone to a whole host of social problems.
According to a three-year study done by
Edward Kruk, an associate professor of social work at the
University of British Columbia, 85% of young people in prison
and youth detention are fatherless. This is a particularly
important finding since, according to Statistics Canada, youth
crime is the only category of crime that has been consistently
increasing over the past decade. Nearly one-in-five young
Canadians will have a run-in with the law — more than twice the
percentage of adults — and most of them have no father in the
A combination of his own research and the findings of dozens of
long-term studies of the effects of divorce on children,
Professor Kruk’s study explains that 90% of runaways, as well as
71% of dropouts and majorities of depressed, suicidal, addicted
and pregnant teens, grew up in father-absent homes.
It’s true: There are bad dads out there — men who abuse their
wives or children, or both, or even just abandon them,
disappearing entirely from their lives. But more often than not,
father absence is the result of divorce, and, increasingly, of
our legal system’s deliberate bias in favour of mothers and
against fathers in custody awards.
Nearly 80% of custody awards in Canadian courts are made to
mothers, and visitation rights are almost never enforced with
the same enthusiasm as child support awards. Public officials
are quick to condemn so-called deadbeat dads, passing laws to
suspend their driver’s licenses and government cheques if they
are behind on their payments to their exes. Yet mothers who deny
visitation are almost never punished. No province, in practice,
has penalties for access denial that match those for falling
behind on support.
Federal judges and many appointed to provincial courts are
required to take sensitivity training on women’s perspectives of
and experiences with the justice system. No similar courses
about men’s perceptions are required, because the (badly
mistaken) belief within the system is that our laws and courts
are stacked in favour of men.
Among all the examples of anti-male bias in our family law, two
stand out. In the mid-1990s, then-justice minister
Allan Rock changed Canadian law so that men could no longer
deduct child support from their taxes, while women receiving
support no longer had to pay taxes on that income. In other
words, men are taxed on income they do not have, while women —
who are the recipients and beneficiaries of the income — don’t
Many judges in divorce cases initially “grossed up” or “grossed
down” their support awards to compensate for this new
upside-down tax arrangement, so the net effect was neutral.
Still, the point of the change was to punish men because the
bias within the federal justice department held that men were
all heels and women all victims.
Over time, too, the initial neutrality has vanished (if men’s
stories of their financial experiences after divorce are to be
believed), forcing many divorced fathers into poverty,
alienation from their children, depression and even suicide.
The other glaring example of anti-male bias comes from Justice
Canada’s rejection of a 1998 recommendation by a joint
Commons-Senate committee that all child custody awards in
divorce cases start as 50-50 mother-father arrangements. Not
only did the justice department ignore the suggestion of “equal
parenting,” in 2001 arch-feminist civil servants conducted their
own cross-country review in secret, inviting testimony only from
those special interest “experts” who agreed with their jaded
view of men.
According to the latest census figures, husbands and wives who
both work outside the home now spend nearly equal time raising
children. If, in divorce, one parent is given far more time than
the other with the children, the kids suffer badly from the loss
of affection and contact with the non-custodial parent, who is
usually the father.
The best solution is for couples to work harder to avoid
divorce. It is a modern myth that if the adults are happier
after divorce, the children eventually will be, too. Divorce is
hard on kids, period.
But given that divorce is unavoidable today, the Conservative
government must heed Prof. Kruk’s finding and reconsider the
concept of equal parenting when marriages fall apart.
A male nurse who made a citizen’s
arrest by grabbing a cocaine-intoxicated robber by the
neck, unintentionally causing his death has been given a
Provincial court Justice William Wolski gave
Norman English an 18-month suspended sentence
Thursday after he pleaded guilty to assault causing
bodily harm. The judge said it was ironic that someone
who has dedicated much of his career to preserving life
would be involved in taking one.
The court found that English used
excessive force in a reckless manner. The
47-year-old nurse, who works with a transplant team at a
major Toronto teaching hospital, was originally charged
with manslaughter in the death of Stephen MacEachern,
but the court accepted his guilty plea to assault
causing bodily harm.
Outside court, defence lawyer Frank Gabriel said his
client was very happy with the sentence. The judge was
“terrifically fair,” Gabriel said. English declined
But MacEachern’s spouse, Debbie, who asked that her last
name not be used, said the sentence is not fair,
considering a life was lost.
In the early hours of Sept. 22, 2006, English met
MacEachern, 45, at a downtown Toronto bar and the two
went to his apartment near Yonge and Carlton Sts. After
they arrived, MacEachern shoved English to the ground
and stole his wallet, court heard.
English gave chase and caught MacEachern in the
building’s stairwell. As they struggled, he used his arm
to grip MacEachern by the neck, while shouting for
police. When English got off the man, he noticed he
wasn’t moving. Building security officers arrived and
used CPR to try to revive MacEachern.
Unknown to English, the man was very high on cocaine and
died on the scene. The cause of death was pressure
exerted on the neck of a person with acute cocaine
The judge said English was reckless in the way he went
about retrieving his wallet, but he did not know
MacEachern was acutely intoxicated. “I am satisfied that
Mr. English should be punished but I am also satisfied
that he is a person unlikely to reoffend.”
English has expressed great remorse, the judge said.
During the 18 months, English must take counselling, do
35 hours of community service, and consume no alcohol or
Although English had assault and drunk driving
convictions nearly two decades old, he is now “a
contributing member of society,” Wolski said.
Fathers4Equality respond to recent comments by the Chief
Justice of the Australian Family Court
A case of poor judgment
Chief Justice of the Family Court, Diana Bryant, has recently
launched an extraordinary attack on Australia's internationally
regarded 2006 Family Law amendments, by writing to the
Attorney-General and asking him to urgently repeal important
provisions within the amendments.
These provisions in the family law act were specifically
implemented to reduce the epidemic of false allegations and
parental alienation that permeate every corridor of the Family
Law Courts, to the clear detriment of the innocent children
caught in the cross-fire. But Bryant wants them removed, and
fails to explain how the innocent victims of maliciously false
allegations would be protected without them.
What is more astonishing it seems is that unlike the
parliamentary committee that recommended these laws in the first
place, the Chief Justice has not consulted widely before making
such an extraordinary intervention (in fact she has not
consulted with any fathers' groups at all). Rightly or wrongly,
Bryant will now be perceived to have compromised views on this
issue, denying her the opportunity to have played a unifying
force in the process of family law reform in this country, much
like the wasted opportunities of her predecessor.
The two provisions Bryant wants specifically removed include:
the order of costs, at the Judge's discretion, against a
parent who has been proven to have "knowingly" made false
allegation in Court, and
unspecified actions, at the Judges's discretion, against a
parent who has purposely alienated or deliberately maligned the
children against the other parent
The importance of these provisions
These provisions have been specifically implemented to reduce
the disturbingly common practices by some separated parents in
making contrived and sinister allegations in Court against the
other parent, and to otherwise engage in concerted efforts to
destroy the relationship between the child and the other parent.
This is done knowing full well the children will be irrevocably
harmed in the process, both psychologically and emotionally. Yet
it goes on and will continue to go on given human nature, unless
we have laws to help it stop.
So these are "good", modest provisions designed to stop
misguided parents from misusing the system and abusing innocent
Introduced only after extensive community consultation
These provisions were agreed to by a bi-partisan parliamentary
committee (both Labor and Libs/Nats) that went around Australia
canvassing the views of all Australians for over two years.
Finally this committee was so appalled at the extent of
institutional abuse in the Family Court that it recommended
measures to protect innocent children and parents who were
victims of contrived allegations and parental alienation by
But Bryant wants to override the will of the Australian people
and the will of Parliament, and to completely remove all
disincentives against lying in the Family Court
Really soft penalty for a very serious crime
Proving that someone has "knowingly" made false allegations
rather than "mistakenly" or "recklessly" is quite a tall order.
The standard of proof in these matters is a very tough hurdle to
pass, and as a result "knowingly false" allegations have only
been proven in a relatively few cases in recent years. If they
are proved, they may result in a costs order, although this has
been rarely applied in children's matters by the judiciary.
Now given that perjury in any other Australian court may result
in 10 years or more jail time, one must be mindful of the fact
that this is a really soft penalty for a very serious crime. It
is a provision however that can work as a disincentive, albeit a
modest one, in dissuading many parents from lying in the Family
Court in the first place.
So these are "good", modest provisions designed as a
disincentive to those misguided parents who may in a moment of
weakness be tempted to make contrived allegations in Court.
Measured responses to issues of concern
Bryant justifies the need for these changes by suggesting that
some people have misunderstood these provisions. Even if this is
true, her suggested fix is a remarkable over-reaction to an
issue that could be addressed through a number of simple
Given that most parents in family law proceedings are either
represented by lawyers, have visited a family relationship
centre or have sought government funded legal services, a simple
review could identify the cause of this misinformation from
within these service providers, and provide an opportunity for
corrective measures to be implemented.
Secondly, a request to the Attorney General to implement an
educational campaign to educate parents about these provisions
would go a long way in addressing any existing misconceptions,
and would be a more measured and effective approach to the issue
Given the unprecedented nature of these family law amendments,
what is required are sensible, well-measured & ultimately timely
approaches to these issues, in order to allow for proper
outcomes based research to develop. Anything less than this
would put at risk the very wellbeing of those we are trying to
Broader consultations as a first step
Fathers4Equality would like to encourage the Chief Justice to
put some thought into what checks and measures she would
alternatively suggest be implemented, if the current provisions
are removed, to protect children from the devastating damage
resulting from alienation and perjury in Court. Given that lying
in the Family Court and parental alienation are forms of child
abuse, we stress the importance of carefully considering the
implications to the welfare of children if these safeguards are
Secondly and in reference to a recent campaign that has promoted
a less than accurate reflection of these new laws, we would ask
the Chief Justice to consider making a public statement to the
effect, as is the case, that no evidence exists of any
escalation of child abuse as a result of the new amendments.
This would be an important statement from the Chief Justice in
the interests of an informed community discussion on this
matter, and would help ensure that the debate is discussed in
terms of facts, not innuendo.
Finally, we would like to draw attention to the increasingly
under-resourced and overworked child protection authorities in
this country, and the fact that too many cases of genuine abuse
are not thoroughly investigated, in part because of the level of
false allegations emanating from the Family Court. It must be
recognised that for every hour that a child protection officer
is investigating a false allegation, it is one hour less
protection that can be given to a child in genuine need, and
this is a cost that the children of Australia simply cannot
Fathers4Equality would be open to discussing these important
issues further with the Chief Justice, if she is willing to
accept our invitation.
A former private school teacher in Burnaby, B.C., has
been sentenced to six months in jail for what the judge
in the case called the "abhorrent" sexual exploitation
of one of her male students.
sentence — which included
two years' probation and a ban on contact with males
between the ages of 14 and 18 — was meant to send
a very clear statement, provincial court
Judge Jocelyn Palmer said.
The teacher had pleaded guilty to
sexual exploitation, an offence that carries a
45-day mandatory minimum sentence. Her lawyer had asked
for a 90-day term
to be served on weekends so the woman could continue to
care for her two young children. The
court was told in earlier hearings that while a drama
teacher at the
Burnaby private school in 2007, the woman developed
a sexual relationship with a male student, 17, that led
to oral sex and intercourse. The teacher not
only breached the boundaries between teacher and student
by instigating the relationship but also violated his
trust further by gossiping about the act after the fact
with other students, Palmer said Friday. The judge
turned down the Crown's request that the teacher's name
be added to the
sexual offender registry.
A ban was issued on the publication of the names of the
student, the teacher and the school involved.
Mentally ill man <Byron Prior>
held not criminally responsible for libel
A judge has ruled that a mentally ill
man who accused a former politician of sexual misconduct
can’t be held criminally responsible for damaging the
politician’s reputation by spreading the accusations.
was charged with a defamatory libel after he published
leaflets, wore placards and made comments on a website
about the former politician, whom he accused of sexual
misconduct with his own young sister in the 1960s.
The charge against Prior read that he’d published
comments he knew were defamatory and false on May 29,
Prior didn’t deny making the comments. Rather, he argued
that the statements were true and therefore not
defamatory. However, evidence entered by police, the
politician — who can’t be named to protect his identity
— and even Prior’s sister, showed the accusations
weren’t true. Normally that would result in jail
time — as much as five years less a day — but because of
Prior’s mental health issues, on July 20
Judge David Orr
ordered him to the Waterford Hospital, where the
mental-health review board will decide what happens
In statements to police in the late 1990s about sexual
abuse in his family, Prior alleged there was a cover-up
to protect the politician, though he admitted to
officers then that he had no proof of sexual misconduct
or of a cover-up. “He simply had a ‘gut feeling,’”
according to court documents.
He told police he hadn’t made the
complaint earlier because he felt the politician had too
much influence. He said he wanted the police to uncover
evidence in an official investigation.
Police followed up on the case and
interviewed Prior’s sister twice. Both times she denied
the incident ever happened. She denied it for a
third time before the charges were laid against her
brother. The politician was also interviewed and
he denied knowing the girl or Prior at the time the
incident was supposed to have happened. He denied
anything ever happened with the girl. He said he
became aware of the family because of the allegations
levelled against him by Prior.
The court ruled that based on the
timelines outlined by Prior, his claims were impossible.
“Mr. Prior has engaged in a campaign to publicize his
allegations …,” the decision reads. “In the past, he has
made statements about it on the Internet, he has set up
a booth on Parliament Hill in Ottawa with signs on it …
and has printed and distributed pamphlets to that
Prior had two separate psychological
assessments. One showed he suffers from a delusional
disorder. The second said he was depressed and suffers
from neurosis as a result of a traumatic childhood, but
is not delusional.
“In this case, the accused suffers from a disease of the
mind, delusional disorder and had a false belief that
deprived him of the capacity to rationally make a choice
about the rightness or wrongness of his actions,”
Orr wrote.“… A verdict of
not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder
How come you did not mention the fact
that Byron's sister got pregnant at the tender age of
twelve and delivered a baby girl? Was that a case of
Immaculate Conception or a case of rape, or statutory
rape if she went along with it? This baby girl must have
been fathered by someone would you agree on that?
How come you did not mention the fact that this baby
girl and Byron's niece grew up and went to work and to
this very day works for a company that is owned by the
very politician who allegedly raped Byron’s sister and
made her pregnant??
How come you decided to ignore to
mention that Byron Prior made a very simple request that
politician Byron accused of raping his sister submit
himself to a DNA testing in order to exclude him as a
father of Byron’s nice born to his sister when his
sister was twelve years old?? How come you decided to
ignore to mention that a politician Byron accused of
raping his sister refused to submit himself to such DNA
How come you decided to ignore to
mention that Byron Prior was tried under section 301 of
the Criminal Code of Canada in 2008 in Supreme Court and
Justice Lois Hoegg dismissed all charges against Byron
Prior by finding Section 301 of the Criminal Code of
How come you decided to ignore to
mention that Justice Lois Hoegg in her ruling in May of
2008 mentioned specifically that the Crown had ample
opportunity to charge Byron Prior under Section 300 of
the Criminal Code of Canada and chose not to proceed??
How come you decided to ignore to
mention that Justice Lois Hoegg decision effectively
barred Newfoundland Crown from charging Byron Prior
under Section 300 of Criminal Code as it would be a
clear violation of Section 11(h) of the Canadian Charter
of Rights and Freedoms that bars double jeopardy..
11. Any person charged with an offence has the right
(h) if finally acquitted of the offence, not to be tried
for it again and, if finally found guilty and punished
for the offence, not to be tried or punished for it
How come you decided to ignore to mention that
Newfoundland Crown basically ignored Justice Hoegg’s
decision as they never appealed it, and charged Byron
Prior for the same offences based on the same set of
facts in Provincial Court using Section 300 of Criminal
Code despite of having plenty of opportunity on previous
occasion to argue their case in front of Justice Hoegg
in Supreme Court.
There is much more to your hatchet
job of an article that you wrote and published in the
Telegram than what I have mentioned so far but I am not
about to try to have a public discussions based on court
materials that are not accessible to general public.
Matthew Spencer, left, testified Friday that he’s always
known in his heart that his father, Clyde Ray Spencer,
right, never abused him. (Zachary Kaufman/The Columbian)
The two adult children of former Vancouver police
Spencer, who spent nearly 20 years in prison after being
convicted of molesting them, testified in court Friday
the abuse never happened.
A 33-year-old son recalled how, at age 9, he was
repeatedly questioned, alone, by now-retired Detective
Sharon Krause of the Clark County Sheriff's Office. He
said after months of questioning, he said he was abused
to get Krause to leave him alone. A
30-year-old daughter said she doesn't remember what she
told Krause at age 5, but recalled Krause bought her ice
cream. Both children, who live in
Sacramento, Calif., said that while growing up in
California they were told by their mother, who divorced
Spencer before Spencer was charged, that they were
blocking out the memory of the
They said they realized as adults the abuse never
happened, and they came forward because it was the right
thing to do.
The fallout from Friday's hearing won't be known for
months, after appellate judges weigh in. But the hearing
does pave the way for the state Court of Appeals to
allow Spencer to withdraw the no-contest pleas he
entered in 1985 and have his convictions vacated.
After Matthew Spencer and Kathryn (Spencer) Tetz each
took a turn on the witness stand, Superior Court Judge
Robert Lewis said their testimony followed the written
declarations they filed with the Court of Appeals.
Since the appellate court doesn't take live testimony
from witnesses, Lewis was ordered to listen to the
children testify and see whether they stuck by their
written declarations, even under cross-examination by a
They did, Lewis said.
Spencer, 61, who goes by Ray, hugged his son and
daughter after the hearing while a dozen supporters
cheered. In 1985, Spencer was also
convicted of abusing a 4-year-old stepson, who was not
at Friday's hearing. The Court of Appeals
ruled his testimony was not necessary, given his age at
the time of the alleged crimes and the fact his mother
had an affair with Krause's supervisor.
According to Krause, the children were together when
they were abused. Both Matthew Spencer and
Tetz testified their stepbrother was never abused by
their dad. In 1985, Spencer entered the
no-contest pleas, a type of guilty plea, after learning
his court-appointed attorney had not prepared a defense.
He felt pleading no contest was his only option, and
that he would appeal his convictions. Former
Judge Thomas Lodge sentenced Spencer to two life terms
in prison, plus 14 years. For several years,
Spencer's appeals failed. He was denied parole five
times because he refused to admit guilt and enter a sex
offender treatment program.
He hired Seattle attorney Peter Camiel in the mid-1990s.
Camiel and a private investigator uncovered several
disturbing facts about the investigation — including
that prosecutors withheld medical exams that showed no
evidence of abuse, despite Krause's claims that the
children had been violently, repeatedly raped — and
those discoveries led Gov. Gary Locke to commute
Spencer's sentence in 2004. Spencer was
ordered to be on supervision for three years.
He's still a convicted sex offender, and Friday's
hearing was just another step in the long process of
clearing his name. The process has
admittedly taken its toll on Spencer, who suffered a
heart attack in April. "For so many years, nothing
went right," said Spencer. "When things keep going
right, I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop."
Senior Deputy Prosecutor Kim Farr grilled Spencer's
children about why they are so certain they weren't
abused. Matthew Spencer said he knew his
father had ruined the relationship with his mother.
"He had downfalls. But none of them were molesting
children," he said.
Tetz said when she finally read the police reports she
was "absolutely sure" the abuse never happened. "I
would have remembered something that graphic, that
violent," she said. Krause, who declined an
interview request from The Columbian in 2005, could not
be reached Friday.
If the Court of Appeals vacates Spencer's convictions,
the case would return to the Clark County Prosecutor's
Office. Charges would either be refiled or
dismissed. Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor
Dennis Hunter wasn't ready to wave a white flag on
Friday. He said if convictions are tossed, prosecutors
could appeal to the state Supreme Court. After the
hearing, Spencer, who has received his doctorate in
clinical psychology but cannot get his state license as
long as he has a criminal record, said he will just have
to wait and see.
But at least he has his children, who didn't talk to him
for more than 20 years. "They were my life, and
they were taken away from me. That was the hardest part.
I could serve in prison," Spencer said, before his voice
trailed off, and his son came up for another hug.
‘This law if passed would make it mandatory for two
parents who are divorcing to discuss with either a
mediator or a judge how they would divide the time with
the children’ –
In the weeks preceding this past Fathers’ Day, there
were so many different interpretations of who is a dad,
some may have found it difficult to distinguish just
what is a father these days. Oprah featured a single dad
with nine children, and the National Post didn’t do much
for the idea of fathers as role models when it ran an
article on the importance of sperm in child development.
Divorce Act amendments
Now a small group of legislators from
different sides of the House of Commons in Ottawa have
gotten together in an attempt to address some of the
real issues. Bill C-422, to amend the Divorce Act in
favor of a presumption of equal parenting, has been
tabled by Saskatchewan Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott,
with the support of Laval-les Îles Liberal Raymonde
Folco and Lévis-Bellechasse Conservative Steven Blaney.
At least one purpose of the proposed
amendment would be to counter an overall bias many
people feel currently exists in divorce and child
custody law which generally favours women. “I had
already met with a group that was trying to get a
private member’s bill on this,” Folco said in an
interview with TLN.
‘No hesitation’: Folco
“They thought I would be interested
because of some of the other things I’d done in
Parliament. So I said I would be very happy to second
it. This is the kind of bill where I felt no hesitation
at all. If he hadn’t tabled it, I would have. This law
if passed would make it mandatory for two parents who
are divorcing to discuss with either a mediator or a
judge how they would divide the time with the children.
“Equal parenting means that 50 per
cent of the time a child would be with one parent and 50
per cent with the other,” she continued. “That’s so that
the two parents can come together for the good of the
child. If one of the parents felt that during the week
it was impossible for him or her to have the child and
they would rather have him or her on the weekend, that
would be something to be discussed between the two
parents with a mediator. But the basic line is a 50-50
proposition, and this is to help the child grow up with
the help of both parents.”
The Canadian Equal Parenting Council,
a coalition of 40 member organizations and worldwide
affiliates pushing for the recognition of presumptive
equal parenting as being in the best interest of the
child, is pleased with the proposed amendment. “We have
had the real pleasure of working on this legislation
with Mr. Vellacott who truly has the same interests as
our coalition ― protecting the best interests of
children after divorce,” said Kris Titus, co-president
of the CEPC.
The CEPC says it agrees with Liberal
leader Michael Ignatieff’s position on the issue and has
called on all parties and their leaders to stand by
their commitments to the United Nations Convention on
the Rights of the Child, ratified by Canada in 1992, and
to follow recommendations made in the For the Sake of
the Children Parliamentary report of 1998.
Fathers 4 Justice
Regarding the move to shared
parenting legislative changes, Ignatieff wrote in his
2002 book The Rights Revolution, “These are sensible and
overdue suggestions.” Fathers 4 Justice Canada, a
controversial group that has attracted a fair bit of
media attention in recent years with tactics such as
scaling tall structures like bridges where they hang
banners, fully supports the proposed changes.
"Men in Canada need to quite
literally start protecting themselves from the flawed
family law system,” the group said in a statement
reacting to Bill C-422. “Right now the focus is on
litigation not restoration. Money talks and Dads are
forced to walk away because they cannot afford to fight
for their children any longer. We need to start asking
why they should even have to. Dads are just not seen as
Amid a torrent of emotion, a Toronto
woman accused of using an axe to bludgeon to death
her lesbian lover's possessive boyfriend
walked free from a downtown courtroom yesterday
afternoon, acquitted of first-degree murder.
<murdering a competitor isn't "possessive?>
The verdict from the
five-man jury capped more than three days of
Ashleigh Pechaluk, 24, and her parents embraced
tearfully before stepping out into the bright sunshine
to face a bank of microphones and television cameras.
Arrested the day of the murder, she spent more than two
and a half years in custody. But both she and her
Beverley Salton, said yesterday they never doubted
the outcome and praised the skills and compassion of
defence lawyers Peter Zaduk and Kristine Connidis.
“That's what got me through,” Ms. Pechaluk told the
media throng. “It's been a long time – hard,
stressful, not knowing what's going to happen, and there
was always that bit of doubt,” she said. “But I always
knew it was going to be okay.”
She had pleaded not guilty in the Oct. 27, 2006 slaying
Dennis Hoy, a 36-year-old GO Transit constable and
long-time boyfriend of her former lover,
Nicola (Nicky) Puddicombe. Ms. Puddicombe is
set to stand trial beginning Monday. She too is charged
with first-degree murder in Mr. Hoy's death.
During Ms. Pechaluk's two-month trial, the prosecution
alleged the two women killed Mr. Hoy so they could be
together. He was found bludgeoned to death by an
axe in Ms. Puddicombe's bed in the Queensway apartment
shared by the two accused. The jury also heard
Puddicombe, now 36, was the sole beneficiary of Mr.
Hoy's $238,200 life insurance policy and his pension
proceeds, and that she had convinced Ms. Pechaluk
that Mr. Hoy was a high-ranking member of the Hells
Angels motorcycle gang, a killer and a drug dealer.
“[Ms.] Puddicombe had Ashleigh Pechaluk believing she
[Ms. Puddicombe] was being forced to have sex with
Dennis Hoy,” Judge Benotto said in outlining
the case presented by lead prosecutor Maureen Bellmore.
“She wanted to pump up Ashleigh into a frenzy of hate,
so that she could kill Dennis Hoy.” But
after deliberations punctuated by a temporary impasse,
when they returned to court to tell the judge they were
deadlocked and were urged to go back and try again, the
jurors concluded otherwise. In doing so they
accepted Mr. Zaduk's contention that although his client
had talked with friends about getting rid of Mr. Hoy,
even in the last days before his death, she never went
through with the plan.
The Crown's case against Ms. Pechaluk was almost
entirely circumstantial. The gory crime scene yielded no
physical evidence against her: no blood traces, no
fingerprints, no DNA. And also central to the
verdict, in all likelihood, was Ms. Pechaluk's decision
to testify on her own behalf, which she did for close to
three days. Wary of the rigours of
cross-examination by the prosecution, defendants in
murder trials rarely take the witness stand. But Ms.
Pechaluk remained calm and articulate, turning in a
performance that observers found compelling.
“I just answered the questions as best I could,” she
said yesterday. “I wasn't really aware of anyone else in
the room. You just try and get through it.”
The stakes in the trial could scarcely have been higher.
Conviction for first-degree murder carries an automatic
penalty of life imprisonment with little chance of
parole for 25 years. But Mr. Zaduk said yesterday
he was certain all along his client was innocent.
“There's not a fibre of her being that made her capable
of this [murder].” He conceded it was a bad moment
when the jury returned to the courtroom on Wednesday and
announced that it was unable to reach a verdict, which
under Canadian law must be unanimous. “That really
rips you, you have the sense that you have to go through
all this again. I'm just really glad that justice
prevailed in the end.”
Ms. Salton and Ms. Pechaluk's stepfather, Keith St.
John, attended the trial every day, seated in the left
front row of the spectators' gallery. Since their
daughter's arrest, that was about as close as they had
got. “I haven't touched her in two years and seven
months,” Ms. Salton said after the verdict.
The moment when the jury pronounced Ms . Pechaluk not
guilty “was amazing,” Ms. Salton said, giving her
daughter another hug. “ I never, ever doubted this
would happen but it was more wonderful than I thought.”
As for Ms. Puddicombe's trial, which will be prefaced
next week by legal arguments, “We'll deal with that,
we're not thinking about that right now,” Ms. Pechaluk
said. “She'll have a fair trial.”
She also commiserated with Mr. Hoy's parents, who were
estranged from their son, did not attend his funeral and
only occasionally visited the trial.
“I'm sorry for their loss,” she said.
“It's not fair.” Her first post-custody pleasure?
“Seafood,” she said with a laugh.
Beyond that, she said her future will encompass working
with children. “It's a new
slate, starting again, this is over for me now and I
want to get on with my life,” she said. And in the
embrace of her beaming parents, still pursued by the
cameras, she walked quickly away.
Trial Underway In 2006 Etobicoke Axe Murder, April
The trial got underway Tuesday in the
2006 axe murder of a man in a west end apartment.
The body of 36-year-old Dennis Hoy was found in a
building on The Queensway near Royal York in October of
that year. Ashley Pechaluk, who is in her early
20s, faces first degree murder charges in the slaying.
In an opening statement Tuesday the Crown alleged that
the accused stood to make $250,000 in insurance money
and was in a sexual relationship with another woman
who's also accused in Hoy's death.
The second woman accused is also
believed to have been in a relationship with Hoy and
Pechaluk, with the latter scheming the murder after she
sought an exclusive relationship with Hoy's long-time
girlfriend. Nicola Puddicombe, in her early 30s,
faces an equal charge of first degree murder and will
stand trial later this year. The Crown says she was the
sole beneficiary of Hoy's life insurance policy.
<Ashleigh Pechaluk> Not guilty
in axe-murder trial, June 4, 2009
A woman was acquitted today of murdering her lover’s
boyfriend in a bizarre love triangle. A jury found
Ashleigh Pechaluk, 24, not guilty of all charges
stemming from the Oct. 27, 2006, bludgeoning death of
Dennis Hoy, 36, while he slept in the bed of his
long-time girlfriend Nicola ‘Nicky’ Puddicombe.
who has been in custody since that day, almost 3 1/2
years in jail, was freed at 4 p.m. after the jury
rendered its verdict. She hugged her lawyers Peter
Zaduk and Kristine Connidis and then embraced her mother
Bev Salton for several moments as both women shook with
In summing up the prosecution case earlier yesterday,
Madam Justice Mary Lou Benotto called Puddicombe “a
master manipulator who carried on sexual relationships
with Dennis Hoy and Ashleigh Pechaluk at the same time.”
The jury, which began its deliberations at 3 p.m.
Monday, returned its verdict after four days of
deliberations. Crown attorneys Tom Lissaman and Maureen
Bellmore argued that Pechaluk is the axe-wielding
assassin who killed Hoy in a plot executed by her and
Puddicombe, so that the lesbian lovers would be free of
Pechaluk, 24, maintained her innocence, saying she never
intended to kill Hoy. Once she rejected the scheme at
the last hour, she testified that Puddicombe alone
murdered him. Her co-workers universally liked
the easy-going Pechaluk, who once aspired to become a
Benotto had said the jury members must first understand
the dynamics of the love triangle of Puddicombe, Hoy and
Pechaluk, her lover of 13 months, before they could
decide if the prosecution had proved its case against
Pechaluk. “Puddicombe had Ashleigh Pechaluk
believing she (Puddicombe) was being forced to have sex
with Dennis Hoy,” said Benotto in her charge yesterday.
“She wanted to pump up Ashleigh into a frenzy of hate,
so that she could kill Dennis Hoy,” said Benotto.
Hoy was found bludgeoned to death by an axe as he slept
in Puddicombe’s bed.
Puddicombe convinced Pechaluk that Hoy, a GO Transit
officer and her boyfriend for 11 years, was a
high-ranking member of the Hells Angels motorcyle gang,
a killer and a drug dealer, said Benotto. Pechaluk also
believed that Hoy “controlled Puddicombe,” although
there’s “no evidence of that (or Hoy’s criminal
activities),” said Benotto.
The lesbian couple also indicated the timing was perfect
since Hoy had recently had his car tires slashed and was
sleeping at their home. The women wanted the police to
search for an assassin who’d invaded their home to kill
Pechaluk divulged details of the murder scheme to
co-worker and confidante Sarah Sousa, who became a key
Crown witness. Sousa knew inside details of the
plan, including what Puddicombe would tell the 911
operator and police and where the assassin would have
found a murder weapon inside their Queensway Ave. home.
Puddicombe, now 36, will go on trial, starting on
Monday at Superior Court in front of Benotto. The trial
is expected to last six weeks.
Cora MacPhail doesn’t dislike lawyers. She has close friends
who are lawyers; family members, too. MacPhail considers the law
to be an honourable profession. Which helps explain why her
dealings with the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) left her
In 2006, MacPhail was confined to a wheelchair for eight
weeks following ankle surgery. The retiree, who lives alone in
London, Ont., asked for help at home from a local care centre,
but due to a mix-up, was at first denied (the centre later
apologized, and provided her with services including a personal
care worker). MacPhail’s son fired off a letter of complaint to
the local MPP, and copied it to the centre; days later, the
elderly woman got a knock on her door. It was the care centre’s
“director of quality and contracted service delivery,” who
questioned her and her son about the letter, she says. The
meeting left her feeling uneasy. Weeks later, her son typed the
care centre employee’s name into Google and discovered he was a
lawyer, not a social worker, as they had believed. On Dec. 4,
2006, MacPhail filed a complaint with the LSUC, which regulates
Ontario’s lawyers and paralegals. “He did not disclose who he
was—a lawyer,” she wrote in her letter. “I trust you will take
MacPhail, who was hoping for an apology, figured it would be an
open-and-shut case. In fact, the process dragged on for almost
two years. Her complaint was at first dismissed; when she
requested an independent review, it bounced back to the law
society instead, where it was rejected again. MacPhail appealed
to a higher power, the complaints resolution commissioner, who
is funded by the law society to conduct impartial reviews of
their investigations. Then she learned the commissioner had a
conflict of interest and had to withdraw. When her complaint was
finally reviewed, the commissioner’s delegate found in
MacPhail’s favour, asking the law society to reconsider. It
did—and rejected her complaint a third and final time, deciding
the man was not working in his capacity as a lawyer at the time
of the visit. (For confidentiality reasons, the LSUC declined to
comment on the case.)
MacPhail’s story is just one small example of what critics call
a fundamental problem with the way the Canadian legal profession
is regulated. Law societies, the regulatory bodies to which
every practising lawyer must belong, have the authority to
investigate and discipline their own members. But if you feel
you’ve been bamboozled by a lawyer, complaining to his or her
membership group can quickly undermine faith in the system. A
bright, vivacious woman, MacPhail becomes visibly deflated when
discussing her case. “It makes you feel very powerless,” she
says. “They’re all such pals.”
In other countries, concerns like MacPhail’s have become an
impetus for change. In England and Australia, for example, law
societies are having some powers stripped away, and independent
bodies have sprung up to deal with complaints. Among the
Commonwealth countries, Canada’s system of lawyer discipline is
fast becoming the exception instead of the rule. “People think
it’s Caesar judging Caesar, when it’s the legal profession
[handling complaints] itself,” says Steve Mark, legal services
commissioner for Australia’s largest state, New South Wales.
In England and Wales, a new law came into effect in 2007 aimed
at taking power away from lawyers and putting it in consumers’
hands. The profession’s self-regulating bodies, like the Bar
Council and Law Society of England and Wales (which represent
barristers and solicitors, respectively), no longer have free
rein: the Legal Services Act created an independent body,
chaired by a non-lawyer, to watch over them. The complaints
process has also been revamped. Instead of seeking redress from
the law society or bar council, members of the public will soon
be able to go directly to the independent Office for Legal
Complaints (OLC). Having a separate body perform this function
is crucial to bolster public confidence, says Mary Seneviratne,
director of research at Nottingham Law School and one of the
OLC’s recently appointed members.
England isn’t the first to move away from pure lawyer
self-regulation. In Australia, most states have an independent
legal services commissioner to handle complaints. Steve Mark has
been in the role in New South Wales since 1994; his office has
proved so successful it’s served as a model elsewhere, including
in England. As the “sole port of call” for complainants, he can
decide whether to handle them in his office (about
three-quarters of complaints stay with him), or refer them to
the law society or the New South Wales Bar Association. “As an
independent body, I can advocate for the consumer and not seem
to have a vested interest,” Mark says. And when he chooses to
dismiss a complaint, he adds, “it’s not assumed I’m trying to
protect the profession.”
In both England and Australia, it wasn’t just bad optics that
brought about change; law societies’ track records at
investigating complaints were notoriously awful. Prior to
reform, Zahida Manzoor, a non-lawyer who serves as legal
services ombudsman and legal services complaints commissioner
for England and Wales, issued a series of scathing reports
criticizing the law society’s complaints-handling arm for being
slow, poorly run and providing bad service. When it failed to
submit adequate plans to improve, she imposed a hefty fine. “It
wasn’t just a problem of perception; they were performing
badly,” Manzoor says. In the Australian state of Queensland,
where lawyer self-regulation came to an end in 2004, legal
ombudsman Jack Nimmo concluded the lawyers’ complaints-handling
body was “nothing but a post office box” that forwarded
complaints to the lawyer in question, then sent the response
back to the complainant.
Canadian law societies don’t have the same problems, argues
Stéphane Rivard, a Montreal lawyer and president of the
Federation of Law Societies of Canada, an umbrella for the 14
provincial and territorial bodies (Quebec has two). “What
triggers government intervention is when you have a lack of
rigour [in regulating the profession and investigating
complaints],” he says. “That’s not the case here.”
That, however, is up for debate. Canada hasn’t seen reforms
comparable to those abroad, but “I’m skeptical it’s because
lawyer self-regulation works here,” says Alice Woolley, an
associate professor with the University of Calgary’s faculty of
law. “There’s been insufficient scrutiny to assess that.” Unlike
Australia or England, Canada has no independent legal ombudsman;
members of the public must appeal to a law society-funded
commissioner. And while the Law Society of England and Wales was
criticized for receiving one complaint for every six of its
members, turns out the Law Society of Upper Canada, the largest
in the country, doesn’t have a much better record. In 2007, the
LSUC had 38,879 lawyer members, and got 6,157 complaints, a
ratio roughly equal to its English counterpart.
Philip Slayton is a former Bay Street lawyer and author of
Lawyers Gone Bad: Money, Sex and Madness in Canada’s Legal
Profession. He calls the disciplinary record of our law
societies a “patchwork quilt” that varies from province to
province, and even from one case to another. “I think the idea
of a law society disciplining its own members is contrary to the
basic principles of justice,” he says. Beyond that, “they’ve
done a bad job.”
Take the case of former Law Society of Upper Canada treasurer
George Hunter, which Slayton discusses in his book. In 2004,
Hunter sat on a law society panel that for the first time
disbarred a lawyer for sexually harassing a client (the
disbarment was later overturned on appeal). In 2007, after
Hunter admitted he himself had engaged in a relationship with a
client—one of three extramarital affairs he’d been juggling—the
prominent lawyer found himself back before the panel, this time
on the opposite end.
Hunter’s former client was not at the hearing, but her impact
statement told of depression, anxiety and a diagnosis of
post-traumatic stress disorder, the Lawyers Weekly reported.
Hunter’s counsel presented the panel with a stack of 27 “glowing
reference letters” on his behalf, many of them penned by
prominent benchers (members of the law society’s governing
board). “Spectators remarked on the irony of benchers urging
three fellow benchers to mete out the mildest possible sentence
to a former bencher guilty of conflict of interest,” the
lawyers’ newspaper reports. Hunter was suspended from practice
for 60 days.
Whether it creates a conflict of interest when law societies
investigate their members is “open to question,” says Paul
Paton, vice-chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s national
ethics and professional issues committee, and associate
professor at the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of
Law. But, he adds, “a perceived conflict of interest is often
equal, in the public mind, to an actual one.” Most dangerously,
that perception can put people off from complaining at all. In
one British survey, 81 per cent of people who’d used a solicitor
in the previous three years said they’d rather complain to an
independent body; if it had to be to another lawyer, 52 per cent
wouldn’t complain at all.
It’s unfortunate, says Manzoor, the legal services ombudsman for
England and Wales, because a lack of public confidence can
undermine the entire legal system. “We’re talking about the rule
of law. We’re talking about access to justice,” says Manzoor,
who supports independent complaints resolution. “It’s not
‘lawyer knows best’; it’s a service that’s being provided,” she
says. “We’ve got to make sure it’s of the highest standard,
because it affects the public in such a way.”
Yet, unlike in Australia or England, the Canadian public—and its
elected officials—have been surprisingly mute on the subject of
legal reform. MacPhail can’t help but wonder whether meek
acceptance is part of our culture. “I can recall going to a
movie once,” she says. “The lights went out, but the movie
didn’t start. Everybody just sat there.” After sitting quietly
in the dark for several minutes, waiting in vain for the movie
to begin, she says, “we finally got up and told someone.”
With so many Canadians losing faith in the justice system—or
feeling shut out of it entirely—change seems inevitable. Legal
reforms abroad were intended to empower the public, instead of
lawyers; in England and Australia, “change came for good
reasons,” Woolley says. “Those reasons exist here.”
Before widespread reform can happen in Canada, though, Paton
suggests that public confidence in our legal system might have
to hit an all-time low. “I think it will take one more scandal,”
Tags: Law, Law Society of Upper Canada, self-regulation
For the third time in 22 years, Washington state is leading
the nation in family law reform. This time, the report is called
the Residential Time Summary Report prepared by the state Office
of the Administrator for the Courts. This is a
first-in-the-nation compilation of post-divorce breakdown of
parenting time for children, mothers and fathers. The numbers
are collected case-by-case and county-by-county.
Amazingly, 46 percent of children of divorce, statewide, are
ordered to spend a minimum of 35 percent parenting time with
their biological fathers. Parenting time is broken down by large
percentages, and meaningful shared parenting starts in the range
of 30-35 percent. This is about 300 percent better results than
anyone could have expected from the time the Parenting Act was
first approved. If there ever was any doubt, Washington state is
now an official shared-parenting state for families impacted by
In 1987, Washington required divorcing parents to detail
parenting schedules in Parenting Plan documents that are filed
with the court. Over 30 states have adopted this family law
reform. Again, in 1991, Washington Department of Social and
Health Services first developed and used the Paternity Affidavit
for unwed, never-married, fathers. Staffers were pleasantly
shocked and surprised with how forthcoming fathers were to
provide financial information used to help create child-support
However, the question has always been placed — how much
post-divorce parenting time are children of divorce actually
spending with their male parents? Now we see some actual results
statewide and county-by-county.
The King County and Pierce County numbers are higher than the
statewide average at 50 percent with Snohomish close by at 49
percent. The two highest counties are Whatcom at 66 percent and
Skagit at 59 percent. Yakima County comes in the lowest at 28
The summary report and study was advocated for by fathers'
organizations and shared-parenting advocates as a way of
documenting why an official shared-parenting law is needed in
Washington. Sen. Jim Kastama introduced Senate Bill 5342
addressing this issue but it has not moved out of committee.
The 46 percent is a great number. However, there are probably
another 30 percent where the fathers and some mothers
arbitrarily are restricted to the typical every-other-weekend.
In these cases, the fathers and mothers with limited schedules
actually feel more like aunts and uncles than meaningfully
involved parents. The children are the biggest losers. The new
law is needed for these other parents to avoid decisions that
are strictly perceived winners and losers.
The report statistic that rings the loudest and truest is that
93 percent of the final decisions are by agreement of the
parents. This means that good mothers and fathers are operating
with one reality most in mind: These children had two involved
parents before separation and this should be the end result as
well. These good parents are sending society and our courthouse
officials a loud message.
Unfortunately, our elected superior-court judges, appointed
court commissioners and family law lawyers seem stuck in 1987.
This is the time before the positive and encouraging language of
the Parenting Act was approved and the Tender Years Doctrine was
Children of divorce are our most fragile social statistics: over
70 percent of high-school dropouts and pregnant teen girls come
from fatherless homes as well as the 80-85 percent of male teens
in juvenile justice centers and more than 90 percent of men in
prison, all from fatherless homes. Society has paid a huge price
to keep fathers away from their children. Now we see good dads
fighting to stay involved and our children are better off for
The time has come for children of divorce to be guaranteed
continuing parental involvement such as the children in the
above numbers coming from homes where both parents are legally
fit. It is time to stop divorcing children from one of their
parents, most often the father. We can do better.
Bill Harrington from Pierce County was a commissioner with the
US Commission on Child and Family Welfare.
MONTREAL - A Quebec man who has failed to
have his name removed from the birth certificate of a young girl
he found out was not his biological daughter wants to argue his
case before the Supreme Court of Canada.
The businessman has already struck out in Quebec Superior Court
and in the Quebec Court of Appeal.
Both courts ruled that paternity is ironclad if a man's name is
on the birth certificate, if that status is not contested within
a year of the child's birth and if other factors, including the
same family name, indicate obvious bonds between the child and
The courts ruled there is little room for interpretation, but
the man's lawyer disagreed with both rulings.
"It's not a monetary question as much as it is a question of
principle - can we impose a child on a man?" Guylaine Gauthier
said in an interview.
"The message the courts have sent is that we can falsely name
someone as the father and this goes against the judicial system
and the values upon which it is based.
"The question of good faith and bad faith is of major importance
here - and I think there's a poor application of the Civil
The man, a native of Rimouski in eastern Quebec, was involved in
a common-law relationship with a woman between 1998 and 2005 and
the girl was born in 2002.
He testified he had no reason to believe he wasn't the father,
but after the relationship ended he learned she'd kept her
infidelity from him.
"After he was separated, people came forward and told him who
the father was and that person also acknowledged that he was the
girl's father," Gauthier said.
In January 2007, a DNA test concluded with a probability of more
than 99.99 per cent that Gauthier's client was not the
Since then, he's had no contact with the young girl and the
girl's mother has cut ties with him, but the man is still
legally considered her father and could still be responsible for
her financially, Gauthier said.
A well-known Quebec family lawyer said she doesn't think the
case will even make it to Ottawa as she says the question of
filiation has been long settled.
"The theme of this is filiation has nothing to do with biology,"
said Anne-France Goldwater.
"Once a child has a birth certificate and the child has a
possession of status that matches the certificate, it's over,
you cannot contest its filiation ever again."
Goldwater said there is a short window of time to contest, but
in the majority of cases, the truth is discovered too late.
"Once his name is on the birth certificate and he has treated
the child as his own, filiation is considered irrevocably
established," she said.
The Canadian Children's Rights Council, an advocacy group
concerned with children's human rights, said statistics reveal
that about 10 per cent of Canadians don't have the name of their
biological father on their birth certificate.
President Grant Wilson said men should not have to go to court
in cases of paternal fraud to have the matter resolved.
Also, judges often rule that "because you've acted like dad long
enough, we're making you the dad but unfortunately you can't
tell people how to feel," Wilson said.
"Certainly, their relationship is going to be different."
Mandatory DNA testing during pregnancy would go a long way to
limit the damage and protect the children from future harm,
"It's extremely damaging to children when they find out the man
they thought was their father isn't their father," he said.
Goldwater said seemingly forgotten in the whole affair is the
"It's a cruelty beyond understanding to break this child's life
like that," she said.
2009-12-17 Proposed changes to family law in
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