Former Saskatoon police constable Larry Hartwig told his discipline appeal hearing Tuesday he was surprised when he discovered in May 2000 that his notebook showed he had been dispatched to a call involving Neil Stonechild the night the teen was last seen alive.
Hartwig said he was shocked because he had no memory of the call involving the teen, whose 1990 freezing death was attracting media coverage in 2000 amid allegations of police wrongdoing.
But the lawyer for the Saskatoon Police Service, Mitch Holash, said cross-examination of Hartwig Tuesday revealed discrepancies in the former constable's testimony.
Hartwig and former constable Brad Senger were fired in November after a commission of inquiry found they had Stonechild in their custody the night he was last seen alive. Commissioner Justice David Wright found that Stonechild died from cold exposure -- his body was found in the north industrial area five days after he went missing -- and that marks on his body were likely made by handcuffs.
The pair was fired for failing to disclose their contact with Stonechild. They deny they had contact with him. Both say Stonechild was gone by the time they arrived at an apartment where he had been causing a disturbance. They are appealing their dismissals, and Hartwig has said he wants his job back.
After reviewing the surprising notebook entries from the night Stonechild was last seen alive, Hartwig said Tuesday that in May 2000, he notified RCMP Insp. Ken Lyons, who had already questioned him twice, to inform Lyons the notebook contained mentions of Stonechild, Bruce Genaille and Tracey Lee Horse.
Hartwig said he told Lyons about the Horse entry because he had heard in the news that Horse was the individual who claimed to have seen Stonechild in police custody.
Newspaper articles entered as evidence at the hearings do not mention the name Tracey Lee Horse, which has since turned out to be an alias provided by Stonechild's friend, Jason Roy.
Roy, who was wanted by police, has said he gave Horse's name and birthdate to police because he knew Horse was not in trouble with the law.
Hartwig said Tuesday nobody else saw his notebook before he made photocopies for the RCMP.
He was aware the witness alleged Stonechild was in the police cruiser with two officers. Hartwig said he thought he was working alone that night and phoned other police he had previously been partnered with to see if they remembered working with him that night.
Later that day, Hartwig was interrogated as a suspect in the Stonechild death. A videotape of that interview was shown during the hearings two months ago. In the video, Hartwig expressed astonishment when told that the RCMP had evidence he had Stonechild in custody on the night in question and that he had been partnered with Senger.
There are discrepancies in Hartwig's testimony, said Holash, the police service lawyer.
"If one looks at the May 18, 2000, video, which is now becoming critical evidence, and what he said upon being first advised that he had (run a database check on) the eyewitness and another individual looking for Neil Stonechild, his reaction on that videotape, it looks planned and orchestrated, particularly when you find out some of the other information as to how he prepared for the meeting," Holash said.
"You have some internal discrepancies in the evidence he's given. That's never good when one's assessing the credibility of a witness."
Hartwig also testified that police officers discussed the Stonechild freezing death after it happened and he remembered a colleague was dismayed with the investigation findings that Stonechild was in the remote location because he had gotten lost and died while trying to turn himself in at the adult jail during a snowstorm.
Hartwig said he didn't tell the investigator, then-sergeant Keith Jarvis, that he had been dispatched to a call involving Stonechild five days before his body was found because he didn't remember the dispatch at the time.
Discipline appeal hearings for former Saskatoon police constables Bradley Senger and Larry Hartwig have been postponed until June 21 and are scheduled through June 24.
No location has been announced.
Hearings are also scheduled for June 27-30 and July 5-8.
Hartwig and Senger were dismissed from the Saskatoon Police Service in November for failing to disclose their contact with aboriginal teenager Neil Stonechild the night he was last seen alive in 1990.
A commission of inquiry found in October 2004 that the pair had Stonechild in their custody, that he died from cold exposure and that his body was found five days later in Saskatoon's north industrial area, bearing marks that were probably made by handcuffs.
Hartwig and Senger say they did not have contact with Stonechild on the night in question, Nov. 24, 1990.
The next witness scheduled to testify at the appeal hearing is photogrammetry expert Gary Roberts, who made measurements of marks on Stonechild's body using autopsy photographs. He told the commission the measurements showed handcuffs could have left the impressions on Stonechild's nose and wrist.
A forensic pathologist who examined photographs of Neil Stonechild's body said the marks on his nose and wrist were not made by handcuffs.
Dr. Emma Lew, deputy chief medical examiner at Miami Dade County, who testified as an expert witness, told the discipline appeal hearing of former constables Larry Hartwig and Brad Senger that handcuffs are too smooth to cause the "fine, linear scratches" that ran across the nose of the aboriginal teenager.
Instead, they were probably made by frozen vegetation Stonechild fell on when he collapsed, she said.
Hartwig and Senger were fired from the Saskatoon Police Service last November for failing to disclose their contact with Stonechild the night he was last seen alive in 1990. They are appealing their dismissal, saying they never had contact with Stonechild that night.
Stonechild's friend, Jason Roy, has said he was stopped and questioned by two police officers who had Stonechild in the back seat of their cruiser, handcuffed, bleeding and screaming for help.
Police computer records have shown Hartwig and Senger checked the name Roy gave them on their in-car computer around the time they were dispatched to a disturbance involving Stonechild.
A commission of inquiry, headed by Justice David Wright, found last year that the pair had Stonechild in their custody, that he died from cold exposure and that his body was found five days later, bearing marks that were probably made by handcuffs.
Wright did not accept the opinion of Lew, who also testified at the inquiry that she didn't think the scratches on Stonechild's nose or the white impressions on his wrists could have been made by handcuffs.
Hearing officer Dirk Silversides will make his own findings on Roy's and Lew's evidence.
Lew said Tuesday that for the cuffs to have broken the skin along those two lines, Stonechild would have had to have been struck so hard it probably would have broken his nose. She didn't see any sign of a broken nose.
Under cross-examination by Hugh Harradence, who represents the police service, Lew acknowledged she would have to agree with the pathologist who did an autopsy on the body. That pathologist, Dr. Graeme Dowling, said he couldn't rule out the possibility of some damage to the cartilage in Stonechild's nose.
Photographs taken at the field where Stonechild's frozen body was found give a more accurate depiction of the fine nose abrasions than the photos taken during the autopsy, by which time the body had thawed and the tissues begun to decompose and dry, Lew said.
An autopsy photograph has previously been used to demonstrate that the two abrasions appear to match the two metal strips of a pair of handcuffs.
Enhanced photographs of the white impressions on Stonechild's wrist reveal tiny marks that Lew said were caused by the fabric of a cuff being pressed against his skin as he laid face down with his arms bent and his hands under his stomach.
She pointed out that the same kinds of impressions were visible on his stomach and leg, and that those impressions would have been caused by his clothing, too.
As well, the wrist impressions were too far down the hand toward the fingers to have been made by handcuffs, which are clasped around the smaller part of the wrist, she said.
Lew added there was nothing about the body that precluded it from having worn handcuffs before death.
The hearing will resume May 25, when photogrammetry expert Gary Roberts will testify about photographic measurements he made from the Stonechild autopsy pictures.
A videotape of Const. Larry Hartwig being interrogated by RCMP in 2000 about his memory of the night Neil Stonechild was last seen alive shows he was surprised and perplexed by information indicating he and Const. Brad Senger had the aboriginal teenager in their cruiser that night.
Hartwig said in the taped interview he had no memory of contact with Stonechild that night.
The video was entered as evidence Monday at the disciplinary appeal hearing of Hartwig and Senger, who were fired in November after they were found unsuitable for police service for failing to disclose their contact with Stonechild on the night of Nov. 24, 1990.
A commission of inquiry found last fall the constables had Stonechild in custody, that he died from cold exposure and his frozen body was found five days later bearing marks that were probably made by handcuffs.
Stonechild's friend, Jason Roy, told the inquiry and the appeal hearing, that he saw Stonechild in a police cruiser, handcuffed, bleeding from the face and yelling, "They're gonna kill me."
Hartwig and Senger both deny they had Stonechild in custody that night.
In the video Hartwig was seen referring to his notebook, which had only sketchy entries related to activities around the time he and Senger were dispatched to a complaint about Stonechild causing a disturbance in a west-side apartment building.
The notebook offered little useful information except that it shows Hartwig wrote Stonechild's name, then crossed it out and wrote the name of Bruce Genaille, a man who has said he was stopped and questioned by police who asked if he was Neil Stonechild.
Genaille has said the police told him Stonechild had caused a disturbance at the nearby 7-Eleven convenience store. Police computer records show Genaille's name was searched from Hartwig and Senger's cruiser that night.
There was no one in the police car when police questioned Genaille, he has said.
RCMP investigator Ken Lyons also informed Hartwig during the interview that his car computer had been used to check the name Tracey Lee Horse, the false name Roy said he had given police when they stopped and questioned him. It was during that stop that Roy said he saw Stonechild in the police car.
During the taped interview, Hartwig originally indicated he thought he worked alone that night. He seemed relieved to hear that he had been working with somebody and expressed hope that the other officer would remember the incident or would have more complete notes.
Hartwig repeatedly said he wanted to talk with Senger as soon as possible.
Hartwig said he had never abused a prisoner and would remember if he had had a prisoner who yelled that police were going to kill him, as witness Roy has said.
The hearing also heard Monday from youth worker, Dianna Fraser, who said she knew Roy and Stonechild. Fraser said Roy told her, within a month of Stonechild's funeral, that he had seen Stonechild in the police car. Fraser said Roy felt guilty because he hadn't done anything to help his friend at the time.
The conversation happened in the community, not while Fraser was on duty, and she didn't tell anyone what Roy had said because he didn't ask for her help in dealing with it, she said.
Under cross-examination by lawyers for Hartwig and Senger, Fraser said she notified police prior to Stonechild's funeral that his death had prompted rumours in the community. She was concerned the rumours might fuel tension among factions in the community and could lead to problems at Stonechild's wake.
She hadn't yet heard Roy's allegation at that time, she said.
The hearings have been adjourned until next Monday. Hearings scheduled for the rest of this week became unnecessary after both sides agreed to enter transcripts of the evidence some witnesses gave at the inquiry instead of having them come and repeat their statements.
They include Roy's former girlfriend, Cheryl Antoine, coroner Dr. Brian Fern and two pathologists who conducted autopsies, Dr. Jack Adolph and Dr. Graeme Dowling.
Dr. Emma Lew, a Florida medical examiner will give evidence next week.
Jason Roy, who says he saw Neil Stonechild in a police car the night he was last seen alive in 1990, was accused Thursday of mockingly imitating the words he has attributed to Stonechild.
The allegation came from Aaron Fox, the lawyer for Larry Hartwig, who along with Brad Senger is appealing his dismissal from the Saskatoon Police Service for failing to disclose his contact with Stonechild that night.
"You banged on the window and said, 'They're gonna kill me,' " Fox said, while holding pages of police notes from an incident last fall.
"The incident you became so emotional about (while testifying Wednesday), you were prepared to mock and laugh about on Oct. 31, 2004," Fox said.
Roy vehemently denied the allegation.
The same police notes also show that Roy made conciliatory remarks to the officers.
Hugh Harradence, who represents the Saskatoon Police Service, read the police notes, which say that Roy tried to get officers to talk about the Stonechild inquiry.
"He said we had to get rid of the bad apples. I said we weren't even working here then. He said he felt bad for us because we were all taking the rap for it," Harradence read from the notes.
Hartwig and Senger were fired last November, in the wake of the Oct. 25 report by Justice David Wright, who headed a commission of inquiry into the 1990 freezing death of Stonechild, an aboriginal teenager, and the resulting, incomplete investigation.
Wright found constables Hartwig and Senger had custody of Stonechild, that he died from cold exposure and that his body was found five days later bearing marks that were probably made by handcuffs.
During the inquiry, Roy testified he had seen Stonechild in the back of a police car screaming, "They're gonna kill me."
Hartwig and Senger deny they had contact with Stonechild that night and are appealing their firing under provisions of the provincial Police Act.
Roy's encounter with police last fall resulted from his failure to pay a ticket for drinking a beer in the park a year earlier, he told the hearing Thursday. He had received the fine from Saskatoon police patrolling the park on bicycles during the four-day period in 2003 when he was testifying at the Stonechild inquiry, he said.
By last October, a warrant had been issued because the ticket was unpaid.
Roy said it was interesting that police knew who he was and that they knew he was at the 402 Club nightclub on Oct. 31 and were waiting for him when he came out. They had him sit in the back seat of the cruiser while they filled out a form for him to sign, and then let him go.
Roy acknowledged Thursday that his memory of details surrounding the pivotal 1990 occurrence has changed over time.
Under intense cross-examination by Fox, Roy acknowledged he has backed away from the detailed descriptions he has given about a cut on Stonechild's face and about the driver of the police car.
Roy previously said a man who stared at him on a city bus in the early years after Stonechild's death was the officer who had driven the car Stonechild was in. Years later he said he saw the same officer at a function at the While Buffalo Youth Lodge. Roy had described the man as being much taller than his own 5-foot-9 height, having a mustache and wearing thick lens glasses.
Hartwig and Senger are 5-foot-7 and 5-foot-9, and neither wears glasses, Fox observed.
Roy said he must have assumed the man on the bus was the driver of the police car because he had stared at Roy and intimidated him.
Roy insisted those things don't change the fact he saw Stonechild in the police car.
"It goes to the intimidation I've been under for the past 15 years," he said.
"I know what I saw. . . . The core issue was me seeing my friend in the back seat of that car," he said.
Hearing officer Dirk Silversides was given several documents from the Stonechild inquiry, which will become evidence he will consider along with the testimony of witnesses who come before him.
The documents include transcripts of the testimony of two memory experts, Dr. John Yuille and Dr. William Arnold, who explained how memories are formed and how they can be influenced over time by subsequent experience.