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Wilfred Hathway

In November 2008 Wilfred Hathway pleaded guilty to manslaughter. On the 28th Justice G.N. Allbright sentenced him to 11½ years with a credit of 7½ years for time served. He was released July 30 2011 with the condition that he stay away from booze and dope.

[46] For all these reasons, Mr. Hathway, I sentence you to serve a term of imprisonment of 11½ years, and I direct that you are deemed to have served 7½ years of that sentence. You are therefore sentenced to serve a further 4 years imprisonment as part of your 11½-year sentence.

I have voluntarily removed the name of the operative [Justin Harris] until the issue can be addressed in court, Tuesday morning. I arrived at this agreement during a telephone conversation with undercover RCMP legal counsel Jeffrey Hayes who will serve me with the appropriate documents to appear in provincial court Tuesday morning at the beginning of the evidence hearing for Wilf Hathway. I have changed the operative's name to Martin until this matter is resolved.--Sheila Steele

A major player in Hathway sting operation, Justin Harris, is alleged to have raped several underage prostitutes in Prince George, B.C.

Attention all media: This Crown attempt to keep from the public the true nature of RCMP activities in securing false testimony against innocent people should cause alarm.

Robert Borden

Evidence error surprises defence at preliminary hearing

Wilfred Gordon Hathway's preliminary hearing on a charge of second-degree murder hit a snag Thursday when it was discovered the Crown prosecutor had documents the defence did not, including an alleged confession.

The realization on the part of defence lawyer Robert Borden comes just as the hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence for the case to go to trial enters its final few days. A Hathway supporter says a new hearing may have to be held.

"It's a whole new case. It wouldn't be serving justice properly if Robert wasn't given the chance to read through all the new documentation before continuing (with the hearing) and making sure nothing else was changed," said Richard Klassen, who has been helping Borden research the case against Hathway.

The preliminary hearing has been happening, with a few breaks, since late July. Getting that information this late in the game "is like reading War and Peace several times and becoming familiar with it -- then someone adds a new section and it changes the story," Borden said outside of the provincial courthouse during a morning adjournment.

Wilfred Hathway, 46, insists he is innocent in the 1998 stabbing death of his former landlord, Denver Bruce Crawford, 84. Crawford operated a rooming house at 323 Ninth Street East at the time and lived on the main level. His body was found by Hathway, who called the police.

He was arrested in British Columbia last year and has been in prison for 16 months awaiting trial for a crime he insists he did not commit.

Evidence in the preliminary hearing has been banned from publication, although Hathway wanted it all open to being reported. He claims the public should understand the sloppy manner in which the police investigation against him was performed.

On Thursday, Borden learned the pages of his documents did not match those of the Crown. He also wondered about some of the testimony put forth by the lead investigator, when the statements referred to reports Borden had not seen.

When confronted about the missing documents, Crown prosecutor Brent Klause suggested the information would have been provided to Hathway's two previous lawyers (both of whom were fired by Hathway) and may have been misplaced.

It may also have been a printing error, Klause said. Copies of the police files in the case are printed off differently for the Crown and defence because the Crown's copy contains notes for the prosecution that are not meant for disclosure.

"For 16 months he's been in jail without this (information)," Klassen said from the gallery seats, referring to Hathway's right to see the disclosure.

"I'm not talking to you, Mr. Klassen," said Klause.

"I'm not talking to you either. I'm speaking to the court," said Klassen, who was once subject of a high-profile police investigation but was vindicated in 2003 after a social worker, police officer and Crown prosecutor were all found liable for malicious prosecution.

Hathway, who has been vocal throughout the preliminary hearing, did not utter a word on Thursday.

Klause promised Borden a new copy of the materials -- to "hit the print button" designated for the Crown and provide Borden an exact copy of his own documents.

Outside court, Klassen suggested Borden should bypass the preliminary hearing, which could get dragged out even longer, and go straight for indictment, so Hathway wouldn't have to wait any longer for a trial. Klassen is certain Hathway would be found innocent. A trial will also mean all the information the police want banned will be available to be reported.

Borden said he is keeping his options open. Meanwhile, the preliminary hearing is set to continue today and will resume on Wednesday.

Publication ban extended in murder case
Lawyers debate risk to undercover officers

A temporary publication ban against identifying officers involved in an undercover operation against accused murderer Wilfred Gordon Hathway was extended Tuesday, despite protests from lawyers representing the media and the accused.

No time limit was set on the ban, which was initially put in place July 26, with Tuesday's hearing set aside for arguments.

Lawyer Robert Borden

Under the section of the Criminal Code cited for the ban, publication of anything related to the police is also prohibited. That includes their method of operation, which Hathway and his lawyer, Robert Borden (right), maintain is flawed.

Reynold Robertson, who represented The StarPhoenix and the CBC, also argued that the public should know how the police go about establishing their evidence.

"The RCMP do screw up and that is why there should be public accountability," he said. "I accept that courts have said there are limits to what the press can say in certain situations but I don't see that here."

Being a police officer is inherently dangerous, but an undercover officer's risks are no different than those of a daily patrol officer, whose identities are readily known and who often testify in court, Robertson told Judge Sheila Whelan.

But Jeffrey Hayes, a lawyer with the federal Attorney General who is representing the RCMP, said publicity "creates risk" for officers.

He cited several cases in British Columbia, where bans are routinely placed on identities and everything remotely associated with possible identification. Hathway was living in B.C. when he was arrested in May 2004.

"I want to make it clear that my client wants publication of anything and everything except for the names of officers," Borden told Whelan. "He doesn't want anyone to be in imminent harm."

Hathway, 46, has been charged with first-degree murder in the 1998 stabbing death of his then-Saskatoon landlord, Denver Bruce Crawford, 84. A preliminary hearing, which is held to determine if the case should be committed to trial, is underway.

Evidence presented in a preliminary hearing is customarily banned, regardless of the RCMP application. But Hayes wants the ban to also be in place if the matter proceeds to trial in open court.

Borden told Whelan he intends to apply to have the preliminary evidence publishable, as his client wishes.

Hathway, who has been outspoken from the prisoner's box through much of his preliminary hearing, sat quiet Tuesday. His legs were secured with leg irons for the first time.

Instead, the lawyers argued with one another, particularly Robertson and Hayes. Hayes suggested officers' lives are at risk and they could be killed, if identified. That prompted Robertson to jump to his feet.

"You're making that up, for God's sake," he said loudly, then apologized to Whelan.

"There's no evidence at all that anyone has been harmed as a result of their identity being made known," Robertson said a little later, as he wrapped up his arguments.

Hayes stood to object, suggesting Robertson cross-examine an officer about it. As Robertson began to respond, Hayes ordered him to back off.

"Excuse me. When one counsel speaks, one counsel sits."

Borden pointed out his client's commendable behaviour and asked that it be noted on the record, since there has been much said about his outbursts. As Whelan agreed, Hathway broke his silence.

"It's not my intention to be good," he said. "My quest is for the truth."

Judge warns accused overoutbursts

Wilfred Hathway

CREDIT: Greg Pender, StarPhoenix
Wilfred Hathway arrives back at the provincial correctional centre Wednesday after his preliminary hearing

Except for repeatedly called the Crown prosecutor a liar at one point, accused murderer Wilfred Gordon Hathway sat composed and cross-legged as his preliminary hearing resumed Monday following a four-week break.

The 46-year-old is accused of first-degree murder in the 1998 stabbing death of his former landlord, Denver Bruce Crawford, 84. Hathway has had difficulty keeping his emotions in check during the hearing, shouting objections and getting into heated arguments with prosecutor Brent Klause.

Evidence in the preliminary hearing, held to determine if the case should go to trial, is banned from publication. The atmosphere inside the courtroom is not, however.

Hathway restrained himself for the morning and nearly all of the afternoon as his lawyer, Robert Borden, cross-examined the Saskatoon police force's lead investigator in the case.

"It's because he's a liar. He's a liar," Hathway said at one point during the cross-examination, directing the comments to Klause.

Judge Sheila Whelan called for an adjournment and when court resumed, took a few minutes to discuss her expectation of "decorum."

"Mr. Hathway, things have gone smoothly today, for the most part," she said.

"Yeah, I'm pretty proud of myself," Hathway responded.

"Well, I'm not," Whelan said, prompting Hathway to say, "I can see that."

"For every outburst from now on, I will take an adjournment -- first it will be 15 minutes, then 30 -- and I will delay this process as much as I need to," Whelan explained.

"I'm doing my best," Hathway said.

During the four days of hearing in July, Hathway had to be physically restrained at one point by a guard after Klause threatened to slap a contempt of court order on him.

The hearing will take a break today to allow Whelan to hear arguments from lawyers for the federal Justice Department and some Saskatoon media outlets. The federal government, on behalf of the RCMP, is seeking a publication ban on the identities of undercover officers involved in Hathway's investigation.

Judge intercepts notes to gallery
Hathway's correspondence forbidden at hearing

Wilfred Gordon Hathway's preliminary hearing, which was fraught with harsh words Wednesday, continued its pugnacious ways on Thursday with bickering between lawyers and a stormy exchange between the judge and a sheriff's deputy who threatened to shut down the proceedings.

"You don't shut the trial down, do you understand me?" Sheila Whelan said. "Security doesn't give the court direction. The court gives security direction."

Whelan called a 15-minute break just as the deputy began to explain his position.

"I'm not happy putting security on the spot," she said, ordering counsel and security to sort the matter out.

The confrontation resulted from a request by defence lawyer Robert Borden that Hathway be given a pencil and notepad.

But the guard beside Hathway refused to allow "any kind of stylus."

"If he was to be given any instrument, I would have to shut the trial down," the deputy said.

"I'm not allowed to have a pen in case I decide to do grievous harm to myself or others. After all, I am a murderer, you know," Hathway said sarcastically, raising his eyebrows and smiling.

Hathway, 46, is accused of the 1998 stabbing death of his former landlord, Denver Bruce Crawford, 84. Evidence in the preliminary hearing -- held to determine if the case should go to trial -- is banned from publication. But for the past two days, it was the peripheral matters that made the news.

The pen episode was preceded by an objection from Crown prosecutor Brent Klause, who was upset by "encoded" notes being passed from Hathway to supporters in the gallery. The notes were made by Hathway while he was in jail Wednesday night.

"It's in some kind of code, I don't know what it means," Klause said.

"It's none of your business," Hathway hollered.

Klause told Whelan the deputy raised concern about the notes after being asked to pass one to the gallery.

"I don't know what it means, if they're planning a prison break at 10 o'clock or need a bathroom break," said Klause.

Whelan agreed notes cannot go the public gallery, but Borden and Hathway are free to pass as many as they like, "and it doesn't matter if they are in any language of the Earth or some code. It's a private matter."

The Crown does not need to see the correspondence at all, she added, then admonished Klause for referring to a prison break.

Court was in session at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, but evidence didn't start to be given until 11 a.m. after several issues were debated. Klause wanted a supporter of Hathway's, Richard Klassen, to be banned from the proceedings. Klause also objected to Borden's request to hire Angie Geworsky, who normally works with Klassen, as an assistant. The pair research claims of miscarriages of justice.

Klassen has been helping to gather evidence in support of the defence. He has information important to the case and may be called at some point as a witness, said Klause. Whelan had made an order prohibiting any witnesses from being in the courtroom unless they are on the stand testifying.

As for Geworsky, Klause accused her of having "an axe to grind -- the same axe as Mr. Klassen."

"How is it that someone who wants to assist an accused and get the truth has an axe to grind?" Borden asked.

Whelan ruled against Klause on both matters. But the verbal jousting didn't end there.

Borden expressed "serious disclosure issues" with the Crown after learning a witness statement wasn't included in the materials entered for evidence by the prosecution.

Also, the defence has repeatedly said Hathway has languished in prison since his arrest in May 2004. A preliminary hearing was first set for Oct. 12, 2004, but Hathway fired his lawyer on the eve of it. He fired his second lawyer in March 2004.

Had the proceedings started when first planned, "they could have been over and done with by June," Klause said.

Due to a lack of available courtrooms, the preliminary hearing was adjourned to Aug. 22. Before court let out, Whelan asked the lawyers to "resolve as much as possible and make this somewhat more low key when we resume. We've had a lot of issues you wouldn't normally anticipate."

Accused spars with prosecutor
Preliminary hearing filled with emotional outbursts

Emotional outbursts and threats of contempt set the tone as a tension-filled preliminary hearing began Wednesday for a Saskatoon man facing a first-degree murder charge.

Wilfred Gordon Hathway, 46, is accused of the 1998 stabbing death of his former landlord, Denver Bruce Crawford, 84. Evidence in the preliminary hearing -- held to determine if the Crown has a strong enough case to go to trial -- is banned from publication.

But it was the atmosphere inside the provincial courtroom that took centre stage.

Hathway and Crown prosecutor Brent Klause got into a heated argument at one point, which forced Judge Sheila Whelan to call a temporary adjournment for everyone to cool down. It happened as Klause set out his case with the help of an investigating officer. Hathway took exception to something the officer said and consulted with his lawyer, Robert Borden.

As they spoke, Klause snapped at Hathway, "Did you just call me a f-- prick?"

"I was speaking to my lawyer, sir," Hathway said, rising.

"You just called me a f-- prick. I could read your lips," Klause said.

"What is this, Sue Thomas?" Hathway fired back, referring to the TV series about a deaf, lip-reading federal agent, Sue Thomas F.B. Eye. "I was talking to my lawyer."

"So you called your lawyer a f-- prick?" Klause said. "Do you want to be charged with contempt of court?"

"By you?" Hathway said, gesturing at Klause and being restrained by a sheriff's deputy.

As Klause walked past Hathway's chuckling supporters in the front row of the gallery, he told them, "This is not a game." Hathway had been warned about his outbursts by Whelan several times.

"Everyone's here because of me and I can't say a damn thing. Nothing," Hathway grumbled to sheriff's deputies during the break.

When she returned, Whelan scolded Klause for his language. Hathway and Borden have a right to speak confidentially "and we have to respect that," she said, noting she didn't hear the alleged insult.

"I just want it on the record, your honour, that he looked directly at me and mouthed those words. That was my impression; I didn't make it up," Klause said.

"I'm not trying to reprimand anyone. I just want decorum," Whelan said.

As the hearing continued, Hathway took exception once again, challenging the witness.

"Is that what it says (in the transcripts) or is that your opinion, sir?"

Borden told his client the matter would be raised in time but Hathway wanted it clarified immediately. Whelan explained how the judicial process works but Hathway interrupted.

"If the process worked, I wouldn't be sitting here for 15 months, ma'am," he said.

He was arrested in May 2004. There was not enough evidence to hold him after the initial investigation into the death. Borden has demanded to know what suddenly led to the current charge.

Borden was also outraged to learn the Crown had materials it hadn't provided him. He had copies but wanted the original items.

"That's not full disclosure," he said.

"Cough 'em up Klause. Cough 'em up," Hathway shouted in support.

"Talk to your counsel, Mr. Hathway. Spare me the effort," Klause retorted.

The preliminary hearing is set for three days. Borden plans to cross-examine the officer today and Friday. If necessary, the hearing will continue in late August, said Borden.

Man accused of murder fights publication ban

It's a legal rarity - a Saskatoon man accused of murdering his landlord wants the evidence against him made public before his case goes to trial.

The preliminary hearing for Wilfred Gordon Hathway, accused of killing Denver Bruce Crawford in 1998, is being held in Saskatoon provincial court Wednesday.

Normally, there's a ban on publication of evidence at preliminary hearings, which are held to determine if the Crown's case is strong enough to take to trial.

However, Hathway wants the media to have the unfettered right to report the evidence. He asked the judge not to impose the ban.

The Crown, meanwhile, did ask for the ban and it was granted.

Crown prosecutor Brent Klause said it's to protect Hathway's right to a fair trial.

Hathway's lawyer Robert Borden told reporters Hathway wants to bring police investigative techniques under scrutiny.

He said sometimes police use deception, manipulation and coercion to extract confessions and some of those confessions turn out to be false.

The judge in the case said she imposed the ban to err on the side of caution.

Accused wants reported evidence
Publication ban imposed on details, officers' identities


Click image to see larger

A Saskatoon man facing a first-degree murder charge tried in vain Tuesday to oppose a publication ban on evidence in his upcoming preliminary hearing, going so far as to shout objections from the prisoner's box.

Wilfred Gordon Hathway, 46, insists he is innocent in the 1998 stabbing death of his former landlord, Denver Bruce Crawford, 84. Hathway wants all evidence to be widely reported because he feels the case against him is weak and the public will learn how unconscionably the police acted, says his lawyer Robert Borden.

"The public has a right to know these things. It has a right to know the nature of these (police procedures)," he said.

The ban, requested by Crown prosecutor Brent Klause, was granted by provincial court Judge Sheila Whelan. Klause argued the ban was in Hathway's best interests.

He might later feel his case was prejudiced by certain information being released.

"(The ban) is designed to protect the rights of the accused, whether he likes it or not," said Klause.

"That's absolutely ludicrous," Hathway shouted, then asked Whelan if he could address the court.

She advised him to speak to Borden. He did, but two more outbursts prompted Whelan to lose patience.

"Would you listen to me? My personal preference is that you speak to your counsel," she said.

Whelan also ordered Hathway to lower his voice as he spoke in a loud volume to Borden.

"He simply wants the information published," Borden told Whelan. "The more information that gets out, the better. There's a lot of reasons for that and I'm sure that will come out to you during cross-examination."

Whelan agreed with Klause that Hathway has no way to predict whether something might come out that would make him feel his rights had been jeopardized.

"If I'm going to err, I'm going to err on that side," she said, adding she has never before encountered a situation such as this -- where the accused is opposing the publication ban.

Normally, it is the defence lawyer making the request.

Whelan also granted an interim ban on identifying the investigating officers. That request was made by Jeffrey Hayes, a lawyer representing the investigating police service, which arrested Hathway in another province in May 2004.

Hayes' application comes under a relatively new section of the Criminal Code. It was added following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States. The purpose is to protect witnesses and justice system personnel from identification in sensitive operations.

Whelan granted a temporary ban until Aug. 23, when arguments can be made on the rationale of that second ban.

"The right to report will be decided at that time by the judge hearing the application," said Borden. "The media people will have the right to have their own representatives there to make arguments as to what may or may not be reported on."

In the meantime, Hathway's preliminary hearing -- to determine if there is enough evidence to proceed to a full trial -- will begin this morning. It was scheduled to start Tuesday but was sidetracked by the lengthy discussions about the bans.

"I regret the time that has been taken by what I thought was a relatively harmless application," Hayes told Whelan.

Speaking to media outside the courthouse, Borden was perturbed by the bans.

"There seems to be an order here, there and everywhere prohibiting the media and prohibiting the accused and others from disseminating any information. I can't tell you very much, other than what you've read in the newspaper (Tuesday) morning," he said.

The StarPhoenix published a story about Hathway and his arrest in May 2004 prior to the ban being granted.

"This is a situation where we have to be tightlipped about everything," Borden added. "We live in a democratic society, a constitutional society, and we like to see information disseminated as much as possible so that people can talk about the case, witnesses can come forth and we can all get a better understanding in the sense of what's right and just.

"We just cannot have secrecy. We cannot have a situation where we're afraid to talk to each other about cases. My God, didn't that happen in the Klassen-Kvello case? Didn't it happen in the Martensville case? Didn't it happen in Milgaard?" Borden added. "This has got to stop and I hope it stops with this case, because it certainly didn't stop with those others."

In late 2003, a social worker, police officer and Crown prosecutor were all found liable in Saskatoon for the malicious prosecution of 12 members of the Klassen and Kvello families. One of the vindicated, Richard Klassen, is attending court to support Hathway.

"If the police had evidence against my client in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, or 2002, why didn't they charge him then?" said Borden. "What was it that happened in 2003 and 2004 that led to these charges?"

Publication ban sought in murder case
Justice wants identities of officers kept secret

A lawyer for the federal Justice Department appears today before a provincial court judge in Saskatoon, seeking a publication ban on the identities of RCMP undercover officers involved in a 1998 murder case.

The matter emerged after an Internet website published the name and video image of one officer who was part of a sting operation on Wilfred Gordon Hathway, the prime suspect in the murder of Denver Bruce Crawford, 84.

The proposed ban applies to all media outlets, including those on the Internet.

Hathway, 46, was arrested by Kamloops RCMP in early May 2004 on a Canada-wide warrant for first-degree murder. He was living in Crawford's Saskatoon rooming house when the man was stabbed to death in May 1998.

Hathway reported finding Crawford's body and became a suspect during the initial investigation. Only last year did police determine there was enough evidence to proceed with charges.

Website operator Sheila Steele said she posted one RCMP officer's identity because she believes Hathway was "the victim of an unethical sting." Her Saskatoon-based website monitors perceived miscarriages of justice around the world.

There is strong evidence Hathway is innocent, insisted Steele, who became involved "in a very roundabout way." A friend of Hathway's in Kamloops e-mailed Steele. It wasn't until September that Steele and Hathway began communicating directly. She took photographs of the undercover officer from a videotape made during the sting. It allegedly shows Hathway confessing to the killing.

RCMP claim Hathway confessed several times but the recording equipment malfunctioned, Steele said.

"The one they finally extract from him is full of false details which do not in any way correspond to the details of the initial investigation," she said.

Hathway has been in the Saskatoon Correctional Centre since his arrest more than a year ago. His preliminary hearing will begin today, after the publication ban hearing.

Steele has removed the officer's video image and changed his name in the website posting until the issue is addressed in court.

The biggest injustice is how Hathway was trapped by RCMP during the sting, said Steele.

"There is a lot to indicate these (police) operatives are getting pretty reckless and have to be stopped," she said. "But I think, ultimately, it's in the public interest to know how these things go because the cops broke so many laws themselves. I think the public interest trumps the undercover (officer's) right to privacy.

"But if there's a chance this has put (the officer) at any kind of risk, I don't want to be involved. Frankly I don't think it is, so let's have it out in court."

"I'm having a hard time understanding (the website's) motive," Cpl. Tom Seaman, of the RCMP strategic communications division in British Columbia.

"We don't do this to just everybody. This is a technique used to catch dangerous, serious offenders. And we have to protect the identification of the undercover police officers because this is a very dangerous, dangerous job."

Hathway's Saskatoon lawyer, Robert Borden, claims his client was coerced into illegal activities by the undercover officers and his participation was used against him to pry out a confession.

"When you don't have any evidence against somebody what do you do? You try to extort a confession, force a confession, use coercion and threats. I'm not sure that's what we should do in a democratic society," said Borden, who will challenge the publication ban at today's hearing.

"We do not want the media prohibited from reporting on the proceedings. The way it is worded, it even prohibits defence counsel from speaking about it if something 'tends' to reveal the identities. Lots of things will 'tend' to do that. I won't give his name or a physical description but I intend to talk as much as possible about this."

Steele said Hathway was an alcoholic in 1998 when he stumbled into the rooming house and found Crawford's body. After the initial investigation revealed little evidence to charge him, Hathway moved to Kamloops and became a student at Kamloops College.

He was close to receiving a degree, had married and was a new father. He was working as a janitor, living on a limited budget and caring for his family, according to Steele.

One day a female undercover officer knocked at his door, alleging she had car trouble and needed help. Hathway was introduced to her "boyfriend," another undercover agent posing as a criminal with connections to a big-time crime boss. Using a profile the RCMP had of Hathway, they tempted him with promises of money and took him to bars, plying him with liquor.

"The only way they could get to this guy was to play on his vices. That's what I find really egregious," said Steele. "Once Wilf was off the wagon, he was off (and) he was gradually sucked into activities he was aware were criminal."

Hathway was asked to go across the U.S. border to retrieve a shipment of M-16 weapons but refused, so the officers had to do it themselves to maintain their facade.