As I understand the circumstances, you and other members of your family were charged in relation to the alleged sexual abuse of foster children in the care of your brother and sister-in-law. A preliminary inquiry was held before an experienced Provincial Court Judge. The evidence presented at this inquiry was strong enough to obtain a committal for trial. As you will be aware, the evidence upon which the committal for trial was based was provided by the children involved.
I understand that following the preliminary inquiry, psychiatrists, therapists, councilors and the new foster parents of the children involved advised the crown that the ability of these children to testify had greatly deteriorated because of the trauma they had under gone during the preliminary inquiries and during the trial of the natural parents. The experts who were familiar with the children recommended that they not be subjected to any further traumatization through their involvement in more court proceedings.
Well, in 1999 the three Ross children came forward and not only recanted their testimony but provided us with information that their videotaped testimony had been taken under irregular -- quite possibly illegal -- circumstances and that they had not ever been consulted regarding their willingness to carry on with the trial. It was not subjugation of children to trauma that the experts were concerned about: it was the inability of the authorities to keep their lying stories straight. The children had already gone through a trial which saw their birth parents and their mother's boy friend convicted. Those convictions were overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada June 20, 1996. Kathy, Michelle and Michael experienced far more trauma through the realization that as children they unwittingly sent their parents to jail than they suffered during the dourt processes: they enjoyed all the attention at the time. (Helen Ross spent 60 days in the "hole" at Pine Grove because her lawyer forgot to get her released.)
The same discredited videotaped evidence from the children which was used against Ross, Ross and White was to be used in the trial of the Klassens/Kvellos. When that Supreme Court decision came down that Ross, Ross and White were innocent, there should have been no doubt in anybody's mind that the Klassen/Kvellos had been wrongfully indicted. The Justice Department should have publicly apologized to them immediately.
But no. There was "a case before the courts." That case, the $10 Million lawsuit should have been immediately settled. It was not up to the plaintiffs to go hat in hand asking for an apology. It was up to the Justice department and public prosecutions to rectify its mistake. Instead it has allowed the slander to continue that the Klassens and Kvellos are possibly sex offenders who were let go because of circumstances beyond the Crown's control.
And this lawsuit has dragged on for another seven years. Chris Axworthy, the Justice minister who succeeded Mitchell instructed his lawyers to continue defending against the claim.
Now Eric Cline is doing the same thing.
Except that what Eric Cline is doing is even worse.
Angela Geworsky has been working with Richard Klassen for the last three years, as have I, to get this lawsuit to trial. On the website, through the media and on the street, Klassen did everything possible to get the story of misconduct which resulted in the lawsuit back before the public eye. The website was effective in getting the attention of The Fifth Estate whose brave journalists, Linden MacIntyre, Harvey Cashore and Howard Goldenthal broadcast the story in the face of threats from the Saskatchewan Attorney General. They received the top journalistic prizes [Justicia] Canada has to offer for their efforts. They ran two follow-ups and they continue to follow this story. Between the first airing and the first follow-up, City lawyer Barry Rossmann and Province lawyer Don McKillop moved to have Klassen struck from the lawsuit claiming publication of material on the Internet had violated the rules of court. They lost.
The effectiveness of the Internet became clear when government lawyer Don McKillop and Superintendent Brian Dueck's lawyer David Gerrand applied a second time, in January 2002, to have Klassen struck from the lawsuit because of his association with this website. I took full editorial control of the website to prevent any further attacks from that quarter. Angela Geworsky continued to work with Richard Klassen as his executive assistant to get the lawsuit ready for trial. In March, they set up an office downtown to work on the lawsuit and other cases. Having been fired by his lawyer, Ed Holgate, Klassen could finally make some progress.
Exactly one year ago, the government and police defendants performed a sting on inJusticebusters' downtown office where they engaged a PI to try to trick Klassen into breaking the rules of court by disclosing inside information about the lawsuit. With examinations for discovery scheduled to begin in a couple weeks, they brought him into court and presented testimony from the PI and a spliced videotape. It was a last-ditch effort by scoundrels and the judge was not buying it. The lawsuit remained intact and has remained so to this day. September 8 it will go to trial.
Eric Cline has said that it will go to trial. He has told Angela Geworsky it will go to trial. Although it is presumably in the pretrial settlement stage, the Justice Minister has now stated there will be no pretrial settlement.
The patronizing -- and somewhat threatening -- tone of this letter to Geworsky exemplifies everything we have been screaming about regarding the methods of the Saskatchewan Justice department. Cline tells Geworsky she is free to campaign . . ."so long as in the process of doing so, you do not breach any laws. . . ."
The law he no doubt refers to here is practicing law without a licence. That is one which has been hanging over all our heads ever since we decided to tackle the justice system. On this website I have many times expressed my contempt for lawyers who are licenced to practice in Saskatchewan. With rare exceptions, I observed that the licence is used to bully, extort and lie. In 1994, at the hearing to extend the time period to present fresh evidence on behalf of Peter Klassen, Jay Watson, the lawyer who brokered the "deal" stated that it was perfectly ethical to plead a client guilty when you have knowledge of his innocence! And Judge Gerwing, who had flown in from Regina to hear the case, nodded and winked and accepted that as gospel.
Cline also suggests Geworsky may be privy to information about the lawsuit. That would not be breaking the law but it might get Klassen out of the lawsuit! That is the threat. As an executive assistant, confidential secretary, or whatever you want to call it, Geworsky has acted as a professional. There is not a lawyer alive who has ever managed a case of the magnitude of QB271 1994 without the help of others in the office.
Klassen has not disclosed to me anything which would violate the rules of court but I know for a fact that Cline is lying when he states that his office has " . . . worked diligently to try to find a reasonable resolution to this dispute without the need for a trial. . . ." I do know that Klassen carried into the first pretrial conference a huge boxer of material while the lawyers from the other side presented only slim briefs, almost thongs.
The only thing the Justice Department has done regarding this trial is to diligently, and, I might add viciously and maliciously attempt to get Klassen struck from the claim.
When the Opposition questioned Cline on May 21, he had this to say:
Well, Mr. Speaker, if the member doesn't know this, the member should know that there have been people all over the United States found to be wrongly on death row because of mistakes in justice systems. There have been mistakes in justice systems throughout this country and throughout the world, and we should do everything we can to make sure those mistakes don't occur.
But I do want to say, Mr. Speaker, that the police and the prosecutors in this province, I'm told, review more than 84,000 charges each year; they deal with nearly 18,000 prosecutions. And what we have, Mr. Speaker, are over the past 10 years, 5 cases giving rise to 12 lawsuits. That's regrettable, Mr. Speaker, but is it a justice system out of control, as described by the member opposite or different than other justice systems?
The answer to that is absolutely, no, Mr. Speaker. We have a very good justice system in Canada, in Saskatchewan, staffed by competent police, competent prosecutors, and I'm sure that they don't need the assistance of members opposite who jump to all kinds of conclusions, Mr. Speaker.
A few days later, when questioned by CTV's Robert James regarding the slowness of settlement of the other Martensville claims (a year has passed since his predecessor, Chris Axworthy said such settlements would come soon), Cline said the plaintiffs' lawyers had showed a "lack of determination."
We have seen in court over the last decade how lawyers will use one set of facts, or elicit onversion of testimony in one trial and different sets and versions in others. Brian Dueck, as a witness, gave different testimony at the Ross Ross and white trials, the Klassen/Kvello preliminary hearing and at the defamatory libel charges against Richard Klassen and me. An ordinary person sees this to be dishonest and it is dishonest. Lawyers consider this to be acceptable practice. Lawyers employed by the government are particularly talented in this realm. The ordinary person's response that such practice is dishonest is the right response. It is dishonest and it should not be acceptable.
Behavior which the Saskatchewan Law Society accepts is not necessarily acceptable in the world of non-lawyers where people expect the truth from one another. Cline may well find that the courts, which he continues to hide behind, are no longer the territory of lawyers-only. Uneducated ex-con Richard Klassen is staking his claim on behalf of the rest of us. Perhaps the strongest advantage Klassen has is that he has not been contaminated by law school.
In the same issue of Hansard, Cline says : Mr. Speaker, if it is in fact the case that individuals have been subjected to false allegations of abuse, the member knows that those allegations did not originate with the government; they originated with other citizens. The fact of the matter is when that happens, the police, the prosecutors, are expected by society to respond in some way to those allegations. I am not saying that anyone is guilty of anything. I'm not saying these plaintiffs are guilty of anything; I'm not saying the police necessarily are guilty of wrongdoing, or the prosecutors. That, Mr. Speaker, is a matter of dispute between the parties. The courts are set up to determine that. The plaintiffs will have their day in court.
Justice Minister Attorney General Cline knows that the Klassen/Kvello case originated with a cop and prosecutors who overrode their own common sense to accept his fantasy investigation -- including the allegations that the Rosses, Klassens and Kvelloes were part of an intergenerational Satanic cult. If he is suggesting that the Ross children were the citizens who made the complaints he must surely know that they were wards of the government who had severe problems and not ordinary citizens.
At the beginning of his response to the Opposition's questions, Cline had noted, "...We have over the past 10 years, five cases that have given rise to 12 lawsuits..." to argue that the Justice Department had a good track record. Perhaps Mr. Cline could enlighten us as to how many cases of malicious prosecution are before the courts in other provinces. Dix was disposed of in favour of the plaintiff in Alberta; Sophonow was settled in Manitoba after an inquiry clearly showed malice by the Crown.
If indeed the number of claims against the Saskatchewan government is so small, the Minister should get familiar with them. It is his office which is under attack and his prosecutors he is defending in the legislature. He should get those files and review the material himself. By himself. Perhaps during a week-end at the lake. Even if he feels it is improper to intervene, he should at least prepare himself for the public embarrassment he is going to face September 8 when the trial starts.
And while he is reading the files and viewing the tapes, he could consider how it would feel, every day for 13 years when going into any public place -- a coffee shop, the grocery store, a movie -- to have people point and whisper about him that he committed unspeakable acts upon children and the only reason he was free to walk the streets was because the children he had molested were too traumatized to testify in court? Or, he could consider the position of Peter Klassen who actually went to prison for four years because prosecutors and defence lawyers caught him in a squeeze.
Mr. Cline is right when he observes that we do not execute people in Saskatchewan. We don't lynch people, either. But we do brand people with labels which make it unsafe for them to carry on their lives. Shame, not pride is the coat every Saskatchewan Justice Minister must wear until these wrongs have been set right.
-- Sheila Steele, June 11, 2003
May 30, 2003
Ms. Angela Geworsky
P.O. Box 1627
OUTLOOK SK S0L 2N0
Dear Ms. Geworsky:
I am writing in reply to your letter dated May 5, 2003.
My officials advise me that you have, for some time now, been working to assist Richard Klassen in the bringing of the lawsuit that your letter mentions. That of course is your right and I mention it only to say that from that I assume that you will have a great deal of knowledge about the facts that underlie the lawsuit, and the process that the lawsuit has gone through to date. Therefore, I do not intend in this letter to seek to lay out any of those facts to you.
Likewise it is clearly your right to participate in the sorts of campaigns that your letter speaks of so long as in the process of doing so, you do not breach any laws. I will, therefore, not make any attempt to try to dissuade you from standing up for your beliefs, even where we may disagree.
The lawsuit about which you write has in fact taken quite some time to resolve and clearly the opposing litigants have been able to agree upon a resolution. As a result, and as your letter observes, it is scheduled for a trial in September 2003.
It is always unfortunate if people cannot work out solutions to their disputes between themselves, but one of the reasons we have courts in our society is to deal with those situations when they arise. For the Government Defendants, I can assure you that we have worked diligently to try to find a reasonable resolution to this dispute without the need for a trial but that we now consider that to be unlikely. While you may know much about what has passed between the parties regarding such solution possibilities, the confidentiality requirements of the process prevent me from speaking of them specifically with you.
Thus, it seems unlikely that it can be settled by agreement and likely that we will all need to await the decision of a judge following a trial of the issues. Having satisfied myself that the Government Defendants have taken all reasonable steps available to them to avoid a trial, I must contend to let the trial process run it's course.
Eric Cline, Q.C.
Minister of Justice
And Attorney General
Honourable Eric Cline, Q.C.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General
Room 355, Legislative Building
CANADA S4S 0B3
Telephone: (306) 787-8824
Fax: (306) 787-1232
We will be alternating our inJusticebusting campaign between Saskatoon and Regina throughout the summer. We have permits to camp at the legislature again June 10-13. We will also be picketing the legislature from June 16-20 during the week the Royal visit is in Regina. We are negotiating permits for Saskatoon and trying to arrange meetings with Mayor Jim Maddin and Chief Russell Sabo. Saskatoon has yet to apologize to David Milgaard and by failing to do so they have allowed his reputation to continue to be defamed. They have failed to fire Brian Dueck. They also failed to handle the attempted murder of Darrell Night by two members of their force with any grace. Did they forget that Darrell Night is a member of the community? The same community where they built a new station and then failed to staff it during the hours when it could be useful. (Only public pressure forced them to expand their hours.) I took the time to write a lengthy letter to the mayor, the police commission and City Councillers, photocopying one for each of them in November, 2001. I received a perfunctory acknowledgement and the issues I raised were not addressed.
StarPhoenix editorial: Privilege ruling blow to justice | Dueck succeeded in pressing his bad faith block to exculpatory evidence | Holgate's motions on Feb. 19 | The $10M+ Lawsuit | Klassens await day in court | Background to the case | Saskatchewan Court of Appeals role in covering malice | StarPhoenix report from July, 1991
A date has been set for the first Canadian $10M lawsuit to proceed after years of dirty tricks by the government and the Saskatoon Police Service and despite savage attacks on this website. Two of the original plaintiffs have died since the suit was launched.