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Flotilla: The dirty sting that got Dueck promoted from Sergeant to Superintendent

(He went from youth to drugs after framing the foster and birth parents in the Scandal of the Century)

It was a dirty sting. And Dueck got convictions all round. There were, I believe, 17 people.

We commented on this operation at the time, among the Saskatchewan Drug stories. Since we were working closely with several people who had been charged in the case, we didn't comment much forther, and gained some satisfaction from having forced the Crown to put the agent/snitch on the stand and watching her disgrace herself before her parents. But that is really cold comfort, (if I may lightly use such a term in Saskatoon where the police also take people to the edge of town to freeze to death.) The truth is that potheads are the easiest targets there are. Marlon Gidluck has an excellent case to put before the Supreme Court and we would have taken it there but I was weary of court and the people who could have made it happen by lending a hand were just too busy smoking pot.

Nonetheless, we prepared an appeal which should have won. It showed errors in law, and exposed some very dirty police work. Even though it lost, I think it is worth publishing for others to see. Sometimes it takes several kicks at the can before the law is revamped and enforced by honest cops. In Saskatchewan, that could be a long time coming . . . But if you want to prepare your own appeal, here is a good model.

Meanwhile, shame on Saskatchewan Justice once again. The kids who like to smoke pot are being betrayed and made cynical by the Superintendent Duecks of this world. And they ask how come young people these days have such bad attitudes!

The Flotilla sting was publicized as involving hard drug users when in fact several were busted only for selling pot. The public, whoever that may be, continues to think the police are doing "good work" by getting scum off the streets. As more and more middle class kids are swept into these stings, many are smarting under the injustices. Dueck held a press conference to call for detox centres when Darryl Night came forward with his allegation that he was dumped at the edge of the city in sub-zero weather. He was then promoted from supervisor of the integrated drug unit (where he gained the trust of the people who run the methodone clinic) to Superintendent of the West Side. His salary is one the top dozen highest on the city payroll. While he and Chief Scott have assured the new mayor, Jim Maddin, that they are well along in their plans for a proper detox centre in Saskatoon, the most dangerous drugs flow freely on the streets. The police are allowing this to happen. The suspicion that some police are profiting from this can be allayed only with a frank and open public inquiry. Mayor Maddin has assured us there will be public input in January, 2001.

Plans for a detox centre should not be kept secret. The success of any such facility depends on support from citizens, most of whom do not want "riff raff" in their neighbourhoods. This community needs public confidence that the police are genuinely serving and protecting us and a full public discussion on the devastation which hard drug distribution has brought us. The scoop on Dueck

Marlon Gidluck

C. A. No. 7669 of A. D. 1998




May 10, 1999

A. The applicant, Marlon Gidluck, appeals his conviction on two counts of drug trafficking for the following reasons:

1. Judge Kolenik erred in accepting the testimony of the Crown witness, Shannon Gursky, as credible evidence. Ms. Gursky was a crown-sponsored drug addict who was shown to be incredible.

2. Judge Kolenik erred in allowing the audiotapes and other evidence because the sole witness to testify that this evidence has any connection to the appellant is Shannon Gursky, who the defendant showed to be incredible.

3. Judge Kolenik allowed the Crown witness to perjure herself with no consequences.

The appellant asks for the following remedy:

1. That these convictions be reversed

This short, simple appeal was met with 80 pages of Crown disclosure which referred to Charter issues which we had not even raised. We then prepared this response:

R. v. Gidluck C. A. No. 7669 of A. D. 1998 May 10, 1999

Response to Crown's Factum

The appellant received the Crown's factum at noon on Friday. He understands that it is in the nature of an expedited appeal to have last-minute submissions, and would ask the Court's indulgence to be allowed to address these matters.

1. The Charter issues to which the appellant refers are not under Secs. 8 and 11 but under Sec. 7, where the rights to a full answer and defense are protected. The appellant argues that within the trial itself, his rights were not protected, Reference to the Charter are noted to preservation appeal points, but the appellant states clearly that his defence relies mainly upon the Criminal Code itself. The appellant apologizes to the Crown and to the Court for failing to identify the appropriate section.

2. The appellant objected strenuously to the Crown's tendering of the evidence, as has already been shown. (Appellant's Factum, page 3, number 9 and throughout the trial, as outlined below).

3, Furthermore, the Court was stopped because court officers were interfering with the appellant's supporters in the gallery who were providing him with a tape player which had been held with the bailiff. ( p. 79: l. 4,) During the appellant's attempts to introduce the tape as an exhibit, the learned judge refused saying :

". . .you can't try to put into evidence the actual authenticity or contents of that tape through this witness because this witness knows nothing about it. You've tested her credibility and her ability to recognize voices on the tape as far as she can take it." (p. 81; ll. 12-18.)

The witness had clearly shown her inability to identify the appellant's voice, or indeed, her own voice. It was the appellant's intention to explain to the Court exactly what was on the tape he was playing and tender it as a defence exhibit. The appellant asserts that since the defendant had heard neither tape before, and since no experts had testified to the authenticity of the Crown's tapes, and that the only person who could testify to the identity of the voice's on the Crown's tapes was Shannon Gursky, that this would be a fair test of her expertise in identifying voices. In fact she failed the test (p. 80; ll. 7-15), and the appellant's offer to provide a voice sample was ignored outright (next line). If the Crown is presenting an inexpert witness to testify to expert matters, the Court should allow the defence to challenge such testimony and discredit her abilities.

4. Outside the courtroom, there was more interference with the appellant's witnesses, specifically police harassing them in the hall. Following the lunch break, he attempted to address these (p. 85, ll. 5-12) and the learned judge cut him off because the witness Gursky was brought in again. The appellant again tried to raise these matters (p. 86; ll. 15-19).

5. One of the defendant's witnesses, Mr. Edmund Khayfets, was on the appellant's undertaking in a no-contact clause. While the appellant was extremely careful to observe the direct and indirect meanings of this clause, he also understood that he had every right to bring this witness before the Court. Police had attempted to arrest Mr. Khayfets, just outside the courtroom, and the appellants' friends had stopped this and tried to determine whether the prosecutor had ordered his arrest so the matter could be brought to the attention of the Court. There was considerable confusion, which is only partially reflected in the transcript and the appellant was unaware of what was going on because he was behind the bar. The prosecutor brought the no-contact clause to the learned judge's attention, (p. 97, ll. 6-10) it would seem with the intention of breaching the appellant on his no-contact clause. In fact, Mr. Khayfets' testimony is the most damning of all (p. 98, ll. 14-16). The learned judge accepts this testimony, although he down-plays the hard-drug nature of it (p. 117; ll. 14-16).

6. After the appellant took the stand and flatly denied under oath having sold marijuana to Shannon Gursky, he asked for a recess to gather his thoughts. Because of the demeanour of the court officials, the police, the Crown and the Court itself, he decided not to attempt any more to raise the matters of the interference with his defense because he had no confidence that such matters would receive a fair hearing. The appellant felt at that time that if the learned judge accepted any part of Shannon Gursky's story that he was up against a deception which could not be addressed at that time.

7. It is the appellant's view that the learned judge erred because he was deceived by the crown and that his reasons for disbelieving the accused are not sufficient. The learned judge accepted the testimony of the defense witnesses impeaching her credibility but he was not prepared to take the next logical step which would have been to acquit the accused.

8. It is the appellant's further view that the learned judge was biased against the appellant and his witnesses because, as the Crown brought out, they were all charged in the Flotilla sting.

9. The appellant would further point out that it is extremely difficult to defend oneself against an outright liar. The jailhouse snitches in the cases of David Milgaard and Guy Paul Morin are the most recent examples of how treacherous outright liars can be. Shannon Gursky's testimony was not, as the honourable judge determined, partly true and partly false. This police agent presented testimony which was a lie, a whole lie and nothing but a lie. The moment that he bought into one bit of her fabrication, the learned judge had no choice but to convict the appellant. In using Justice Tallis' test for credibility, (p. 120, -121) Judge Kolenick was using good authority, but his judgment that Shannon Gursky told "the truth and nothing but the truth" in regard to the appellant's involvement . . .in respect to the matters before the Court. . ." he made an error which can be adduced from the court transcript alone: you didn't have to be there. Many lies came out of the mouth of Shannon Gursky. The appellant, on the other hand, and his witnesses did not lie nor were they shown to be lying. Rather than choosing the fourth option in Justice Tallis' test, he was obliged to choose at least the third: to reasonably doubt the testimony of an impeached witness, an addict scrambling to support her habit, not much different from a jailhouse snitch, and acquit the appellant.

Nov. 1, 2000: Brian Dueck is presently Superintendent of Saskatoon's west side and supervises the integrated drug unit.

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