Nov. 22, 2001
Regarding Superintendent Dueck and the cover-up of his wrong-doing and my intention to seek a remedy for seven years of loss of Charter Rights.
Early in 1994, I helped Richard Klassen write a letter (enclosed) outlining his concern that Kathleen Jessica Ross had been sexually assaulted during and following Dueck's investigation into the extended foster parent families he eventually charged in what has come to be known as "The Scandal of the Century".
August 27, 1994: Demonstrating peacefully on the sidewalk outside Saskatoon Court of Queen's Bench. Marie Klassen (foreground), Richard Klassen (carrying red sign) and Sheila Steele (in white) in background. Two hours later, we walked over to the Saskatoon Police station and were arrested and held. We were legally gagged for the next four years.
Later that year, in August, Mr. Klassen asked me to join him in a demonstration protesting the decision from Alberta absolving Saskatoon police of any wrongdoing in the David Milgaard case. I was an experienced activist who had attended dozens of demonstrations from handsful of people to hundreds of thousands. In every one of those instances, I knew that the police always gave demonstrators an opportunity to disband the protest before ordering arrests. Based on this knowledge of 30 years experience as an activist I agreed to go with him and to carry a placard and handouts protesting the police mishandling of his case.
We protested two days, August 26 and 27, and on the second day we were arrested and charged with criminal defamation. We were detained for a day and a half and finally released on an undertaking forbidding us to demonstrate, pass out handbills or generally bring to the public the facts of the case. One year later, the charges against me were quashed and I had my charter rights restored to me. Mr. Klassen's case took considerably longer and his Charter Rights were not restored until 1998.
In 1998, together with Mr. Klassen I launched an internet site where once again we set about to bring this case to the attention of the public. There was publicity about this from time to time, as officials from the government and SaskTel claimed once again that what we were saying was libellous. We were generally discredited in the media which was prevented from investigating the case because of a court ordered publication ban. A complaint I sent in 1995 resulted in a visit from complaints investigator Gary Treble who intimidated me and told me to back off.
In 2000, our efforts to get the case made public reached researchers at CBC's fifth estate and they did a one hour feature show, based largely on information published on the website and leads they were able to find within this material. The program won the Justicia award from the Canadian Bar Association, Canadian Justice and the Law Commission of Canada and was praised for its accuracy and educational value. It also won a Gemini for its production values.
I now have unimpeachable evidence that Brian Dueck knew that we were telling the truth at the time he arrested us.
My concern at this time is that Saskatoon Police have set the precedent of overriding my Charter Rights and in so doing have not only damaged me personally but have effectively used me to set a precedent for denying the rights of others.
I would like an explanation regarding Dueck's actions in this case and in other cases (Kim Cooper, for example) where he has broken the law and received promotion instead of censure.
The Saskatoon Police Service is trying to restore its seriously damaged credibility regarding the treatment of Natives -- and not doing a very good job, I might add -- and Saskatoon is now receiving national attention for the decline of its west side (Dueck's turf for many years). Both the Saskatoon Police and the Justice Department have gone to extraordinary lengths to cover-up its bad actions and smear those it has harmed, going right back to David Milgaard.
As a Canadian citizen who has chosen to live in Saskatoon, I am, quite frankly, afraid. My fears are based upon real experiences which have happened to me in this city.
Sheila Steele Copies to Saskatoon Police Chief and Supt. Brian Dueck
(The package was 7 pages altogether, the first two ended here and the next five were Rick's April 1994 letter. Copies were made and individually addressed to each member of council.)
I received a call from a secretary asking what I wanted done with the letter. I told her I thought the letter spoke for itself. I then received a letter stating the letter had been "received as information").