Since 1998 we have intermittently reported Gillian Guess's story. The reporting has been intermittent because we have been struggling with technical and legal difficulties ourselves, not to mention harassment from Saskatoon police. We finally got a new computer in March, 2001 and then it was stolen in July. We lost a lot of files including those on Shannon Murrin and Howard Gowan whose pages we were in the process of creating.
It is with some fondness we remember our first communication with Gillian Guess who asked it we had a branch in Vancouver. We assured her we barely had a branch in Saskatoon much as we would like to. Need injusticebusters in Vancouver? You're it, we told her.
And it she is. She has been helpful with the efforts to get justice for Shannon Murrin and we're sure she is up to all kinds of interesting things.
From being picked randomly for jury duty to solid injusticebuster -- that has been the evolution of Gillian Guess. That the media has seemed to be interested only in her sex life is a shame. There is a whole lot more to Gillian Guess.
Harvard Law students were assigned the Gillian Guess case to explore. The site is thorough and accurate, as we might expect from one of the most prestigious law schools in the world. With the kind of arrogance we have grown to expect from Canadian prosecutors, Joseph C. Bellows, Q.C. Crown Counsel, Criminal Appeals and Special Prosecutions wrote this letter which claims to present true facts but is only the prosecutorial side in upcoming litigation.
VANCOUVER - Sporting a new shocking blond hairstyle and a figure trimmed by stress, not a diet, Gillian Guess yesterday threw the British Columbia judicial system into a spin -- again.
Last year she successfully fought off attempts by the Crown to call her to testify at an evidence hearing into her relationship with Peter Gill, an accused murderer who was acquitted by the jury of which she was a member.
But standing outside the Supreme Court of British Columbia yesterday, she casually mentioned that she's decided to testify after all.
"I want to see the truth come out," Ms. Guess said of her dramatic about-face.
She said she looks forward to testifying about how her relationship with Mr. Gill began.
In the new evidence hearing, which began yesterday, the Crown will attempt to show that Ms. Guess began her affair with Mr. Gill early in the trial, thereby tainting his acquittal. That could mean Mr. Gill and his two co-accused, Michael Budai and Ho Sik "Phil" Kim, will face a new trial for the 1994 killing of Ron and Jim Dosanjh.
Ms. Guess, who could not be compelled to testify because she was a juror, said last year that her life would be in danger if she gave evidence that led to a retrial.
But she said yesterday that what concerns her now is "getting the whole truth out."
Ms. Guess is also facing contempt charges for speaking about evidence given in a closed court and is appealing her conviction for obstruction of justice, related to her affair with Mr. Gill.
She was in court yesterday for the start of her appeal, which was delayed because she has not yet been able to find a lawyer. "I want it over. It's dementing. I want some sort of normal life back," said Ms. Guess.
She lost an appeal for a new trial
She lost her appeal for the sentence
"Leave to appeal is granted and the appeal is dismissed"
Her life has not been normal since 1995, when she began her affair with Mr. Gill -- an affair that became the focus of an intense police investigation. Among other things, police bugged her bedroom, compiling hundreds of hours of audio tapes.
Yesterday, Ms. Guess offered the information that she has not had sex since. "The Peter Gill thing shocked me into celibacy," she said. "Once your bedroom's been bugged, that's enough for life."
She also said that she lost weight from worrying. "I've been very stressed."
During opening remarks in the new evidence hearing, Mark Andrews, the Crown counsel, told court he would show that Ms. Guess and Mr. Gill began their affair during the trial and continued it until after the verdict.
He said Ms. Guess will not have to testify about what happened in the jury room. Instead the Crown will focus on the love affair and the effect of that relationship on the acquittal.
Mr. Andrews said Mr. Gill was telephoning her during the trial and there will be evidence about the eye contact she had with him in the courtroom, while he was sitting in the prisoner's dock.
Evidence is also expected about their meetings during the trial, in a terraced garden near the court.
Mr. Andrews said the Crown will show that, "Ms. Guess was having a relationship with Mr. Gill during the trial ... [and] the verdict should be set aside and a new trial ordered."
The Lawyers (this includes judges, prosecutors, and various defence attorneys Gillian Guess has engaged to defend her) have tied themselves in knots in their attempts to blame her for their own mistakes. See article from National Post. | Toronto Sun's piece on Gillian Guess
Our research tells us the following:
This shows the lengths to which lawyers will go to protect themselves from appearing stupid. Like children caught in lies and deception, it doesn't work.
After discovering a nasty little site called "Gillian Guess - 18 months of the same outfit? The Gillian Guess is guilty website" I sent it over to Gillian to find out if she was aware of it. She is, of course, very busy preparing for her trial June 17. She did send this material which documents her continuing problems with Legal Aid
The following letter I sent to Legal Services, Court of Appeal and Attorney General Dosanjh - within days I received a fax threatening to dismiss my appeal. I immediately phoned, Cecelia Low who was extremely rude wouldn't explain a thing. I asked her if Chief Justice knew about this and she ASSURED me that he did. I said how can you threaten to dismiss my appeal when I haven't even been given the transcripts? She sneered in delight and the call was over.
Sent: Saturday, June 05, 1999 1:14 AM To: 'Rod Holloway' Subject: Guess Appeal
June 4, 1999
Legal Services Society Attn: Mr. Rod Holloway
Dear Mr. Holloway;
Further to your letter of May 20, 1999, and June 1, 1999, I write to comment on your rather curious letter.
Firstly, I am not quite sure what you are asking.... Are you suggesting that I agree to allow the Legal Services of British Columbia to appoint a lawyer that I have not selected? I know that this method is practiced in the United States but I was unaware that it was practiced here.
The conflict of interest issues in my case are paramount. You might recall that I was convicted and incarcerated for "being in a "potential" for conflict of interest". Now, it appears in documentation, which I unfortunately read and innocuously publicized, that the person who governs all of the legal services, societies, etc, (namely Ujjal Dosanjh) was of interest to the RCMP during my investigation. The investigation apparently resulted after several intercepted calls between his office and Paul Gill, the brother of Peter Gill and a named target in the Guess investigation. Other, than a very strong friendship between the two, I have not been informed as to the "fruits" of the investigation.
However, Peter Ritchie, Marilyn Sandford, and John Green have all independently disclosed to me that the information which I have not seen is highly relevant to my case, and furthermore could have resulted in a different verdict.
The conflict of interest, never mind the potential, is obvious - whoever agrees or is appointed to represent me is linked to Attorney General Dosanjh. It might not be today - but at some point in any B.C. lawyer's career, issues involving a seat on the bench or a Q.C. etc, are going to be at stake.
The appearance of justice is also a valid issue.
But let's take a step back..... Several months ago Chief Justice Alan McEachern was apprised of this situation and his solution was to assemble a panel to hear the contents of the "secret courts" or "star chamber" proceedings (if you will) and they would determine the relevance if any to my case. His order was that when the transcripts of the same were ready a panel would be assembled.
If I am incorrect on this point please advise.
It is my understanding that those transcripts are in fact ready. I await information as to a scheduled hearing about the same.
Mr. Holloway, I am sure you can understand that my faith in the British Columbia justice system has sadly spiraled and soared downwards, and my believe system has been violently shaken. I can no longer expect any lawyer in British Columbia to put his career aspirations aside to defend me. Having said that, I respect and admire the majority of the legal profession in the city but could never be sure of the potential for conflict of interest. It feels frightening to be in such a vulnerable situation and I wish that things were different, but they're not.
It is with great regret that I inform you that at this point I feel I have no other alternative but to represent myself until the conflict of interest issues, and the "secret court" issues are resolved. It is highly probable that this was the reason why my last lawyer, Larry Myers, suddenly dropped the case. It is understandably daunting for any lawyer to have to fight these particular issues, and the secrecy of the situation leads to individuals taking on the case without knowing the ramifications of the secrets. Moreover, it clearly violates their oath. At one point the law society informed Marilyn Sandford that they would intervene on this issue in defense of the lawyers but to date I seem to be fighting this on my own.
I do not pretend to have the skills or the knowledge of the reputable Vancouver lawyers, but I do have the truth on my side and I guess I alone will fight for it. If I am returned to prison for "potential of conflict of interest" then I know it will be wrong and I will not stop fighting.
When I attend court on June 17th, 1999 to have my contempt of court hearing adjourned until after resolution of the above, I will apply for indigenous status as I am financially devastated because of this nightmare. My children and I are anxious for the day when the persecution ends and we can live our lives like normal people.
Believing in truth and justice, I remain,
Gillian Guess 135-1300 Parkgate Ave., North Vancouver, B.C. V7H 2Y2
JUN. 10 1999 VANCOUVER LAW COURTS NO.085 THE LAW COURTS 8OO Smithe Street VANCOUVER, B.C. FACSIMILE TRANSMISSION TO Gillian Guess
929 - 3625
JUN. 10. 1999 THE VANCOUVER LAW COURTS NO.085 P.2
June 10, 1999
Gillian Guess 135 - 1300 Parkgate Ave. NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C. V7J 2Y2
COURT OF APPEAL Regina vs Gillian Guess Court of Appeal File No:
Take notice that you are required to appear before a judge of the Court of Appeal at the Law Courts, at 800 Smithe Street, Vancouver on Friday. June 10 1999. at 9:30 a.m.
It will be decided at that time whether this appeal will be dismissed.
This reference is made pursuant to Rule 13(3)
"Where a Registrar considers that the appelant has failed to diligently pursue this appeal or comply with the rules, he may refer the matter to the court or a justice."
Cecilia M Low Deputy Registrar (660-2468)
cc/: J. Wood, Q.C. P. Juk THE LAW COURTS
VANCOUVER -- Gillian Guess, Canada's most famous juror, fears for her safety and plans to fight efforts to force her to testify in the appeal of a double murder trial.
"The Crown has announced that they intend to apply to have me subpoenaed to testify against alleged murderers," Guess said yesterday outside the B.C. Court of Appeal.
"I feel anybody in this situation, forget about it being Gillian Guess, certainly is at high risk at having their own and their family's lives in danger."
Surrounded by the usual phalanx of reporters, Guess, 43, had represented herself in an effort to try to change her bail conditions. She has severed ties with her lawyers and appeared alone before Justice Carol Huddart on the bail application, pending her appeal of her conviction of obstruction of justice.
The judge adjourned the bail matter to Feb. 17.
Guess was convicted last summer for having an affair with accused killer Peter Gill while she was on the jury that acquitted him and five other men in a pair of gangland slayings.
Wiretaps of her home and witness testimony confirmed she and Gill were having sex, although it wasn't clear whether Gill urged her to acquit him.
The Crown is appealing those acquittals and Guess believes she will be subpoenaed to testify.
The thought of testifying terrifies her, she said.
She said her former lawyer wanted to have her relocated under the federal witness protection program.
"I decided to stay because everywhere I go in Canada people will know me, unfortunately."
She was in court yesterday because she doesn't want to have to report to a bail supervisor four times a month.
Prior to her conviction, she had been reporting once a month in person, and once a week by telephone.
That was changed after her conviction to once a week in person.
"Basically, it's become a mind game," she told reporters. "They (bail officials) keep me in there up to an hour. I've had unsavoury characters phone me as a result of sitting in that office.
"It's very frightening for me."
The judge ruled there was a discrepancy between Guess's understanding of her bail supervisor's recommendations and what the Crown was told.
The court ordered the bail supervisor's version to be filed by affidavit and a decision would be made Feb. 17.
She also told the judge she wants to have her own appeal moved to another province because she worries she won't get a fair hearing here.
But the judge said she couldn't rule on that and advised Guess to apply in writing to the court's chief justice.
A couple of months back I wrote about Judge Paris ordering the court doors locked in a hearing about the "secret hearings" (The Star Chamber), he didn't realize I would be attending and embarrassingly said they could be opened. I found out the other day, that as well he also ordered the hearing not to be posted on the court list - to keep the media out.
This is the same judge who publicly denied the "secret hearings" ever happened (as reported in the Globe and Mail last June). This whole ordeal gets scarier and scarier. The Vancouver Sun - October 6, 1998.
OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada has turned down a request to hear a case in secret - something it has done only twice in its 123-year history.
Although the high court Monday extended a sweeping gag order on the British Columbia appeal, it also agreed to hear legal argument from Southam News on whether the publication ban can be narrowed.
The case will be heard Thursday.
Although the nine justices did not give reasons for refusing an in camera hearing, many were clearly uncomfortable with the idea of closing the doors to the country's top court.
Chief Justice Antonio Lamer called the idea "abhorrent" and said the sacred principle of open courts is essential to democracy and to ensure the honesty of the justice system.
"I would be very nervous to live in a country where the press would be excluded from the courtroom," Lamer said.
Justice Frank Iacobucci said excluding everyone from the courtroom would send a "powerful, powerful message to people in the court system and indeed to our wider society."
Gillian Guess was back in front of Judge Paris today accompanied by her lawyers Peter Ritchie and Marilyn Sandford. Josiah Wood represented the Crown.
At 9:30 the court clerk came and unlocked the Courtroom 53 and allowed Guess and the counsel in. Next to everyone's surprise the clerk announced that under the order of Judge Paris she must lock everyone in the courtroom. No one from the public or the media would be allowed to enter.
Under direction from Appellate Judge MacKenzie, Ritchie petitioned Judge Paris to allow the contents of the "secret court" to be revealed to potential appellate lawyers. Paris agreed but ordered that the potential appellate lawyers could not further disclose the information.
Peter Ritchie then said on record that he was extremely concerned about the order to lock the courtroom from the public and media. Paris claimed that it was just a misunderstanding.