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Jack Ramsay

Jack Ramsay ran as in independent in the Alberta constituency of Crowfoot

Jack Ramsay

Amazingly, many voters support him and said he represented them well, when he was a sitting member for the Reform Party and their justice critic.

As though it is not enough enough that they are tolerant of his rape of the Native girl while he was an RCMP officer in Northern Saskatchewan, there is an uncomfortable degree of tolerance with the notion that there is nothing wrong with what he did -- that it was common practice and so it is somehow unfair to single Jack Ramsay out for public scrutiny and criticism.

Perhaps Ramsay is not the only RCMP officer who helped himself to young flesh when he was stationed in Northern Saskatchewan. Rumour at th time had it that he was not. There were worse rumours against cops in the North -- rumours of girls murdered and dumped in the bush.

Jack Ramsay

The attitude that what happened long ago should be forgotten is dangerous. We have witnessed some success by Jews who survived the holocaust in finally getting the world to pay attention. we could learn much from this persistance. Rape was not okay thirty, forty, fifty years ago and it is not okay now.

People W5 interviewed in the southern Saskatchewan community where Dr. John Schneeberger raped a patient as well as his own step-daughter said he was a good doctor and they would like to see him return to practice. In the cases of both Ramsay and Schneeberger we are dealing with rape of under-age persons and men who used their positions to force sexual acts from minors. Both are unrepentant. Neither are fit for any job which puts them in a position of trust. Ramsay should be in jail, not on the hustings. And Schneeberger should be kept locked up. (Ramsay's supporters turned out to be a significant minority in the Crowfoot community. Perhaps he will learn something from all of this.)

Jack Ramsay has been found guilty of attempted rape.

Judge dismisses MP's attempt to have charges tossed from court

A judge shot down an attempt to have rape charges against Reform MP Jack Ramsay thrown out in a Saskatoon courtroom Monday.

Ramsay's lawyer, Morris Bodnar, argued that not enough evidence was presented at the preliminary inquiry earlier in the year to make his client stand trial.

Bodnar asked Queen's Bench Justice Frank Gerein to overrule an earlier ruling by provincial court Judge Claude Fafard committing Ramsay to trial last February.

The Crowfoot MP who lives in Canmore, Alta., faces charges of sexual assault and unlawful confinement involving two girls, aged 14 and 15.

The alleged incidents occurred between 1969 and 1971 when Ramsay was an RCMP officer stationed in Pelican Narrows, a town 370 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon.

Bodnar said evidence at the preliminary inquiry did not show Ramsay acted without consent - a key criteria to proving a rape charge under the Criminal Code of the time.

But Gerein ruled there was enough evidence to bring to a jury.

Gerein also imposed a publication ban on Monday's proceedings which prohibits media from printing further details.

Though Gerein dismissed Monday's application, Bodnar will try again today to have the charges dropped against the former Reform justice and immigration critic.

In an interview, Bodnar said he will argue that Ramsay cannot get a fair trial because evidence has gone missing in the 30 years since the alleged incidents.

In a Saskatoon courtroom this afternoon, he will challenge the charges by evoking Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

This area of the charter guarantees a person's right to a fair trial and has been used in other cases where age of a case interferes with the collection of evidence.

"So much time has passed that we can't have a fair trial because of the destruction of evidence or unavailability of evidence," said Bodnar, who discovered that reports are missing and witnesses have died while preparing Ramsay's defence.

A University of Saskatchewan law professor said, even if Bodnar proves pieces of evidence are missing, he must show their disappearance limits his client's right to a fair trial.

"A stay of proceedings will only happen where there is real potential for prejudice of your fair trial rights," said constitutional and criminal law professor Sanjeev Anand.

"You can't say this evidence could have been really, really important. You have to have some basis for saying that."

He said the accused doesn't have to show prejudice in order to say his rights are being infringed upon.

"But it is necessary to show prejudice to get a stay of proceeding."

He said two cases at the Supreme Court of Canada in 1997 laid the ground rules for today's application.

In the first case, the court ruled a person's rights were infringed because someone intentionally destroyed evidence.

In the second case, the court considered what happens when the evidence disappears unintentionally.

"The Crown has to prove that it hasn't been lost or destroyed because of unacceptable negligence. If they can prove that, then there is no breach of Section 7," said Anand.

Ramsay, who did not attend Monday's hearing, is scheduled to face a judge and jury starting on Nov. 22 in Melfort.

Peeling back an MP's past lives

He is 62 now, with four grown children and several careers behind him, but today, Jack Ramsay will find himself transported back 30 years, to a time when he was a single, relatively young man at the tail end of the first of his working lives.

Mr. Ramsay, a Reform Member of Parliament who became one of his party's most nationally recognized voices in his role as an outspoken justice critic, goes on trial this morning in the Court of Queen's Bench on two criminal charges involving alleged incidents with young native girls.

Because the allegations are so dated, he has been charged under the 1953-54 version of the Criminal Code of Canada -- with one count of having sexual intercourse with a female person not his wife (this is the old rape charge) and one of unlawful confinement.

A third charge, of attempted rape, was dismissed at an earlier preliminary hearing.

Both alleged victims are now in their 40s, but were 14 and 15 when, they say, Mr. Ramsay -- then a corporal with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police -- was stationed at Pelican Narrows, a remote village on the now-renamed Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation, a four-hour drive northeast of the small town of Melfort, where the trial will take place.

Born in Saskatchewan, Mr. Ramsay was then one of a two-man RCMP detachment. He had been with the force 12 years, and resigned in 1971, causing a brouhaha a year later when he wrote an article for Maclean's magazine in which he was harshly critical of the RCMP.

He went on to work briefly for the Indian Affairs department in Alberta, then as a private investigator (in this capacity, he played a role in winning the release of a native man named Wilson Neppoose who had been wrongfully convicted of murder), and in the 1980s led the now-defunct Western Canada Concept party before being elected as a Reformer in 1993.

Though the case is expected to be completed within a week, it bears, in some regards, a striking resemblance to a much longer trial going on at the other end of the country at this time last year.

That was the sex assault trial in Halifax of former Nova Scotia premier Gerald Regan, who ended up being acquitted by a jury of charges he had raped or tried to rape three young women.

Like Mr. Regan was, Mr. Ramsay is in the unenviable position of answering to aged charges, and in both cases, because of the passage of time, evidence disappeared and potential witnesses died -- including, in Mr. Ramsay's case, the mother of one of his alleged victims who allegedly had been told of the assault.

In both cases, the road to charges was a long and winding one.

Mr. Regan was charged, essentially, when the local RCMP interviewed a journalist who had probed some of the persistent rumours swirling about the former premier and then launched a protracted and complicated investigation of their own.

Mr. Ramsay was charged after one of the victims -- the one who accuses him of raping her at the Mountie barracks -- saw him at a wake for a relative on the reserve in 1996. She eventually filed a complaint with the RCMP, who later got a court order for a wiretap and urged the woman to set up a meeting with him.

That taped conversation from their 1998 meeting is expected to form part of the evidence at trial.

The second woman alleges Mr. Ramsay unlawfully confined her at the barracks.

Both complainants, one of whom still lives in Pelican Narrows, the other established as a carpenter in Edmonton, are also expected to testify, just as the three middle-aged women accusing Mr. Regan did at his trial.

The names of both women, like those of Mr. Regan's accusers, are protected by a publication ban.

Mr. Ramsay, who had been shuffled to the immigration portfolio in Preston Manning's shadow cabinet in June of last year, resigned the immigration post one day after the charges against him became public last September. He remains as the MP for the Alberta riding of Crowfoot.

He has made virtually no public comment on the charges, but his lawyer, Morris Bodnar, a former Saskatchewan Liberal MP, says the ordeal has "been very tough on him."

Mr. Bodnar, like Mr. Regan's famous lawyer, Eddie Greenspan of Toronto, believes there should be a statute of limitations on such elderly sex-assault charges.

Indeed, about six months after Mr. Regan's acquittal, Mr. Greenspan made that argument in an impassioned column in the National Post. It's not just the inherent difficulty in defending oneself in such cases, he wrote, it is also "unjust to prosecute and punish people based on present social and moral values that may not have been applied at the time of the alleged offence."

Just last week, Mr. Greenspan told the Post in an interview that a fair limitation on pressing forward with such charges would be five years after the alleged victim leaves "the control" of the alleged offender.

This, he said, would provide a sufficient period for victims who were young or under the influence of such alleged offenders as relatives, teachers or police officers at the time of the offence to mature and consider what happened to them.

Without a statute of limitations, Mr. Greenspan said, even the mere fact of these charges being brought forward can be ruinous, regardless of the outcome at trial.

The best-case scenario for someone like Mr. Ramsay, he said, is "the damnation of acquittal."

"You go through a trial like this," Mr. Greenspan said, "and even if you're found not guilty, there's no Perry Mason who will get the witness [the complainant] to say, 'Okay, I lied'." Here, he quoted what an American politician, who was acquitted on bribery charges, said on the steps of the courthouse when a reporter stuck a microphone up his nose and asked, "You've won. What do you have to say?"

The politician, Mr. Greenspan said, replied, "Yes, I've won, but how do I get my reputation back?"

Trial begins for Alberta MP

MELFORT, SK - The trial of Alberta MP Jack Ramsay is now underway. The former Reform Party justice critic is charged with sexual assault and unlawful confinement.

The alleged events date back 30 years, to when Ramsay was an RCMP officer in Pelican Narrows, a small Cree community, 500 km north of Saskatoon.

He is accused of raping one girl and unlawfully confining another when they were 14 and 15 respectively.

Ramsay's lawyer, Morris Bodnar, says fighting the charges will be difficult because the alleged events are so far in the past.

"It's very difficult after all these years to be able to reconstruct what may or may not have occurred. It's difficult to talk to some witnesses. It's impossible to talk to some witnesses because they've died," he told CBC Radio News.

It's expected that Bodnar, a former Liberal MP, will ask that the charges be dismissed for lack of evidence.

Bodnar says Ottawa should introduce a statute of limitations on all offences except murder. He says this type of case has become too common and it's time to set a reasonable time limit for people to come forward with complaints.

The trial is expected to last about three days.

Ramsay could face up to 14 years in prison if convicted of sexual assault, and up to 10 years for unlawful confinement.

Ramsay denies rape

MELFORT, SK -- Alberta Reform MP Jack Ramsay was about to have sex with his alleged rape victim when he became disgusted with himself and stopped, a court heard Tuesday.

Jurors listened to an audio tape of Ramsay's statement to police in July 1998 in which he gives his version of what happened between him and his accuser.

Ramsay is alleged to have raped the woman, who was 14 at the time, in the northern Saskatchewan community of Pelican Narrows in 1969. He was then a 32-year-old RCMP corporal.

On the tape, Ramsay says he was with the girl at the RCMP detachment when he asked if she would like to have sex with him.

He told her that he would leave the office and if she had her pants undone when he returned, then he would take that as a yes.

When he returned, he said, her pants and blouse were undone.

"I was sexually aroused and I approached her and touched her waist," Ramsay says. "At that moment, the disgusting nature of what was happening struck me."

He says he stopped immediately and insists that no penetration occurred.

As the tape played, Ramsay's wife, children and brothers listened intently from the gallery. Ramsay, 61, sat in the prisoner's dock looking downward.

On Monday, the woman testified that Ramsay had difficulty penetrating her.

The issue of penetration is pivotal to the case because there can be no rape without it.

The charge of rape doesn't exist in the Criminal Code anymore -- it's now covered in the charge of sexual assault -- but it did in 1969 and that's why Ramsay is facing it.

The alleged victim has said she came forward with the accusation nearly 30 years after the incident as part of a healing process in her life. Earlier Tuesday, she was cross-examined by defence lawyer Morris Bodnar.

He asked her details about the day of the incident, such as if she had worn underwear.

She replied that she had not.

Bodnar then pointed to a transcript of her statement to the Crown nine months ago in which she said she had worn underwear.

She also said she couldn't remember details about what happened shortly after the incident.

"The reality of the situation is, I got raped," she said. "And all the little details ... are minute."

Bodnar then had the woman acknowledge that she was once convicted of a firearms offence and that she abused alcohol and drugs for many years.

The woman glanced at Ramsay occasionally during her testimony but he didn't appear to make eye contact.

On Monday, court heard a taped phone conversation between Ramsay and the woman in which Ramsay said he was sorry for what happened but insisted no sexual intercourse took place. The conversation was taped by RCMP in April 1998.

Ramsay also faces charges of unlawful confinement against another woman around the same time. Justice Ted Noble agreed to a defence motion to hear that charge separately. No date has been set.

A charge of attempted sexual assault against the other woman was discharged at Ramsay's preliminary hearing last February.

Ramsay served in the RCMP for 14 years. He resigned in 1971 and went on to lead the now-defunct Western Canada Concept party in the 1980s.

He was elected 1993 to represent Alberta's Crowfoot riding in the House of Commons. He was re-elected in 1997 and is the Reform party's former justice and immigration critic.

Ramsay stepped down from his critic duties last September after the sex charges became public. He lives in Camrose, Alta., south of Edmonton.

Woman accusing Ramsay of rape pointed finger before

National Hockey League executive named in similar sexual misconduct complaint

The woman who Jack Ramsay tried to rape 30 years ago, when she was 14, raised similar allegations of sexual misconduct with the RCMP against a senior National Hockey League executive when she came forward with her tale of abuse from 1969, she said in an interview Thursday.

The woman, now 44, wanted the RCMP to press rape charges against the man two years ago when they were investigating her allegations against the Alberta Reform MP, she said. She is angry the matter never proceeded.

"All I know is I got a call saying there was not enough witnesses and they have to close it for now," she said.

The National Post reported Thursday that RCMP "fully investigated" the allegation against the man, identified as a "senior executive of a National Hockey League club," and dismissed the accusation on the grounds there was not enough evidence to lay a charge.

The Post also interviewed the executive, who confirmed "the RCMP investigated," but said "there was nothing to it.

"I was 15 years old when this supposedly happened, and I have no idea who this woman is," he told The National Post.

A jury convicted Ramsay of attempted rape Wednesday after a three-day trial.

He had originally been charged with rape, the allegation dating to 1969 when he was a 32-year-old RCMP corporal in Pelican Narrows, a detachment in northern Saskatchewan.

The jury did not know of the woman's accusation against the NHL executive, nor of an alleged rape by a Prince Albert police officer three years earlier when she was 11 or 12 and had escaped from a residential school.

Justice Ted Noble dismissed a defence application at trial to cross-examine the woman on the alleged rape by the 21-year-old Prince Albert police officer. Noble also ordered an apparent reference to the NHL executive blacked out of the transcript of Ramsay's interview with RCMP, the Post reported.

Two lawyers, Steven Shurka of Toronto and Richard Wolson of Winnipeg, attended the Ramsay trial but refused requests from media to explain their presence. They sat in the front row during the Crown's case and held hushed meetings with Crown prosecutor Robin Ritter and defence lawyer Morris Bodnar at various points.

The National Post reported they attended to ensure the NHL executive's name did not surface during the trial.

The woman alleged that she was raped by the man in 1969.

The woman would not discuss the details of the alleged assault because she does not know the legal status of the matter, and because of her experiences with the media during the Ramsay trial.

Her cousin, however, said she recalled from the summer of 1969 when three teens, aged 14, 16 and 18, ran away from home. They hitchhiked to another northern community, ending up at a house party where the alleged assault occurred.

"When you get there, half the people you don't even know. Over half the people you don't even know, and then everybody just ends up partying and then shit happens."

The cousin said she did not witness the alleged rape.

The 14-year-old victim told her about the incident with Ramsay, but did not raise the allegations against the NHL executive with her until 1992.

"I don't know when she figured out it was him. She didn't tell me about him until about 1992, when my husband died. We were out of touch for about 17 years, and then all of a sudden there she was."