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Christine Bartlett-Hughes

Christine Bartlett-Hughes teams up with Howard Liebovich: Together and singly, they storm-troop through people's charter rights

Howard Liebovich Ontario prosecutor

Howard Liebovich (during Robert Baltovich appeals)

In R. v Sharpe (he won) Christine Bartlett-Hughes was one of three Ontario prosecutors intervening for the province of Ontario.

She had also intervened for Ontario in the Little Sisters SCC appeal (they won). See also Ash Blonde Ambition, the New York DA, Linda Fairstein, who made her career by prosecuting five innocent black teens in the Central Park Jogger rape case.

Christine Bartlett-Hughes, the prosecutor in R. v Don Smith in Fort Frances is working pornography as the issue which will take her to the top. She knows all the moves and works it like the pro she is. Already she has been an Ontario government intervener in the Little Sisters bookstore and the Robin Sharpe cases when both won their appeals at the Supreme Court. Hanging around with Jim Flaherty (another intervener) no doubt has helped her better understand the Mike Harris/Ernie Eves method of governing.

Child pornographers have outstripped child molesters as a group coffee row regulars like to spurt their daily load of righteous hatred upon. Problem is, there is really a small number of people in either of these categories. But there are more of them than there were satanic cult child sacrificers and wasn't society turned upside down by this virtually non-existent group for a decade and a half? And although the Smith case is not about child pornography (the only times the word child is mentioned is in the warning pages and the links to get filtering software) Bartlett-Hughes has spun the facts to imply that it is and has even talked Judge H. Pierce (not the brightest bulb in the courtroom) to accepting the R. v Sharpe definition of "sex" leaving out the phrases which clearly indicate this definition is for the purposes of child pornography.

As anyone who spends any time on the Internet knows, there is a lot of hardcore pornography online and sometimes it will float onto your monitor uninvited. It is a nuisance and an eyesore, mostly adults in unseemly positions, and I would prefer if it was regulated. But this ubiquitous, vulgar spam is not what Christine Bartlett-Hughes has chosen to tackle. She has gone after the Perfect Shots Video F/X site because she saw Don and Lorna Smith as people she could turn into examples. She knew there were fundamentalists in the community who would support her efforts to scapegoat Don Smith. She had an ally in OPP Special Constable Scott Gobeil, who has been promoted to Detective since he busted Smith -- despite being told by his superiors that Perfect Shots was completely legal.

They all took advantage of the fact they had a malicious gossip to feed them lies; as a man of the cloth, this trouble-maker had community standing. For once in Ontario, the child protection people must be commended. When Don and Lorna Smith's children were questioned about their knowledge of their father's website, they knew nothing about it and were given back to their parents as they should have been.

The media has ignored this case. In fact the media has pretty much pandered to the lowest public denominator since pornography became a hot feminist issue during the 80's. The Internet has given the issue a new lease on life which the media can exploit to sell advertising. Ontario's Project P, established to go after childporn on the Internet, is a getaway haven for cops who don't really want to go on the frontlines serving and protecting the public preferring instead to play with state of the art electronic equipment and figure out just how much they can get away with.

Don Smith was offered a plea bargain which would have netted him a relatively minor fine. He elected to go to trial because, having consulted lawyers even before going online, he knew the perfectshotsvideo site was completely legal. OPP Special Cst. Scott Gobeil knew this also, but elected to go ahead and arrest the Smiths anyway. Christine Bartlett-Hughes certainly knew this was a case which would rely on sleight-of-hand manipulation of public hysteria and not the law.

Don and Lorna Smith and their beautiful children have been financially ruined. Don has had his livelihood taken from him and Lorna will not be able to pay off his fine on her present salary. The huge fine has virtually taken from them their right to appeal.

Judge Helen Pierce, who implied in her sentencing speech that she was punishing Don Smith on behalf of sexually exploited women, is beneath contempt. Two of the models who appear in Don Smith's f/X videos testified at the trial that they were well paid and enjoyed themselves during the filming.

Pierce's direction to the jury to give the expert testimony of Dr. Barry Grant and Dr. David Annandale no special weight for their expertise is preposterous. The implication is that she, as a woman, is more expert in the area of female exploitation. She, as a woman making in excess of $150,000 a year (a guess -- I don't know what Ontario circuit court judges make) confuses offended sensibilities for sexual exploitation. The women who appear in advertisements for the automobile she drives are as exploited as anyone on Don Smith's former website.

Pierce's directive that Smith surrender the copyright of his creative work to the Ontario government is intellectual property theft, pure and simple. Although Pierce did not recognize Dr. Barry Grant's expertise, she did qualify him as an expert and it was his opinion that Smith's special effects were innovative.

The Martin Niemoller quotation resonates in 2002. "They" are coming for people they can frame as child molesters, pornographers, terrorists and drug pushers. Hitler managed to turn a hungry, badly educated public against Communists, Jews and Catholics, seize their property and consign them to death camps.

Today ruthlessly ambitious cops and crowns like Scott Gobeil and Brian Dueck, Matt Miazga, Sonja Hansen and Christine Bartlett-Hughes are dismantling justice by dishonest actions within a system which relies on the good faith of its officers to function. They are, in the words made famous at the Nuremberg war crime trials, "just following orders". Just doing their jobs. Building their careers.

The Fort Frances debacle is the first obscenity case I have heard of where a guilty verdict was so illegally obtained and so severe a sentence imposed. Just because I haven't heard of them doesn't mean there haven't been others. Don Smith was gagged throughout the process and mainstream media chose to ignore this case; one can assume there may be others similarly ignored. As we learned with the "Scandal of the Century," court-ordered gag orders make it extremely difficult to report.

Difficult but not impossible. As the police expand their powers to conduct warrentless searches and seizures and prosecutors rely on silent precedents and sealed documents, we cannot know which one of us will be next. If the media does not speak for us, who will? (Kirk Makin's story in the Globe and Mail did not delve deeply. Smith's lawyer, Darren Sawchuk, who is quoted in the article, missed an opportunity to raise the civil liberties issues and talk about the implications for the public, but instead plays it very safe. Christine Bartlett Hughes, however, does not miss a beat in her march across the moral landscape.)

This is an historical archive of Exceptionally, if someone is finally able to prove innocence then the article(s) can be amended to state this or articles may be changed/added to insure continuity.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the late Sheila Steele.