Crown Credibility Raised by Defense Counsel

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By the end of the day tempers had reached a full boil between Timmins Crown Attorney, Wayne O’Hanley and Counsel for the defense, Bruce Willson. Willson spent the day crossing the witness, Karen Querat, in the trial of OPP Constable, Glenn McLean. Willson presented a line of questioning that targeted Querat’s integrity, and in the process inferred that he doubted the credibility of the Crown.

During Querat’s testimony today, Querat acknowledged that as part of trial preparations, O’Hanley had armed her with 2 three-ringed binders that contained the witness statements of individuals testifying in the case against McLean. Querat admitted that this was true and that “everyone’s” statements were in the binders including McLean’s. Though Querat recalls this, she later states that she never looked through the binders though they were in her possession for 3- 4 days. Willson raised concerns that Querat was tainted as a witness. During a criminal proceeding, witnesses are kept separate from one another to prevent the likelihood of influencing the testimony of other witnesses. It goes to logic that witness statements are therefore not shared among witnesses.

Willson questioned the professionalism of O’Hanley and pointed to other issues of Crown decorum during the day, such as O’Hanley travelling with Querat to the Sault Ste. Marie Courthouse and the provision of Querat’s community service hours through the Timmins Crown Attorney’s Office for her work prepping for her appearance as a witness in McLean’s trial.

Superior Justice Michael Varpio, flagged an area of concern in Querat’s testimony today, where he felt Querat indicated the possibility that she may have disclosed undocumented evidence to O’Hanley during their time preparing for trial together. Varpio went on to express that in fairness to O’Hanley, a discussion was required to determine whether or not O’Hanley would be pulled off the trial and introduced as a witness in McLean’s case, thereby necessitating the need for a new Crown.

Willson, though not in disagreement that he would like O’Hanley removed from the trial, did implore the judge for an opportunity to divine out further evidence from Querat before possibly submitting an application to the Court seeking O’Hanley’s removal. Willson stated to Varpio that he had been “thinking of a motion to have O’Hanley removed” but not only on the basis of the potential disclosure of evidence from Querat to the Crown, but based upon the entirety of O’Hanley’s “conduct” throughout the entire process –from the investigation to trial.

Willson has also requested further disclosure from the Crown on the matters of:

  • What information was contained in the 2 three-ringed binders given to Querat by O’Hanley
  • A copy of all email exhanges between O’Hanley and Querat
  • What was discussed between O’Hanley and Querat while travelling to the Courthouse as well as other destinations
  • Clarification about either a summons or subpoena that Sudbury Police attempted to deliver to Querat’s home this past weekend

Throughout the day, Superior Justice Varpio, with the patience of a saint, repeatedly advised Querat while on the witness stand to directly answer the questions presented by Counsel.

“I feel like I am…,” Querat softly replied.

*****

Court resumes tomorrow morning at the Sault Ste. Marie Courthouse

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Crown Attorney Carpools with Star Witness to Sault Ste. Marie Courthouse

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