Timmins Crown Attorney, Wayne O’Hanley, and Counsel for the defense, Bruce Willson, were at each other’s throats this morning as the sluggish trial of OPP Constable Glenn McLean coasted into it’s fourth week before the Court. Several days of the trial have been lost to the procurement of new evidence as well as an ongoing illness suffered by the Crown’s star witness Karen Querat.
O’Hanley and Willson sparred before Superior Court Justice Michael Varpio today regarding the direction of trial this week. O’Hanley was vehement, taking umbrage that Willson’s cross examination of Querat was designed with the purpose of attacking his credibility.
“This has been all about me!” O’Hanley enthusiastically argued. He swiped a pad of paper from the table and gestured with it at Willson on every point as he ran through a list of evidence discerned by Willson: Querat’s knowledge of O’Hanley playing his banjo in his motel room; O’Hanley picking Querat up and driving her to and fro Court appearances; Querat requiring O’Hanley to drive her to assist her with her luggage (a surgery prevents her from lifting over 20 lbs.); O’Hanley and Querat staying at the same hotel; Querat admitting that O’Hanley had called her ‘the best witness ever’; O’Hanley and Querat being spotted walking from the hotel together; and O’Hanley’s introduction of Querat to his mother and sister.
O’Hanley expressed to the judge questions related to his conduct during the cross-examination of Querat is inappropriate.
“I don’t want my conduct to be on trial!” O’Hanley declared with vigor adding that he would be happy to acknowledge any bad decisions he may or may have not made and that he would like to be as transparent as possible- an “open book” before the Court.
On the point of calling out credibility, and the discovery that 2 mysterious three-ringed binders were given to Querat by O’Hanley and left in her possession for several days, binders that she said contained the witness statements of many, Willson tossed his hands in the air and spat with exasperation, “This is all about credibility! Witness credibility and witness transparency! That’s what all of this is about.”
Three binders were delivered by the Timmin’s Crown office to Willson yesterday. Of the binder’s contents Willson expressed that the documents would be considered material evidence that he dearly wanted to cross Querat about to “show how contaminated she is” as a witness.
However, trial did not proceed today nor did it yesterday when the Court recessed so that Querat could attend the Sault Area Hospital to seek treatment for an earache. Querat returned to the stand very briefly this morning upon which Judge Varpio queried as to her health.
“Not good at all,” she sadly said shaking her head and looking at the judge. She proceeded to tell the Court that yesterday afternoon she returned to the hotel with the intention of going to the hospital but hadn’t a way there and did not have money for taxi fare.
Looking at O’Hanley with her head slightly bowed, she said in a very small voice, “I asked Mr. O’Hanley to take me but he said he couldn’t.” With her lower lip pouting slightly she added, “Nobody could help me. I needed help.”
The Court bantered the dilemma around –how would Querat get to the hospital?
Judge Varpio, in all his wisdom, looked at O’Hanley and remarked, “In light of everything going on, it shouldn’t be you taking her.”
Willson chimed in, “Oh I agree he shouldn’t take her to the hospital but you know they’re driving home together for three hours anyways so why shouldn’t he take her to the hospital and sit with her in the waiting room? I have no problem with that. As far as I’m concerned the damage has been done.”
“I have a problem with Mr. Willson saying I should sit with her in the waiting room!” Fumed O’Hanley. “It refutes my character!” Then adding, “Given the tenor of all the comments this week, I thought it better to not have contact with her. That’s why I didn’t take her to the hospital.”
Judge Varpio broke up the tiff and in the end made the decision that an officer should probably take Querat to the hospital and take her home. And before he sent them on their way- until Court resumes next Monday at 9:30 a.m., Varpio placated any injuries saying, “Until I am ordered to adjudicate any matters that involve either of you, I believe that you are both gentlemen of the highest order.”
In the meantime, if O’Hanley and Willson can bear each other long enough, the pair will meet with a judge to discuss trial management in the hopes that this derailed trial gets back on track.