Monday, March 29, 2010
An editorial by blog writer BulletproofCourier
After witnessing Guy Earle's lawyer James Millar walking out of today's BC Human Rights Tribunal hearing in protest of an illegal proceeding...
...I find myself asking: Should I attend the Guy Earle trial tomorrow? Sure, I might have the next couple days free, but is it worth my time?
Reason not to attend:
Guy Earle's lawyer, James Millar, is right to walk out on the Tribunal: this hearing is an illegal proceeding that violates the basic tenets of Canadian law. Why lend it legitimacy by even being in the room?
Reason to attend:
Canadians need to be aware of how the BC Human Rights Tribunal operates, right or wrong. Especially if it's wrong.
Reason not to attend:
Tribunal chair "Mumbling Murray" is unpleasant, sometimes infuriating to watch. He behaves like a learning-disabled government robot: A low-talker, too busy typing into his laptop computer to make eye contact with anyone speaking to "him", the Tribunal. He just sits there typing (presumably a trial transcript, as he has no assistant, and the BCHRT isn't recording this hearing. WTF?) and not engaging his reasoning faculties. No spark in his eye, no variation in voice level, devoid of levity: Mumbling Murray rules the room like a corpse.
It seems like this case is already decided, and his job is to poker-face the hearing into a winning hand for the BCHRT. Seriously! Everyone in the room could smell it, even the seasoned reporters were heard snickering and muttering "oh my god" at the patent stupidity of some of Geiger-Adams' statements during today's hearing.
Reason to attend:
Gather more evidence for above hypothesis? I don't know, maybe you can tell me.
Shortly after Guy Earle's lawyers leave the hearing in protest (see previous post) Pardy is sworn in to testify. Sam & Salam Ismail from Zesty's restaurant are the only respondents left at the table. They smile grimly and scribble notes, both a little sweaty, aware they are way out of their league.
Pardy is 32 years old and works as a meteorological technician at Vancouver International Airport. She is five-foot eight inches tall and weighs 130 lbs. She is dressed conservatively in a long-sleeved rugby shirt with horizontal blue stripes and has no visible tattoos or face piercings. Her dark hair is cut to shoulder length. When she speaks, her voice is decidedly low.
Pardy says she suffers from PTSD stemming from the incident, and will later call a witness doctor to confirm it.
In a nutshell, Pardy claims she was not drunk and not heckling - "I finished one Corona and was halfway through another" - when the incident occurred. She says it was a beautiful day and her plan was to enjoy time with friends on the patio of Zesty's restaurant. She didn't know there was an open-mike comedy event taking place that night.
But when she and her friends moved to a table inside the restaurant, her girlfriend kissed her on the cheek, and that's what started Guy Earl going:
"Don't mind the inconsiderate dyke table that just walked in."As they interacted with the waitress about getting more drinks, Earle was annoyed by the distraction up front and went at them again:
"Do you have a strap-on? Are you going to go home and fuck her in the ass?"...At some point, Earle approached the table:
"Why do you have to be such a fucking cunt?"Pardy splashed a glass of water in his face and said "stay away from this table."
Several minutes later, Earle was again onstage in his role as MC for the open-mic comedy night. And he went after Pardy again.
At this point both parties' stories converge:
Also at this point, I felt I had enough material for the day, so I left and gave my seat to a fellow blogger. Take it from here, Covenant Zone!
[UPDATE: Watch video of James Millar's press conference in BCHRT hallway]
About an hour into the hearing, James Millar - lawyer for the absent Guy Earle - asked for a brief stand-down so he could telephone his client. When the hearing resumed, he addressed the Tribunal and said to chair Murray Geiger-Adams:
(transcribed from digital recording)
I'd like to stress... that I find it's difficult because of my obligation as a lawyer and my commitment to the courts, the tribunals. I've practiced for 30 years and never been in a situation quite like this...[unclear]A minute later, the hallway press briefing happened. Video in previous post.
You're not listening to me. You're not interested in what the Supreme Court of Canada has said, you're not interested in what the BC Supreme Court has said on this issue - [Geiger-Adams begins to interject but stops] - and I'm saying to you, that I'm put in this position, and you have put me in this position. You're proceeding illegally, I have to leave this proceeding because it is an illegal proceeding against the rule of law.
You can't wait to decide your jurisdiction, you can't put somebody through this for three years, go to the Supreme Court, not follow what the Supreme Court judge said, put this guy through it - put these people through it - for three years and not even make a decision concerning your own jurisdiction.
Talk about an abusive process, this is high-handed and I have to - I cannot consent to it, because my staying here would show the respect that I have for the Tribunal. But I would be consenting to what is an illegal process and as a lawyer I don't think that's a very good way to go. So I have to leave the proceedings. I do so regretfully, and I do so with the greatest respect for the Tribunal. And I look forward to the reasons of the telephone conference which will permit me to file...[unclear]
[putting on coat, leaving room]
I do so very regretfully. It's too bad you wouldn't listen.
Coming next: Lorna Pardy's testimony, her side of the story.
James Millar, representing Guy Earle at the hearing, addresses media after walking out of the hearing in protest:
Coming next, a word-for-word transcription of Millar's statements to the hearing chairperson before he vamoosed.
First news of the morning: It turns out the tribunal hasn't ruled on jurisdiction yet, but intends to hold the hearing now and rule on jurisdiction later.
James Millar to hearing chair Murray Geiger-Adams:
"This procedure is against the rule of law...I can't be part of an illegal proceeding...How can you proceed when jurisdiction is not settled?...I have to leave the proceedings...I do so very regretfully...It's too bad you wouldn't listen."
He then walked out and addressed a media scrum waiting in the hallway. Video soon.