Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Lorna Pardy (right) exits the BCHRT Hearing with partner Eda Ertan. Salam and Sam Ismail are visible in the background. Image copyright 2010 Bulletproofcourier.
The trial has ended a day early. Closing arguments are scheduled for Friday April 9 at 2pm.
Stay tuned here for ongoing updates, I still have some great stuff to post: testimony from the last witness, a complete video tour of the BCHRT facilities (including religious art on the walls), photographs of Hearing Room #4, and my reflections about taking part in this truly Canadian experience.
Comedian Nic Roy. Watch him on YouTube
Comedian Nic Roy was the highlight of the day, appearing before the Tribunal with a pair of Canadian flag sunglasses dangling from his shirt. Speaking with plain honesty and unabashed candour, he recalled how Pardy & girlfriend first came to his attention:
Roy: They were making out when I was onstage, and that's pretty much it. I mentioned something about it - don't recall the detail - but they didn't get upset. When Guy took the stage, they were making out again and he got angry and then the insults started going back and forth. It stopped being a comedy show, it got awkward, Guy Earle was just being offensive, he wasn't being funny. He pretty much acted like Michael Richards, so to speak, but instead of nigger, he used the word dyke. Also asshole, piece of shit, little dick, fuck you, fuck yourself, you're a piece of shit.
Ismail: Did you get paid?
Roy: No, a couple drinks I guess.
Ismail: You were a volunteer?
Roy: Yes, I'd been going there every week for awhile to practice and do comedy.
Ismail: Was Salam doing you a favour, doing the local comedians a favor?
Roy: Yes, yes he was.
Ismail: Did you notice any water...
Roy: Yes, twice. After the second time he got angry and broke the sunglasses. They were just as aggressive as he was. I didn't see any scare tactics, any fear.
Cousineau: You heard what Guy called the complainants?
Roy: Dykes, cunts, bitches, whores.
Cousineau: Was this a major incident in your life?
Roy: [sarcastically] Yeah, I keep having nightmares and I wake up in cold sweats… I've been drinking every day since then.
[laughter in Hearing room]
Mr. Roy is excused.
Comedian Grant Espaniel. Watch him on YouTube
After Marlo Franson was excused, Sam Ismail called Grant Espaniel. He was present at Zesty's when the incident happened and the crux of his testimony was this:
"As a comedian, I wanted to go over to the table and apologize for what happened. So I did, but Pardy wasn't frightened of Guy, just angry. She said she wanted to break her beer bottle and stab him in the neck with it."
Ismail: "Stab him in the neck?"
Espaniel: "Yes. She said she wanted to break the beer bottle on the edge of the table and stick it in his neck."
Pardy's lawyer let this doozy go unchallenged, other than asking - and getting agreement from - Espaniel that his memory of that night is a little fuzzy.
Comedian Marlo Franson. Watch him on YouTube
Marlo Franson testimony con't:
Ismail: What happened next?
Franson: Guy introduced the next comedian, and as he walked by table 3 - I saw it very clearly, as I was in eye contact with him the whole time - water splashed from [Pardy's] table. He didn't stop at their table. He walked by me, appearing wet and dumbfounded. There was no physical threat from Guy Earl, only the verbal exchange.
Ismail: Do you think that Guy Earle is homophobic?
Franson: I'd known him since late January  and hadn't seen anything that indicates that.
Ismail: What was the behavior of Pardy after?
Franson: They were not distressed, or scared for their lives. I approached the table and asked if they were OK and they seemed OK, maybe just a little shocked about the sunglasses.
Cousineau: Have you spoken to Mr. Ismail about your testimony today?
Cousineau: Have you heard anything about the witnesses that already testified?
Franson: No, other than something I read in the province, they quoted her.
Cousineau: Do you remember specifically if Guy Earle used the word "dyke" or "cunt"?
Franson: If you want an idea of the comments, there's a YouTube video, you're going to have to watch it.
Cousineau: But do you remember?
Franson: It's there, on the video. I remember watching it a few times thinking "yeah, that's exactly what he said." But I'm not here to confirm or deny what anyone said.
Geiger-Adams: Mr. Franson, as a witness you must tell the Tribunal what you remember, and if not, tell us so.
Cousineau: What do you remember?
Franson: [slightly raised voice] I remember it was something, but not what exactly, so I'm not going to deny or confirm what words he used. This is not a high priority thing for me. My mind is busy.
Cousineau: Were they yelling at the stage?
Franson: They and Guy Earle were engaged in a back-and-forth game of insults, with lots of profanity being used on both sides.
GA: How did the arrangement come about that you would perform that night?
Franson: Guy Earle had told me about the open-mic Tuesdays at the restaurant. After 4 weeks observing, I went onstage.
GA: And how do you do that, how exactly do you get on stage?
Franson: Arrive early and request to perform.
Ishmail: Were you compensated in any way for your performance?
Franson: No, there was no compensation either way.
Ismail: So it was an open mic night?"
Franson: Yes. Both amateurs and professionals performed.
Cousineau: And Guy Earle was the MC?
Franson: Yes, every Tuesday.
.....coming next: What Pardy wanted to do with a beer bottle.
9am start today.
Geiger-Adams represents the Tribunal, Pardy and Cousineau for the complainant, Sam and Salam Ishmail for the respondent. Quite a difference from the media circus on day one. Only three people in the gallery so far: two members of the media and Pardy's girlfriend Eda Ertan, who moved to sit beside me when I opened up my laptop. Hi Eda, nice knee-high leather boots!
Sam Ismail calls witness Nick Dacosta. He does not know Pardy. Was working the lunch shift at Zesty's the day following the incident when Pardy entered and confronted Salam.
DaCosta: "I was working the lunch shift and the plaintiff came in. I greeted her and she went straight for Salam who was on the phone at the bar. She seemed quite angry and stared at him until he finished. From there, she was saying she was angry about what happened the night before. Salam was willing to work with her, he understood that she was upset, he offered to pay for the sunglasses. He apologized for the behaviour of Guy and was trying to figure out, to solve the situation. She kept pushing, she wasn't satisfied with the glasses being replaced."
Ismail: "What did she want?
DaCosta: "She didn't say, she just kept saying what are you gonna do about it?"
Ismail: "What happened after that?"
DaCosta: "The conversation got pretty heated, Salam went on the offensive. On Commercial Drive there's a lot people trying to rip you off. He didn't know what she was after or what to do about it. She got quite angry and started yelling that Zesty's was a bad place and not to eat there. There were maybe 3 tables of patrons inside who heard. She then went outside and Salam wanted to follow her, to call the police. I held him back. It seemed she was trying to get him to do something. She was outside, yelling, walking down the sidewalk, saying things about the place."
Ismail: "Did she say that Zesty's supports violence against women?"
Geiger-Adams interjects, warns Ismail about 'leading the witness: Please rephrase the question.
Ismail: "Do you remember what she said when she was walking down the sidewalk?
DeCosta: "yes, I vaguely remember. The whole incident took maybe 5, 10 minutes most."
Cousineau: "You agree this happened a long time ago, was it a major incident in your life"?
DeCosta: "No, it was kind of a typical day on Commercial drive."
Cousineau: "Would you agree your recollection is somewhat vague?"
DeCosta: "Not totally vague, but somewhat. "
Cousineau: "How many times did she yell zesty's was a bad place?"
DeCosta: "3 times maybe."
Cousineau: "And what was she yelling outside the restaurant"?
DeCosta: "I don't recall."
Witness is excused.
Ismail calls Marlo Franson to testify. He's a comedian who performed that night and witnessed what happened.
Franson: "I remember when they came in. They came and sat [in front], both of them facing the stage."
Ismail: "Did they appear drunk when they came in?
Franson: "They were loud, they were talking and ordering some drinks."
Ismail: "Were they interfering with the show?"
Franson: "Sometimes it happens during a comedy show, a group of people come in, a bit noisy, but usually they settle down. They were being very affectionate with each other. Sitting close to each other, toughing each other, and making out.
Ismail: "It was not a kiss on the cheek?
Franson: "No. And Guy did not appreciate them kissing in front of him, he said "No one wants to watch two ugly lesbians kiss." The two ladies at the table were not appreciative of that comment, they started directing comments back toward the stage, at Earl. It was hard for me to hear what they said, but I heard several swear words and they went back and forth with the insults."
Ismail: "What happened next?
………find out later, stay tuned!