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It’s difficult to provide a precise description of the day of my habeas corpus back on April 10th, 2015. Too much time has passed and pretty much everything that happened is on record at the court, so there isn’t much need for excess detail. I’m going to skim over most of what happened that day, but I’ll raise a few issues that stand out in my memory.

I awoke anxious because I hadn’t heard from M that evening. She would arrive early with the news of the RCMP arresting her and seizing all my computers and the only medication capable of treating my condition. It was shocking, but knew I had a medical record of my illness and had may repeated attempts to obtain a prescription from my family doctor. I figured it would sort itself out (I was wrong about that.) so I wasn’t too worried. I was just anxious to get the whole issue before a judge.

Two of the memories that stick out in my mind about that day relate to Jamie Merrigan, the lawyer for the hospital (also happened to be the Chief Adjudicator for the Human Rights Commission) who would argue against my right of habeas corpus.

The first matter occurred while waiting for the hearing to commence. I was sitting at the table behind and to the right of him in courtroom 3 of the Danny Williams Building. I noticed he was using one of the new BB10 Blackberrys so I asked him how he liked them. I’d owned a Z10 prior to the RCMP seizing it and eventually destroying it for no good reason. Currently writing everything on a Passport. I just like the operating system. I like that both the hardware and software were Canadian made. I even owned stock in the company for a few years.

His response? Only drug dealers and criminals like Blackberrys. They think the encryption is unbreakable and they’re safe, but the police have ways of getting into any device.

I found this a bit odd. Sort of a veiled accusation that the only reason I liked my BlackBerry is because I was up to no good. I don’t use encryption on my phone. I only recently started using a passcode to keep my infant son off my Twitter account. I had nothing to hide on it. Yet this lawyer seemed to be accusing me of criminal activity. I suspected he’d heard about the police search of my home the night before and had decided I was a drug dealer. The RCMP would later come the opposite conclusion, that there was no evidence of trafficking or any intent to traffic, but that the entire supply was for personal use. Didn’t seem to make much difference to this lawyer. He’d already decided I was a criminal or a terrorist and that I would just take time for the proper authorities to gather evidence. He’d even make a similar statement to the Justices at the Court of Appeal hearing and was verbally smacked down by Justice Rowe for making unfounded and slanderous allegations during the hearing.

I informed him I didn’t use any means of encryption or security on my phone, but that I didn’t think he was 100% accurate in his assessment of the abilities of the police to break encryption. You can use brute force computing power to break encryption, but it takes time. When you’re dealing with encryption of any sufficient sophistication, the possibility of real-time access is fairly non-existent. To be able to read everyone’s encrypted messages in real-time you’d have to have a backdoor into the system. He insisted that he had a math degree and knew better than I did. I told him I’d graduated from an electronic engineering technology program and thought his claim to any proficiency at math seemed questionable as he didn’t seem to understand the concept of orders of magnitude. I’d later discover he only had a liberal arts degree.

The other thing that he did that sticks in my memory was trying to imply that I was hiding things from my lawyers and the court. That I’d purposely withheld a portion of my medical file that was somehow damning and the hospital was prepared to place it before the court. I took immediate issue with this, but had to flag it in a round about way. As my lawyers weren’t present in the courtroom, I had to speak to the legal aid and have her request a moment of their time. This would result in the court room being cleared of everyone save myself, my lawyers appearing via teleconference, and the legal assistant who was present with me. I raised the issue that i’d signed a consent form that allowed them full access to my file. Merrigan had established a false pretense by suggesting that I hadn’t offered full consent and was being secretive. I felt slandered by a statement that had zero foundation in factual evidence and wanted to know how that was going to be allowed to continue. We spoke briefly on the matter and agreed that it would be addressed in the future. The court was reconvened and my lawyers put forward the assertion that my full medical file would most assuredly be presented and I wasn’t withholding anything. It didn’t appear to matter as the assertion, combined with the fact of the mental health detention, appeared to be sufficient to have Justice Hurley deny the application and violate my Charter right to have the lawfulness of my detainment determined. As of yet this false pretense hasn’t been dealt with. I hope it comes up during the future habeas corpus hearing.

Hurley himself should have likely been recused from the matter. He was overseeing my original Charter application and had a lawyer appear before him a day earlier to pass along that I’d been detained under the Act and was unable to appear. To any reasonable person, this would create an apprehension of bias issue and he should have never presided over the habeas corpus in the first place. However, in the rush to get the matter before a judge that was never considered. Habeas corpus was a right guaranteed by the Charter. It never occurred to me that the courts themselves would deny a Charter right.

The final matter that bothered me about the habeas corpus application was the physical arrangement of the court. At the applicant, I was seated on the right side of the court with my legal assistant. I had no lawyers appearing on my side. On the other side of the courtroom we had Jamie Merrigan, as well as the screen used for teleconferencing. On this screen appeared both my lawyers, another lawyer for the hospital and my parents via telephone. So from the perspective of Justice Hurley, no arguments were coming from my side of the courtroom. Everything is coming from a single side. It seemed to me that this put me at a disadvantage in terms of how arguments are viewed and weighed by the judge. Jamie Merrigan was the only lawyer physically present in the room and he essentially instructed Justice Hurley to ignore the Charter issues at play and to defer to the expertise of the hospital. According to him, there was a scheme in place that could address this matter. This would be another misdirection on the part of Mr. Merrigan. While there was legislation that could allow review of my continued detention, there was no way to address the lawfulness of the detainment itself other than through the court. Habeas corpus was the most appropriate route. This has been made clear by the Court of Appeal, but two years after the original detainment.

At the writing of this post the matter has been remitted back to the Supreme Court for a full hearing. There is no date set as they don’t consider the matter pressing. I consider the matter very pressing. The detainment and defamation have had long term effects on my ability to do almost everything. My family has been broken into pieces. My business has been destroyed. My research has been halted. I’ve been harassed by other government agencies and told to specifically to stop speaking out about the issue online.

Where is the justice?

Where is the freedom of speech?

Where is the Charter?

At the end of the 4th day, I returned to the secure 4th floor ward of the Western Memorial Regional Hospital. My Charter rights had been deemed non-existent by the Supreme Court.


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