June 22, 2011
The Honourable Mr. Chris Bentley, Minister of the Attorney General
720 Bay Street, 11th Floor
Dear Honourable Chris Bentley
RE: Request for mistrial as a result of obstruction of Justice by Madame Justice F. McWatt and the altering of official court transcripts to obstruct an appeal.
I would like to request that the Attorney General conduct an immediate investigation into the handling of my criminal court matter and that a mistrial be declared in my matter. My criminal court matter was held at the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto, Ontario, before Madame Justice F. McWatt between April 5, 2011 to April 12, 2011. The reason why I am asking for a mistrial is for the following reasons:
- During my trial, Madame Justice McWatt referred to me as “Mr. Guilty” when addressing the jury. It was clear that the judge was labeling me as guilty before the jury.
- During my trial and her charge to the jury, Madame Justice McWatt made a number of statements to the jury which clearly were biased and were inaccurate reflections of testimony given previously in the court by witnesses.
- The court transcripts have been significantly altered to remove statements which would give grounds for an appeal or mistrial.
- The court failed to provide me with transcripts suitable for an appeal, even though I specifically asked that transcripts for an appeal be provided.
I went into my criminal trial knowing that I was innocent of the charges and believing that the Canadian justice system would serve me fairly and justly. Unfortunately, I was found guilty as a result of many blatant errors made by Madame Justice McWatt. On April 14, 2011, just two days after my trial, I ordered transcripts for the purpose of an appeal. I had to pay the court reporter almost $2000. The transcripts were eventually obtained June 2, 2011.
When I finally got my transcripts I was shocked to find the following:
- 1) In spite of ordering transcripts for the purpose of an appeal, I was given transcripts which were written in a format that could not be used for an appeal.
- 2) The court reporter did not even put the date the transcripts were released or signed by her.
- 3) The court transcripts are significantly inaccurate. Statements made in the court by Madame Justice McWatt are missing and other statements made by the judge and witnesses altered in a manner which would lessen the ability to appeal the court’s decision.
- After seeing how the official court transcripts have been “fixed” in my case which appear to me to prevent any kind of an appeal, I am shocked at how justice has been perverted by those in positions of power and authority in the justice system.
I do believe that the original and unaltered audio recordings of my trial will show that the official transcripts have been altered and that a thorough investigation will show that Madame Justice McWatt had the court reporter alter the transcripts to sabotage any chance of appeal. As one example, Justice McWatt referred to me as “Mr. Guilty” but this does not appear on the official transcripts. I believe that the sections of the transcripts which have been removed and/or altered would clearly support an appeal or a mistrial. Portion of my testimony and the testimony of others has been removed or significantly altered. I know what I heard in court and I know without any doubt that the official transcripts given to me have been altered. There were witnesses in the court as well who will testify that the court transcripts which I
have been given by court staff are not an accurate account of what was stated in the court.
I have read a number of similar stories about court transcripts being altered in other courts. One case I found which made headlines involved a senior judge, Justice Zuker of the court on Sheppard Avenue in Toronto. Justice Zuker was found to have altered official court transcripts to avoid an appeal. I can understand that judges do not want the public to learn about their behaviors in court and how they may pervert justice. I have also been told by court staff that the judges get to approve court transcripts before they are released. The justice system should have checks and balances to prevent judges from fixing official court transcripts. There should be no reason for judges to have access to court reporters for the purpose of fixing transcripts before they are released. My lawyer has advised me that the fixing of court transcripts is considered as an obstruction of justice and should be treated as a criminal matter.
I have taken the step of writing to you because if this wrongful conviction is allowed to stand, I will permanently lose my job and my ability to support my wife and child will be taken away. Up until this incident, I have had no criminal record and this false conviction will completely destroy me. I had $50 in my pocket and the system has made me look like I was some evil drug dealer. Tens of thousands of dollars have been spent not on seeking justice in my case, but to ensure that a guilty conviction sticks in spite of the evidence before the court. I can now understand how innocent people get thrown into
prison by over-zealous Crown attorneys and judges who make the assumption of guilt before innocence and then fix up transcripts to cover up their acts to obstruct justice.
One day at the court during my trial, one court staff member shouted down the halls within an earshot of the jury while they were deliberating. This particular individual was screaming, “What is taking the Jury so long to decide on a lousy $50? This is the most stupid case I have ever heard. All this for $50? For two days they are deliberating
for $50?”. Just as this court employee pointed out, my case is ridiculous and persons at the court have taken steps to alter the transcripts in order to cover up their wrongdoings. During my trial, the dealer testified in court and stated that he was the dealer who was
selling the drugs to me. He came forth as he did not want to see my family destroyed over something he was responsible for. In spite of his known record of drug use, Justice McWatt told the jury not to believe him as everyone wanted the charges to stick.
Attached to this letter I have attached a brief summary of events which led up to my arrest. While I fully admit that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and my intent to purchase drugs for personal use at the time was wrong on my part, the courts should not be engaging in tactics like the fixing of official transcripts in order to cover up the wrongdoings of a judge and to ensure a conviction against an innocent person. This is terribly wrong and unjust.
I have taken steps to deal with my personal drug abuse problem and have voluntarily sought help with CAM H where I am going through their substance abuse programs. My wife and family members are supportive. However, the loss of my good job as the result of this wrongful conviction will literally destroy my family and seriously affect the long term opportunities for my 8 month old child. While I have made a mistake in using drugs, the justice system should not be out to destroy innocent people by fabricating charges and then fixing transcripts to obstruct justice for those accused as has been done in my case.
I would consider my complaint settled should a mistrial be granted. I simply want to get back to work and to get on with supporting my family. I am innocent of the charges and I know that the court transcripts have been fixed to prevent an appeal.
If a mistrial cannot be granted, then I would ask that I be allowed to obtain a copy of the audio recordings from the court during my trial. If the audio recordings appear to be altered, then I would ask that a forensic examination of the tapes be conducted by an independent expert to determine if the recordings have been altered. Possibly the RCMP should be called in to investigate this matter. I have heard of
stories where electronic recordings from courts in Ontario have been altered in the past.
Based on my research I am not the first to complain about the fixing of transcripts at the courts and the obstruction of justice by judges by preventing people from exercising their rights under the Courts of Justice Act to record their own hearing.
As my contribution to improve the administration of justice and to eliminate complaints such as mine, I make the following suggestions:
1) Preparation of transcripts should be done without the involvement of judges. Any influential testimony whether valid or invalid should and must be documented accurately without the coercion or influence of the judge. Even if there are grammar mistakes we don’t need judges to fix these mistakes at their high salaries. The integrity of the transcripts must be upheld and all opportunities to judicial tampering removed through effective procedures.
2) The courts should clearly notify and encourage participants to audio record their court proceedings as is allowed under Section 136(2)(b) of the Courts of Justice Act. Currently the courts misinform citizens with signs on the court doors saying that recording is not allowed.
3) The courts should make available audio copies immediately at the end of each hearing each day and to provide a audio recording on CD to parties immediately. I have been told by others that the practice of giving audio recording to parties shortly after the court is done in Quebec. The solutions as I have listed above will save money and boost confidence in the administration of justice at our courts. Your response in writing would be most appreciated.
Prinze Wilson (Wrongfully convicted)
Tel: (416) 671-3277
Attachment: Background to the laying of criminal charges (1 page)
Attachment: Background to the laying of criminal charges
On November 30, 2009 at about 8:15 pm, I attempted to purchase some illegal drugs for personal use which would have been worth about $40 on the street. I had $50 on my person at the time. This amount was supported by testimony from police in my trial in April. Up until this incident I had no criminal record, held a good job and was supporting a wife and child. I do admit that what I was doing was wrong. I have been misusing drugs for a number of years but not to the point of affecting my job or family.
Unfortunately, I was not aware that the building where I had gone to purchase drugs in a stairway was under surveillance by the Metro Toronto Police. The dealer who was selling me the drugs had me meet in a public stairwell in an apartment building. Shortly after I arrived and was about to make my purchase, a person who was on guard for the dealer shouted out that police were spotted approaching the building. The dealer threw his small stash of drugs down the stairwell and fled. The dealer was familiar with the area and has his escape planned while
I just stayed there stunned and not knowing what to do next. Police came through the stairwell door and only seeing me, immediately assaulted me and took me down. I suffered injuries and had to go the hospital to be treated for injuries. Police found the drugs in the stairway and found $50 on my person which I had brought with
me to make the purchase. The drug dealer was not a hard core criminal but just a small time dealer trying to survive himself. The drugs which he left behind in the stairwell which the police found amounted to about $350 street value although this amount was exaggerated to a much higher amount by the judge.
After police has assaulted me and began to interrogate me, the police told me to either tell them who the dealer was or that they would charge me with possession for the purpose of trafficking because drugs were found close to me and I had $50 in my possession. I did not want to be labeled as a “rat” for police by people in the community
so I declined to provide the information. Because I would not disclose to police what I knew about the dealer, police charged me with possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking as a result of the $50 and the fact that the drugs were found in proximity to where police had found me.
CORRESPONDENCE REFERENCE NO.: M11-04145
July 6, 2011
Mr. Prinze Wilson
Dear Mr. Wilson:
Thank you for your letter dated June 22, 2011 to the Honourable Chris Bentley, Attorney General for Ontario, informing of your concerns with respect to a trial matter heard at the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto. The Attorney General has requested that I respond to you on his behalf.
Please be advised that the Ministry of the Attorney General does not have the authority to comment on or intervene in any court proceedings, including matters that are or were before the courts.
One of the fundamental principles of our justice system is that the judiciary must be free to make decisions in court without any control or influence exerted by government or any other outside the judicial system.
Complaints regarding the conduct of federally appointed judges may be forwarded in to Canadian Judicial Council. The Canadian Judicial Council is an agency that is independent of the government and is established under the Courts of Justice Act to investigate complaints of misconduct made about federally appointed judges. Please note that the Council does not have power to interfere with or change a judge’s decision on a matter. Only an appeal court can change a judge’s decision.
Should you wish to launch a formal complaint with the Canadian Judicial Council please consult Canadian Judicial Council website to obtain information on their Complaint Procedure.
You may also wish to consult a lawyer, who would be able to give you appropriate legal advice in your circumstances. If you do not have a lawyer, you may contact the Lawyer Referral Service operated by the Law Society of Upper Canada. The Lawyer Referral Service will provide you with the name of a lawyer who practices in the relevant legal area and is situated at a location near you. That lawyer will provide a half-hour free consultation. For more information about this service, please contact the Law Society of Upper Canada at 1-800-268-8326.
If you cannot afford a lawyer you may wish to contact Legal Aid Ontario to discuss your eligibility to receive assistance. The staff at the legal aid office will go through the application with you to find out if you qualify for legal aid. For information on the Legal Aid Ontario office closest to where you live please contact Legal Aid Ontario directly by telephone at 416-979-1446.
With respect to your concerns regarding the altering of transcripts, please be advised that the completion of transcripts is a matter between the court reporter and the requesting party. Ms. Anne Olah, Manager of Court Reporters at the Superior Court of Justice located at 361 University Avenue, has advised that the transcripts provided to you on June 2, 2011 are certified true copies of the original court proceedings. Ms. Olah has also confirmed that the transcript order form which you completed on April 4, 2011 did not indicate that the transcript was for appeal purposes.
A court order is required to access the court audiotape. You may also wish to consult a lawyer to obtain the best possible advice to assist you in obtaining a court order.
Thank you again for writing.
A/Director, Court Operations
Court Services Division
c.c. Pat McKinnon, Manager, Court Operations
Anne Olah, Manager, Court Reporter