Friday March 13 - Guilty they say ... not to my satisfaction he's not, he was railroaded.
Update Friday March 6, 2009:Jurors can expect to hear final arguments Monday in the case of a Spiritwood, Sask., man charged in the killing of two RCMP officers. ... Friday, jurors were given the day off, but the six-man, six-woman jury could begin deliberations as soon as next Tuesday. (from CBC News)
A domestic dispute spirals out of control and two young people die. A tragedy, and grief stands out in front of all of the quibbling and talking and opinions. A son grows up without his father, every parent grieves.
This is another case that I have posted on before: Taylor & Thomas Hardy & Spiritwood Saskatchewan, June 2008, and Curt Dagenais - Spiritwood, July 2006.
The trial finally begins, before Judge Gerald Allbright. It has been moved from North Battleford as requested by Bill Roe, Dagenais' lawyer (who, so far, seems to be one of the two adults involved). There is a lot of emotion in play - I would bet that this will be the RCMP strategy, let the emotion carry the day and the incompetent details will be ignored and forgotten.
Robin Cameron smashed the guy's window before the chase even began - was she possibly a bit of a bully? And she was instructed by her commander, Rob Clarke, also a native Canadian, not to do the chase at all, 'let Dagenais cool off' he says. This instruction she ignored. Rob Clarke looks to have been the only adult on the scene that day - or since, but maybe there are two now counting Bill Roe.
The chase ends with Dagenais' truck t-boned on the passenger side by the Mounties. There are bullets in Dagenais' truck - that's to say he was obviously shot at. He looks to be claiming self-defence. I guess if they smash your window, shoot at you, and ram your truck you might feel a bit threatened?
And I wonder about the Spiritwood RCMP post - seems it was mostly women? I know you are not allowed to say that ... but there it is.
The RCMP evidence expert, Ken Palen, has thrown away the video tapes from the police cars. In one report they are 'blank' and in another they are 'not of interest' - now we will never know. The throwing away was done on instructions from an as yet unnamed senior RCMP officer.
The Mounties took 30 minutes to reconnoitre and get to the scene of the shooting? This seems like a long time to me. Did they not know where it was? If I were a Mountie out on the wide prairie I would pass a few hours familiarizing myself with the region under my care and control. Makes me wonder if they were afraid to go there and meet the shooter? Even though they knew their comrades, that they are weeping for now, were lying in the darkness dying.
Art Dagenais, the father spends some months in jail until he comes before Judge Marty Irwin who aquits the 'obstructing Police Officers' charge. But they don't give Art back his stuff, including a whack of cash, 27 grand in a tool-box. Well, I guess it is not against the law to keep cash in tool-boxes is it? Looks like they are on Art Dagenais' ass alright. And the sweet young 'Executive Producer' thing at the local radio station CKOM, Tammy Robert, refuses to even talk to him, he smells bad apparently and has nothing to say that would interest her elevated tastes for news (I guess).
I was talking with a friend about what to do the next time one of us meets a Mountie. He said, well, if it's a woman you just don't move a muscle because she is afraid of you and anything could happen. If it's a big ol' farm boy from Saskatchewan you can relax, but just a little.
Ahenakew, Dagenais & Twisted Determination, Tammy Robert, February 23rd, 2009.
I've got bitter, hateful old men on the brain today. As if Mondays aren't bad enough.
David Ahenakew is an ignorant, irrelevant racist, but I just can't get overly charged up over his acquittal - not because I think he deserved the not-guilty verdict, but because I'm out of emotions to waste on him. Regarding Ahenakew's comments (defending Hitler "trying to clean up the world" when he "fried" six million Jews) on that night seven years ago, his defence lawyer Doug Christie said, "We can all have opinions. It's better that we tolerate diverse and sometimes bad opinions than (that) we take them to court and prosecute them. People make mistakes when they speak". While I agree with that notion in principal, Ahenakew crossed a line. Don't ask me to draw you a map detailing where that line is in general, but it existed under no uncertain terms that night, and Ahenakew ended up on the wrong side of it.
Further, despite the firestorm surrounding his original comments, Ahenakew was still blathering on in court three months ago about how he blamed the Jews for the Second World War. Ahenakew boasts publicly that he's "too damn old to change", so in respect to him remaining stripped of his Order of Canada, let's hope that is a no-brainer.
As for the FSIN and Ahenakew's Senator/Not Senator/Senator/Not Senator flip-flop, time will only tell what Ahenakew's acquittal will mean to that scenario, but here's a quote to consider from the FSIN website regarding Senator appointments:
"As Senators, we constitute more than a chamber of sober second thought. We have been appointed to represent our First Nation people and provide the necessary input into structures that differs from the input required by elected leaders. Our living understanding and respect for the relationship between our inherent rights, Treaties and First Nations people allows us to assert our knowledge and wisdom." (emphasis mine)
The second mean-old-man I'm thinking about today is the one and only Art Dagenais - father to Curt Dagenais, who is accused of killing two Mounties on a back road near Spiritwood, SK in the summer of 2006.
Waving a handful of filthy documents, Art Dagenais turned up at the Saskatoon CKOM station last spring and demanded that the receptionist call me downstairs for a meeting, so he could give the Gormley show the "story of the year". He wasn't going away and Gormley was out, so I dragged a news reporter with me and went down to see what exactly the "story" was.
Smelling like he was rotting from the inside out (I have never been in the presence of anyone so dirty in my life), Dagenais started spewing anti-RCMP rhetoric and conspiracy theories before we could even sit down. Painting Curt as the desperate victim of RCMP bullying and comparing him to "that poor fellow" (Dagenais' words, not mine) - Mayerthorpe RCMP killer James Rozscko - Art came across as a vindictive man obsessed with conspiracy theories. I almost - almost but not quite - felt myself pitying Curt Dagenais, because if he has spent his whole life with his head stuffed full of the vile nonsense Art was doing his best to pump me full of in ten minutes, he never really had a chance. Then again, neither have a lot of people, and they don't go allegedly gunning down two people.
As for Art's "story", I'm not going to get into it, as I had to spend far too much time myself with the RCMP after the meeting with Art - who shouldn't have had the documents in the first place. Let's just say it was never more than another conspiracy theory stemming from Art's fatherly but twisted determination to portray Curt Dagenais as a misunderstood victim, which I'm certain we'll see more of as this trial plays out. I just hope that seven years from now, we're not still debating the verdict.
Tammy Robert is the Executive Producer of 'The ,,, blah blah blah ...
Dagenais trial hears of 'hellish ride' to aid wounded constables, Betty Ann Adam, Friday, February 27, 2009.
An RCMP officer testifying in the murder trial of Curtis Dagenais described "a hellish ride" as he and fellow officers removed two wounded constables from the scene of a fatal 2006 shootout.
Const. Jason Teniuk said Thursday in Court of Queen's Bench he was one of 10 or 12 RCMP officers who went in three trucks to rescue constables Marc Bourdages and Robin Cameron from a remote rural site where they had been shot.
They followed directions given earlier by Const. Michelle Knopp, who had also been shot and managed to drive to safety.
Teniuk and another officer were given the responsibility of removing Bourdages from the scene.
Teniuk saw the extended-cab truck driven by Bourdages smashed against Dagenais' empty truck, but it took a few moments to find the officer lying in the grass. It was dark outside, Teniuk testified, and the only light came from the police vehicles that had just arrived on the scene.
"He'd vomited. I could tell he was still alive," Teniuk said of Bourdages.
He knew Bourdages was wounded and tried to move him.
"I looked all over for holes," Teniuk said.
Sobs could be heard throughout the courtroom as Teniuk described discovering a massive head wound on Bourdages.
After Teniuk and other officers loaded Bourdages into the truck box of the waiting vehicle, Teniuk held the heavily bleeding Bourdages in his lap.
"I had him sitting on me. I'm trying to comfort him. He's bleeding heavily. I can tell he's still alive," said Teniuk.
"It was a hellish ride."
RCMP had to navigate a bumpy, boggy trail back to a grid road and from there, about two kilometres to Highway 3, where ambulances and other officers were assembling.
Curtis Dagenais is facing two charges of first-degree murder. Bourdages, 26, and Cameron, 29, died in hospital a week after the July 7, 2006, shooting, which occurred near Dagenais' father's farm south of the village of Mildred.
Dagenais, 44, is also charged with one count of attempted murder in the shooting of Knopp, who suffered several wounds from bullet fragments.
Earlier Thursday, court heard that prior to a police pursuit of Dagenais' truck, officers had been told to let Dagenais go home and cool off after they were called to a family dispute in Spiritwood.
Minutes later, Cameron smashed Dagenais' truck window and the pursuit began, court heard.
Sgt. Barry Ralph Thomas recalled carrying Cameron from the scene of the shooting. He said he saw her slumped in the passenger seat of the police truck that was smashed into the side of Dagenais' truck.
"There was obvious signs she'd been shot in the head," he said.
Cameron was unresponsive but Thomas saw movement in her hand. He said he noticed Cameron's pistol was missing from its holster.
Teniuk, who responded from the Shellbrook detachment 60 kilometres away, was the first officer on the scene.
He recalled listening on his radio while the other three officers were talking. He said he could hear the chase unfold and heard Knopp say she and the other officers were shot.
As Teniuk raced to help, Knopp told him she was heading to a grid intersection roughly one kilometre from the scene of the shooting -- a spot between Highway 3 and the shooting site -- so Teniuk could more easily locate her.
When he arrived, he helped a wounded Knopp out of her SUV. She was crying, with her face in her hands, and initially fought Teniuk off.
"She's obviously in shock. She doesn't know who I am. I said, 'Michelle, it's me, Jason,' " Teniuk recalled.
Teniuk said he didn't know if the shooter was in the vicinity and quickly moved Knopp to his vehicle.
Knopp's concern was for Cameron and Bourdages.
"We have to go back. We have to save them," Teniuk recalled her saying.
An ambulance and other officers met them at Highway 3.
"Cars were coming from everywhere. Everything was confusion," Teniuk said.
Roughly 30 minutes later, a "tactically sound" plan had been formed to recover Bourdages and Cameron. Each officer was assigned a specific duty and they drove to the scene in three RCMP trucks. Teniuk was assigned to be the medic who would recover Bourdages and someone else would be with him. Two others were assigned to get Cameron.
"Others would form a barrier to protect us so we could do what we needed to do," he said.
The jury also heard from Clinton and Heather Mann, a Martensville couple who witnessed the police chase earlier that night. The Manns were travelling on Highway 3 when they saw emergency lights behind them and pulled over to let the vehicles pass. Clinton Mann said he saw one of the police vehicles driving beside Dagenais' truck in the oncoming traffic lane. The other RCMP vehicle was behind the truck.
On the winding road, the Manns sometimes lost sight of the chase but as they approached the intersection near Mildred, they could see the cars heading south along a grid road, driving in a ditch. The vehicles were back on the road when he lost sight of them for good.
"The RCMP were hell-bent for leather and going after that truck. Is that right?" defence lawyer Bill Roe asked Clinton Mann.
"Pretty much," he responded.
Minutes before the pursuit began, Knopp had been told by her superior to let Dagenais go home and cool off, the jury heard.
Robert Clarke, who was the sergeant in charge of the Spiritwood detachment, and is now the member of Parliament for northern Saskatchewan, testified Thursday he was policing a music festival about 50 kilometres away when he received a call from Knopp.
Clarke said Knopp told him she had had a confrontation with Dagenais, who had come to the detachment upset because of his parents' divorce and wanting police to remove people from a house.
Dagenais had left the detachment and his mother, Elsie Jaster, and sister, Grace Small, had arrived and were filing an assault complaint with Cameron while Knopp talked to Clarke.
"I instructed her to let Mr. Dagenais go home and follow up after Mr. Dagenais cooled off. She could give him a summons later," Clarke said.
In cross-examination, Clarke said the RCMP is a paramilitary organization in which members obey the orders of superior officers.
As Clarke drove back to Spiritwood, he heard on the police radio that a pursuit had begun.
The Regina operations centre opened up the police radio channel so all officers in the area could hear and respond to the two vehicles involved in the pursuit. All the transmissions were recorded.
Once in radio contact with the constables, Clarke was the senior officer in charge, he said.
He said he didn't call off the pursuit because the situation had changed after Dagenais allegedly tried to run over Cameron.
The side mirror of Dagenais' truck may have hit Cameron's left arm as she stood beside his window and he backed up, another witness testified Thursday.
Dagenais backed the truck up after Cameron smashed Dagenais' driver side window with an object held in her left hand, said Nicole Hanson, who watched from the deck of a nearby restaurant.
A police vehicle was stopped in front of Dagenais' truck, which was parked on an angle facing the street. After backing onto the sidewalk and brushing Cameron's arm, Dagenais drove north on Main Street. Two police vehicles followed, court heard.
Clarke also said he didn't think public safety was an issue because speeds during the pursuit never exceeded 90 km/h.
Outside court, he said hearing an officer has been shot is "a call you never want to get."
Clarke and Cameron were distant cousins, he said.