Sunday, April 08, 2018

Doug Ford will provide enhanced funding for TAVIS

Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford's speech on policing: if he becomes Premier of Ontario in June 2018 he will pump more money into The Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (TAVIS). Tavis was a unit that collected personal information on mostly Black and Brown males. It was feared and hated for criminalizing a community based on racial stereotypes.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2018

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination: Racial Minorities, particularly Blacks, have little to nothing to cheer about or celebrate.

Racial Profiling is rampant. We are still faces at the bottom of the well.

In Canada and the United States, racist rallies that were a thing of the past has publicly emerged and politics is moving to the far right.

Black kids are still profiled in school as requiring special education or having some form of exceptionality.

Black kids and their parents are increasingly stressed by Children Aid Societies and Black kids are more likely to be taken into care, sometimes for the least infractions or allegations.

Prisons are overpopulated with Black men who should be in Universities. The criminal justice system remains systemically racist.

Black men are in distress numbers are disproportionately arrested, charged, assaulted, seriously injured or killed by police in the United States, Ontario, Canada, Guyana, the United Kingdom,  and Trinidad. Extra-judicial killing by state agents that are troubling but justice for the victims remain illusory.

Whether its dressed as implicit bias, implicit racism, systemic racism, institutionalized racism or personal racism: it is racism.

Our justice system participants still don't get it on what is racial profiling.

Consumer racial profiling remains prevalent.

Black people are excluded in large numbers from corporate Canada's boardrooms and large law firms. One can still count the numbers because they are so low.

Discrimination in employment, whether it is in the public service or private sector remains the second highest grounds for applications under the Human Rights Code.

Access to justice remains illusory. On March 21, 2000, I wrote:

For those of us who are true, committed anti-racist, we must continue to fight against all of the evils of racism which evident within our society. We are not the first to fight this battle. We do not want the next generation to have to fight this battle again.
March 21 is a time for us to re-dedicate and re-commit ourselves to fight any and all social injustices that isn't beneficial to the society in which we were brought up [and in which some of us has adopted as our home].
Our continued fight has reinforced the meaning of moral courage, humility and integrity. We hope that the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario and the Ontario Human Rights Commission can learn the meaning of moral courage, humility and integrity from us.

The truth hurts but it must be told.

While I remain hopeful. I have little to celebrate in 2018.

March 21, 2018
Selwyn A. Pieters
Barrister, Solicitor & Notary Public
of the Bars of Guyana, Trinidad and Ontario.

Friday, February 02, 2018

Racism targets York University Osgoode Hall Law School

February 22, 2001
Courtesy of the Toronto Star

Racism targets York law school
Black students look for justice after hate letters
Nicholas Keung
Toronto police are investigating three incidents targeting black law students at York University in the past few weeks.
Some time between Feb. 8 and 10, a photo on the Black Law Students Association's bulletin board in the basement of York's Osgoode Hall Law School was defaced. The eye of one of the pictured women was poked with a pin.
Last Thursday and Monday, two black female law students received hate letters on campus with newspaper clippings attached about crimes involving people of colour and a message that said, ``It disgusts me to see you at Osgoode.''
Two hate crime investigators met with about 40 of the students - along with associate dean Shelley Gavigan and campus security officials - in a closed meeting yesterday to discuss the issues.
``This is a cowardly, despicable act,'' said Sue-Lynn Noel, president of the black students group and one of the women who received the letters.
``People are worried. We look around in our classes and the person sitting next to us could be the one who's responsible for it.''
Law student Selwyn Pieters agreed. ``It has certainly created a hostile and poisoned learning environment for me as well as others.''
Detective Constable Samuel Samm refused to reveal the evidence but said he believed the incidents were related and might have been committed by the same individual. No suspect has been identified.
``The letters were all hate propaganda, trying to demean and degrade the (black) community. Hate crime incidents against black people tend to heat up during the Black History Month,'' he said.
Police are trying to track down the source of the letters through postmarks and fingerprints on the two white business envelopes.
``We regret that these incidents happened,'' Gavigan said.
``We are a law school that has the most diverse student body. Diversity is our strength and these students are part of our excellence.''

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Closing arguments in Commission of Inquiry re plot to assassinate Guyana President David Granger

By Selwyn A. Pieters, B.A., LL.B., L.E.C.
Lawyer & Notary Public (Ontario, Canada)
Attorney-at-Law (Republic of Guyana, Island of Trinidad)
Posted on August  21, 2017
Updated November 06, 2017

The Commission of Inquiry to inquire into the persons, places, time, circumstances and events by and through which allegations and reports came to be made of an intention or a plan to assassinate the President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana has completed it hearing and the Report prepared by Paul E. Slowe was presented to the President of Guyana and made public.

Terms of Reference, Paul Slowe COI

The Commission of Inquiry had 12 sittings and concluded its public hearings on Friday August 18, 2017

Paul Slowe, Sole Commissioner
James A. Bond, was Commission Counsel
Ian N. Chang, S.C. and Brandan Glasford represented the Guyana Police Force
Glenn Hanoman represented Seelall Persaud, D.S.M.
Selwyn Pieters represented Travis Chase
Christopher Ram represented Imran Khan

Commission of Inquiry - Oral and Written Submissions

Written Argument Prepared by Selwyn Pieters on behalf of HGP Nightly News TV. Journalist Travis Chase

Written Argument of Ian N. Chang, S.C. Counsel for the Guyana Police Force submissions at the Paul Slowe COI

Written Reply Submission to Guyana Police Counsel Ian N. Chang Prepared by Selwyn Pieters on behalf of HGP Nightly News TV Journalist Travis Chase

McAteer v. Canada (Attorney General) 2014 CarswellOnt 10955, 2014 ONCA 578, 121 O.R. (3d) 1, 242 A.C.W.S. (3d) 772, 376 D.L.R. (4th) 258 (ONCA)

R. v. Peter Kemble (1990) 1 WLR 1111, [1990] 3 All E.R. 116 (H.L.)

R. v. Nasogaluak, [2010] 1 SCR 206, 2010 SCC 6, 315 DLR (4th) 193; 19 Alta LR (5th) 1; 474 AR 88; 251 CCC (3d) 293; 72 CR (6th) 1; 398 NR 107; AZ-50609170; [2010] CarswellAlta 268; EYB 2010-169818; JE 2010-403; [2010] SCJ No 6 (QL)

R. v. Neil, [2002] 3 SCR 631, 2002 SCC 70, 218 DLR (4th) 671; [2003] 2 WWR 591; 317 AR 73; 6 Alta LR (4th) 1; 168 CCC (3d) 321; 6 CR (6th) 1; 294 NR 201; [2002] CarswellAlta 1301; JE 2002-2002; [2002] SCJ No 72 (QL); 284 WAC 73; 55 WCB (2d) 36


David Ramnarine Evidence

Seelall Persaud Evidence

Wendell Blanhum Evidence

Mitchell Caesar Evidence

Andriff Gillard Evidence

Resources / Media

Bail was justified - Guyana Chronicle August 01, 2017

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Cross-examination of Seelall Persaud, the Commissioner of the Guyana Police Force, on note-taking

By Selwyn A. Pieters, B.A., LL.B., L.E.C.
Lawyer & Notary Public (Ontario, Canada)
Attorney-at-Law (Republic of Guyana, Island of Trinidad)
Created August 3, 2017

The Commission of Inquiry comprising Mr. Paul Slowe, DSM was issued on the 11th day of July, 2017, to-
1. inquire into the persons, places, time, circumstances and events by and through which allegations and reports came to be made of an intention or a plan to assassinate the President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana;
2. investigate and review the full range of the Guyana Police Force’s actions and responses to the reports and the extent to which such actions were conducted or executed with due diligence;
3. determine whether any person and, in particular, officers of the Guyana Police Force had information before and after reports were made of the plan to assassinate the President and whether any such officers communicated that information to a superior authority;
4. record and report on what official action was taken on the basis of the information received and whether there was due diligence by the officers of the Guyana Police Force in the investigation of the plan to assassinate the President;
5. review all actions taken by the Guyana Police Force and examine whether there was evidence failure, neglect or omission to thoroughly and properly investigate the intention or plan to assassinate the President and determine whether such failure or omission was intentional;
6. determine the blameworthiness for failure or neglect of officers or persons involved in the investigation and recommend action to be taken against persons found to be blameworthy;
7. recommend steps that can be taken in order to prevent the recurrence of such incident and can be deemed appropriate by the Commissioner; and 
8. identify systemic issues, if any, in the Guyana Police Force’s competence to investigate matters of this nature.

This is part of my Cross-examination of Seelall Persaud, the Commissioner of the Guyana Police Force, on note-taking and record keeping. Read and form your own opinion:

Mr. Pieters: I am Selwyn Pieters I represent the interest of a young reporter Mr. Travis Chase who is also in the Courtroom and I have some questions for you.
Mr. Persaud: Sure.
Mr. Pieters: Now Mr. Commissioner I understand that you were, sworn in as a Police Officer on October 15 1984.
Mr. Persaud: That is correct.
Mr. Pieters: And you are an internationally trained officer as well in terms of experience and education?
Mr. Persaud: That is correct.
Mr. Pieters: And that you went to Harvard University?
Mr. Persaud: That is correct.
Mr. Pieters: What did you do at Harvard University?
Mr. Persaud: A course executive education in National and International Security.
Mr. Pieters: And have you had training as well in other police organisations?
Mr. Persaud:Yes,  I did the FBI National Academy  at the FBI Academy in Virginia USA, and I did Senior Investigating in Officers Course by the Scottish Police I did several drug investigation course by many conducted by many countries around the world
Mr. Pieters: When did you become aware that Mr. Chase recorded an interview with Mr. Gillard?
Mr. Persaud: I heard about an interview being aired sometime maybe shortly after he

Mr. Pieters: When was that?
Mr. Persaud: I can't recall.
Mr. Pieters: Who advised you?
Mr. Persaud: I can't recall either.
Mr. Pieters: Yes, I appreciate that, but let me ask you this Mr. Commissioner do you have a pocket book?
Mr. Persaud: No.
Mr. Pieters: How do you record entries of issues that are brought to your attention by Officers?
Mr. Persaud: Its filtered if there is a need to record I do record.
Mr. Pieters: Right, well who records, if you don't take a contemporaneous recording which is what your job is as a policeman, you are a policeman regardless if you are a Commissioner or Constable, right?
Mr. Persaud: Yes.
Mr. Pieters: And you are supposed to take contemporaneous notes, aren't you?
Mr. Persaud: On matters that are investigating on matters of interest, yes.
Mr. Pieters: And matters that are brought to your attention in your office as a police officer isn't that the case?
Mr. Persaud: No it's not the case.
Mr. Pieters: Did you take any notes in respect to these matters touching in the assassination plot against the President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana?
Mr. Persaud: No I didn't.
Mr. Pieters: Why didn't you take notes?
Mr. Persaud: It was not necessary.
Mr. Pieters: I am going to suggest to you that it was.
Mr. Persaud: I am going to continue to say that it was not.
Mr. Pieters: I am going to suggest to you that it was neglect of duty for you not to take notes of an important issues such as this.
Mr. Persaud: I will totally deny that.
Mr. Pieters: Would you said that you know the date when you were advised that Mr. Chase did an interview with Gillard?
Mr. Persaud: No, it was of no interest to me.
Mr. Pieters: It was of no interest to you and we gone get to that.
Mr. Persaud: Yes
Mr. Pieters: Let me finish my question, that‟s the problem as a professional
policeman, you testified to the panel that you have no way of making contemporaneous
Mr. Persaud: That is true unless I find it necessary.
Mr. Pieters: Well let us deal with that.
Mr. Persaud: Yes.
Mr. Pieters: Contemporaneous notes is an aide-memoire... taking notes is an aide-memoire, it aids your memory, and it helps you…
Mr. Persaud:...I don't disagree with you…
Mr. Pieters: It is called an aide memoir, but it also assists you when you testify in
Mr. Persaud: But I didn‟t know that it would have been called to testify on this, had I known that then from day one I would have probably made notes.
Mr. Pieters:(inaudible)
Mr. Persaud: No, I make notes when it's necessary, I didn't find it necessary.
Mr. Pieters: But where is your is your memo book?
Mr. Persaud: I have a personal diary.
Mr. Pieters: Where is your personal diary?
Mr. Persaud: It‟s in the office.
Mr. Pieters: You came to court today, you don‟t think you should have brought it?
Mr. Persaud: No.
Mr. Pieters: If that is what you use to recollect your memory.
Mr. Persaud: I am saying that I didn't write anything in relation to this matter in the diary.
Mr. Pieters: You didn't write anything on this matter, so I will suggest this to you didn't write anything on this matter Mr. Persaud because you thought that all the officers would have covered up for you and exclude you from the whole sequence, that I why you didn't make notes.
Mr. Persaud: I totally deny that I don't know of any commissioner of Police that went to any court and gives evidence of any investigation that the police force conducted during his tenure as commissioner.
Mr. Pieters: That is what I suggest to you, and I will make some suggestions to you…
Mr. Pieters: And you ordered that Gillard be sent on bail as well.
Mr. Persaud: I never knew Gillard was arrested.
Mr. Pieters: You did know…
Mr. Persaud: Until this inquiry.
Mr. Pieters: Well that shows how in tune you are with the police force that you
Mr. Pieters: And when would you have briefed Mr. Ramnarine prior to your leave
in…I think it was the end of February you went on leave.
Mr. Persaud: It is normally done in the week before I proceeded.
Mr. Pieters: Would you have memoed him?
Mr. Persaud: Well no, there were oral briefs.
Mr. Pieters: They were oral briefs, there was no note taker taking notes?
Mr. Persaud: No.
Mr. Pieters: And were you taking notes during the meeting with what you said to
Mr. Persaud: No.
Mr. Pieters: And is Ramnarine taking notes of what you are saying to him?
Mr. Persaud: I don‟t know.
Mr. Pieters: Well you were at the meeting tell the panel.
Mr. Persaud: I did see him writing I don‟t know if he was taking notes or writing
something else, I never review.
Mr. Pieters: So the change over of command is quite an ad-hoc matter…

Monday, June 26, 2017

BADC Closing Arguments - Andrew Loku Inquest (notes)

By Selwyn A. Pieters, B.A., LL.B., L.E.C.
Lawyer & Notary Public (Ontario, Canada)
Attorney-at-Law (Republic of Guyana, Island of Trinidad)
Created June 26, 2017
I want to thank you, members of the jury for taking the time to be here for a case that is of great importance to our communities and taking time out of your lives to be the jury in this case.

Sir Robert Peel stated that "The police are the public and the public are the police." So that if we break this down in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-racial society it means that the police must have experientially interacted with citizens including Black men and women and persons with mental health exceptionalities."

"One of the Black Action Defence Committee (BADC) Directors reminded me at lunch today that we are on one ship so that if we sink you will too.

The Relationship between police and black community must be look at holistically. If relationship continues to be strained and steps aren’t taken to ameliorate that relationship, no one is safe in this city. Black lives matter. Our lives matters.

Constable Doyle testified that he had a Black partner but never had experience interacting with Black men. You heard the evidence of Professor Nicholas Rule where he spoke of the implicit bias and the shift of perception of Black men from "happy go lucky to Black men to being stereotyped as being angry and aggressive."

Implicit bias affects all of us. 35% of all fatal shootings, at least, are black men. This has led to a fear of the police in our communities. So our fear of police is not irrational. There is disparity in policing and how we are policed. That goes to recommendation with respect to compiling of statistics. We want official statistics. We want use of Force form to be amended to document race of person, and mental health issues. Race, gender, ethnicity of anyone killed or seriously hurt. Dr. Rule spoke of being collect and analyze data on implicit bias of individual officers from recruitment to advancement through the service. He also speak of tracking this data on a systemic level. Dr. Kwame McKenzie also spoke of the important of statistics in respect to the institutional racism including the use of force. So for both experts the collection of statistics are important.

We all worked collaboratively to come up with slate. Also join recommendations of Across Boundaries, that speak about intersectionality of mental health and anti-black racism. Some people would want you to believe that racism has nothing to do with this case. Race and mental health is at the core of what this case is about. We are not taking colour blind approach to this case. Race has something to do with it. That’s why this room was filled when Constable Doyle testified. Our community wanted to hear from him. W e are disappointed that the officers said they wouldn’t change anything they did in that same situation.

We have had inquests before where jury recommended tasers. You have seen the evidence that each Toronto Police officer has a gun, three magazines of ammo (15 rounds each). We're arming them for war, not peace.

You job is very important and I echo what Mr. Morton said, it is the most important thing you will do to make recommendations to governments, agencies and the police sop that lives are saved, deaths are prevented.

See also Dr. Carlise ruling on racism