Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Taman stream of consciousness (10) part two

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Bob McDonald, the lawyer for the RM of East St. Paul and its police force, has been engaged in some tough sledding as he tries to defend the officers who remain in the employ of the RM. Those include current Chief Norm Carter and Const. Jason Woychuk. Both played key roles in the botched investigation of the Taman collision and both tried to adop the posture of whistle-blowers in their testimony before the inquiry.It was Carter who came up with the concerns that sparked a 2006 RCMP criminal investigation of former chief Harry Bakema. Woychuk came forward to admit he had changed his notes from the accident scene at the bequest of Bakema. McDonald tried valiantly to portray his clients as men who, despite having made mistakes they owned up to, were the sources of evidence that helped expose the horrible handling of the original investigation.McDonald's efforts to rehabilitate the repuations of Carter and Woychuk are stoic, but it's a real uphill battle. Evidence at the inquiry has put both Woychuk and Carter in a bad light. Despite their efforts to expose what they believe was Bakema's wrongdoing, they came across as weak and possibly self-serving. As evidence of the difficulty of McDonald's task, he was several times taken to task by an angry and somewhat frustrated Commissioner Roger Salhany.Here's a rule of thumb for lawyers aspiring to appear before a commission of inquiry: When the commissioner feels cause to bark at you in an angry tone, you should reconsider your tack.More tomorrow.-30-

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About Dan Lett

Dan Lett came to Winnipeg in 1986, less than a year out of journalism school.

Despite the fact that he’s originally from Toronto and has a fatal attraction to the Maple Leafs, Winnipeggers let him stay.

In the following years, he has worked at bureaus covering every level of government – from city hall to the national bureau in Ottawa.

He has had bricks thrown at him in riots following the 1995 Quebec referendum, wrote stories that helped in part to free three wrongly convicted men, met Fidel Castro, interviewed three Philippine presidents, crossed several borders in Africa illegally, chased Somali pirates in a Canadian warship and had several guns pointed at him.

In other words, he’s had every experience a journalist could even hope for. He has also been fortunate enough to be a two-time nominee for a National Newspaper Award, winning in 2003 for investigations.

Other awards include the B’Nai Brith National Human Rights Media Award and nominee for the Michener Award for Meritorious Public Service in Journalism.

Now firmly rooted in Winnipeg, Dan visits Toronto often but no longer pines to live there.

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