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Cleaning out the notebook

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Confession time: I’ve been a bad, bad blogger.

I suspect (hope???) many of you have clicked on this page, expecting (hoping???) to see something new, only to be disappointed that it’s the same old post from ages ago. Meanwhile, my partner-in-crime, James Turner, is putting me to shame by dazzling you on an almost daily basis with his insight from the justice beat, including THIS incredible piece earlier this week.

Well, folks, that’s about to change. I’m determined to start putting the "time" back in Mikeoncrime, effective now!

So let’s get things rolling today with some legal odds and ends that are filling up space in my notebook, and my head.

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Plenty of courthouse reaction to this week’s launch of the "Cameras in court" pilot project, which went off without a hitch on Wednesday. Senior justice officials were apparently thrilled at the numbers, which included more than 2,000 unique viewers just on the Free Press live stream alone.

I give my thoughts on the overall presentation, the reaction and where I think things are headed in a column published in Thursday’s paper, which you can view HERE. If for no other reason, read it to see how I incorporated a famous television sound effect into my lead paragraph!

Not everyone around the Law Courts is smiling, however. I’m hearing from sources that there are more than a few Manitoba judges who are lukewarm to the idea, at best. But it’s clearly going ahead, whether they like it or not.

Meanwhile, the best line of the week came from a local defence lawyer I chatted with briefly in the halls of the Law Courts Wednesday. He figures Manitoba justice may as well try to make some money of this concept and proposed selling advertising for the robes judges and lawyers wear in court.

He was joking, of course. But it would be quite the spectacle if judicial attire started resembling that of European hockey sweaters such as THESE, wouldn’t it?

***

A couple updates from this week on fairly high-profile cases in the news.

Remember the strange tale of the Manitoba woman accused of a bizarre, extortion-scam that targeted a prolific NBA player, among many other U.S-based victims? (Previous story HERE)

Well, Shelly Lynn Chartier made her latest court appearance on Wednesday in Easterville. Nothing of substance happened, and the case was adjourned until May 14. Chartier remains free on bail. Remember, the wheels of justice move verrrrrrry slowly, especially in a complicated, cross-border case such as this one.

Meanwhile, the bizarre trial of a Manitoba RCMP officer accused of uttering death threats against a fellow Mountie was back on the docket Wednesday morning. Crown and defence lawyers made closing arguments. (Previous story HERE)

As expected, defence lawyer Bruce Bonney says his client was just blowing off steam, didn’t really mean what he typed and shouldn’t be found guilty, especially since the so-called threats weren’t even sent to the alleged victim. The Crown, of course, takes a much different view and argued this meets the criteria of a threat under the Criminal Code.

The judge in the case has reserved a verdict until later this spring, with no specific date set for announcement. It's a pretty unique set of facts, and I'm curious to see how it plays out. Stay tuned.

***

Must say I’m personally thrilled for Cliff and Wilma Derksen, whose long-time vision of a "safe house" for victims of crime is finally coming to fruition.

My colleague, Dan Lett, wrote extensively about it Thursday, which you can read HERE. Having spent nearly every working day down at the Law Courts since 1999, I can vouch for the fact that is a long-overdue resource.

As many of you know, the Derksen’s hold a special place in my heart. I wrote about the awful abduction and murder of their 13-year-old daughter in my most-recent true crime book, "Journey For Justice: How Project Angel Cracked The Candace Derksen Case", which was published in 2011.

Seemingly every time I chat with Cliff, Wilma and their extended family and network of friends, I come away more impressed than ever. They are truly incredible people, among the most courageous and stoic I’ve ever met. They’ve had to face down the worst society has to offer, yet continue to work tirelessly towards making this community a better place.

And now their dream is about to become a reality.

***

And speaking of books.

I often get asked if/when I’m going to write another one.

Well, I can finally provide an answer.

Mike On Crime: True Tales Of Law & Disorder is set for release later this fall. Once again, it will be published by the fine folks at Great Plains Publications.

This one will be a bit different from my previous five true crime books. Rather than focus on just one story, I’m putting together a collection of shorter pieces on some of the most notorious, memorable cases I’ve covered during a career that began in 1995.

It’s been quite the trip down memory lane going through thousands of bylines over nearly 20 years, but I’ve come up with a list of a dozen cases which will be featured in the paperbook book.

More details about the content, release date, signings, etc, will be available down the road.

***

Got a question? News tip? Story idea? Email me direct at mike.mcintyre@freepress.mb.ca. 

And if you're not already doing so, don't forget to follow me at www.twitter.com/mikeoncrime 

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About Mike McIntyre

Journalist, national radio show host, author, pundit and cruise director ... Mike McIntyre loves to keep busy.

Mike is the justice reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press, where he has worked since 1997. He produces and hosts the weekly talk radio show Crime and Punishment, which runs on the Corus Radio Network in several Canadian cities.

Born and bred in Winnipeg, Mike graduated from River East Collegiate and completed his journalism studies in the Creative Communications program at Red River College.

He and his wife, Chassity, have two children.

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