Mike on Crime
with Mike McIntyre
- HERE to see the minute-long video)Ultimately, the search ended without any sign of Catcheway.And so the mystery continues.Anyone with information about Catcheway’s whereabouts is asked to contact Portage la Prairie RCMP at 204-857-4445 or Manitoba Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (where you can remain anonymous if you wish)Here are some pictures of the search that I took:
- bombshells continue to be dropped at the ongoing Crystal Taman inquiry - and new revelations emerge about the handling of killer driver/Winnipeg cop Derek Harvey-Zenk - I can't help but think back to last fall when the controversy was just beginning.Marty Minuk, the local defence lawyer retained by the province to prosecute Harvey-Zenk, was up in arms over a series of Free Press stories exposing several serious questions and issues surrounding the case.So, too, was Harvey-Zenk's lawyer Richard Wolson, who seemingly thought we were making a mountain out of a mole hill and that Provincial court Judge Ray Wyant ought to just rubber-stamp the plea bargain that he'd been presented with.To recap, here's what I wrote in my blog entry, dated September 13:I learned a long time ago not to simply look at complex legal issues in black and white. Quite often, I’ve found, there are many complicated shades of grey.But yellow? Well, I hadn’t thought much of the colour - at least not until a Winnipeg lawyer accused me Wednesday of “yellow journalism”.That’s an inside term that refers to sensational, perhaps unethical and certainly irresponsible work on behalf of a reporter.And it’s not an allegation I take lightly. Or appreciate, for that matter - especially when it’s made on the public record in a courtroom filled with more than 100 people.Yet Marty Minuk - a private lawyer I have all the respect in the world for who was hired by the Manitoba justice department to prosecute a Winnipeg police officer - decided to colour my reputation with a baseless cheap shot.A little background…Minuk, along with defence lawyer Richard Wolson, were figuratively called to the principal’s office Wednesday morning to justify the highly controversial plea bargain they have pitched for Derek Harvey-Zenk.The former Winnipeg cop, you’ll recall, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death for the February 2005 crash that killed Crystal Taman, a 40-year-old mother of three.Despite the fact Harvey-Zenk admitted he was out drinking and partying in the hours preceding the crash - and then refused a police demand for a breathalyser - all alcohol charges were dropped by Minuk.Without even the slightest explanation to the victim’s family, the court or the public.So when it became apparent that Chief provincial court Judge Ray Wyant was having great difficultly with the suggested conditional sentence, Minuk and Wolson were summoned back to court for further submissionsBut in the few weeks which passed since the initial sentencing hearing, people have started asking questions. Especially the victim’s family, who are certainly entitled to better treatment then they’ve received.So myself, along with some other reporters, started digging around. Some people started talking. And some answers started coming.Among the developments which I have reported on:-Some East St. Paul police officers have accused their former chief, Harry Bakema, of ordering them in advance not to refer in their notes about Harvey-Zenk’s alcohol consumption following the deadly crash. Bakema, through his lawyer, has denied the claims.-Retired RCMP officer Robert Tramley, who spearheaded a review of the East. St. Paul detachment following Bakema’s firing in 2006, told me the plea bargain with Harvey-Zenk is a “travesty” and said the case should have gone to trial.-A paramedic at the scene of the deadly crash noted “a strong smell of alcohol” coming from Harvey-Zenk. That fact was included in Tramley’s review.-Bakema is a former Winnipeg police officer who worked in the same North End district as Harvey-Zenk before he left to go to East St. Paul. Bakema has denied working directly with Harvey-Zenk but said he recognized him at the scene of the crash. Bakema apparently felt there were no grounds for a breath demand - even though another officer (Norm Carter, now the Chief) felt there was when he saw Harvey-Zenk NEARLY AN HOUR LATER.-Manitoba Justice Minister Dave Chomiak has called for a full public review of the East St. Paul detachment regarding their handling of this, and other, cases.-Questions have been raised about Manitoba Justice’s decision to appoint Minuk as Crown counsel, given the fact he has previously defended police officers and had recently completed work on a manslaughter case working alongside Harvey-Zenk’s lawyer, Richard Wolson. Justice officials have defended the decision to farm the case out of their own department to Minuk, saying they must avoid a perception of bias given that Crowns regularly work closely with police. It is perhaps that final one which had Minuk the most upset. He has somehow confused reporting on his background and the policies of Manitoba Justice as calling his ethics into question. Nothing could be further from the truth.As you can read in my original story, I clearly stated there are no suggestions Minuk has done anything wrong and he is a well-respected lawyer. Yet the story talked about “optics” - the very reason Manitoba Justice said their own very competent staff Crowns were apparently unable to prosecute Harvey-Zenk.“It wouldn’t look right” is the general answer given, because the Crown often work closely with police. Never mind the fact you could easily find numerous prosecutors who’d never even met Harvey-Zenk, it was all about the appearance.And that’s fine. But it’s perfectly fair then to ask how the appearance of Minuk’s role in the case is somehow better, given his role as a defence lawyer, close (and very recent) working relationship with Wolson and the fact he’s previously represented cops.All fair questions.Yet Minuk is now up in arms. Even Wolson called the reporting “scandalous” in court on Wednesday.Scandalous??? Funny, that’s a word many are using to describe the debacle the Harvey-Zenk case has become.And the case only sunk into further chaos after Wednesday.Wyant - admitting he is struggling with his decision - was practically begging both lawyers to give him more information about circumstances surrounding the crash. He even offered to pause the hearing so that Minuk could call evidence about the eight or so hours that passed between the end of Harvey-Zenk’s shift and the deadly crash.Wyant was especially interested in hearing more about Harvey-Zenk’s drinking that night.Seemed like a perfectly logical request - especially after you hear the Taman family say they were told at one point the Crown had 33 witnesses lined up to testify. Some of those surely had to be the other cops who were with Harvey-Zenk. And what about the paramedic at the scene? Yet Minuk rejected Wyant’s offer. He didn’t even consult with the Taman family. Or explain to the court why he wouldn’t provide any more information. He just said ‘No’. And so a clearly frustrated Wyant retreated into his chambers, saying he needs more time to mull over a case in which he candidly admits to being somewhat in the dark about, at least in terms of potentially important issues.And the Taman family was left, once again, wondering what the hell just happened. And what exactly is being hidden from them.There’s no doubt Minuk, Wolson and Harvey-Zenk wish this case would have just quietly fell beneath the radar and been quickly disposed of.Thank goodness it didn’t.I wish I knew all the answers. I’ve managed to dig up some of them, and I will continue trying to find out the rest.If that’s what constitutes shoddy journalism, then colour me Yellow.Fast forward to today.We're now finally starting to get some of those answers. New details are being exposed about the fatal crash investigation and Harvey-Zenk's perceived impairment which, for reasons I still don't understand, were never put before a judge and/or jury.If anything, our coverage last fall was barely scratching the surface of this scandal. It now appears this entire debacle is even worse than anyone originally thought.And yet Marty Minuk wanted everyone to believe that is all just the product of shoddy "yellow" journalism.I suspect the only colour the public is seeing these days is red - as in anger.www.mikeoncrime.com
- permit.Just a guess here, but the majority of these late-night pop-pop-pops are likely coming from folks who haven't bothered to ask Uncle Sam (Katz) for permission.I'm not sure how many by-law offences are being handed out - but it's clear the issue is a significant one in terms of tying up valuable police resources.So here's my questions for you.Should some of these citizens just relax a bit and enjoy the sights and sounds? Have you been jolted from sleep by fireworks? Have you dropped a dime on your festive neighbour?Post your comments below.
- Wikipedia.Unlike most small towns or hamlets, uniquely; Zhoda reeve establishment is not based on community votes or campaigns. Every second year a wrestling match is promoted in the area and candidate hopefuls line up for their time in the ring. If one is to old, impaired, or weak, they can choose another to represent themselves. Wrestling matches take place during June-July and are held at the Zhoda Hall. Currently, Stephen El Stevo is the reigning 5 year champion who's style include a Mexican-style wrestling blended with American boxing.This year's competition is set to have four main contestants, namely, the current title holder, Stephen El Stevo, "Old Man" Arhaas, Johnny "Sober" Sobering, Agatha "Aggie" Wall, and Professor Peter Potato Dungalinger Wigglebums.Zhoda's main export, while not being financially lucrative, is stray dogs. Currently, shipments are being made to Grunthal and Winnipeg, but it has been noted that La Broquerie has it's eyes set on importing the vast majority into their possession.It appears someone has been having some fun at Zhoda's expense!And while we can probably all get a chuckle out of the entry, it's a good reminder that the Internet is still a vast, largely unpoliced universe where an "anything goes" mentality sometimes exists. So be careful out there. And have a great long weekend. I'll be in Zhoda, sitting ringside with the strays and watching to see if the great Stephen El Stevo can fend off his beefy challengers.www.mikeoncrime.com
- HERE)The same bracelet she's accused of trying to saw off last week, which has now landed her back in custody.James and I have spent time with the girl's parents, who are frustrated as anyone. This is not a case of neglectful, uncaring parents - Mom has already turned her daughter in twice to police for breaches. How many parents out there would honestly do the same thing with their child?Police and justice officials are also fed up, with many wondering what it will take to get the message through to this girl.However, not everyone thinks the situation is as hopeless as it appears.As you can see in the email below, the chaplain at the Manitoba Youth Centre believes this girl is a much different one than is being portrayed in court and in public.And he feels us media types have been unfair with our coverage.Have a read - and then tell me what you think by posting your comments below. (The only editing I've done is to remove the girl's name, as publishing it is a violation of the Youth Criminal Justice Act)*****Mike,Here’s the letter I wrote the court. It’s based on a significant amount of time spent in conversation with this young woman and provides, I think, some badly needed balance to the perception that has developed around this story. I find it interesting that some people assume that the comments she made during a very tense and awkward interrogation are more credible and authentic than the comments she made in a safe environment after careful reflection. Anyway the letter represents my professional opinion as someone who has been engaged in pastoral care and counseling for over 30 years.Colin Peterson, Chaplain, MYCTo whom it may concern,Re: (The girl's name)I have met with (the girl) four times since her admission to the Manitoba Youth Centre.The purpose of these meetings was to offer spiritual care and counselling. Based on my sessions with (the girl) I would offer the following observations:(The girl) is, in many respects, a typical teenager who speaks and acts impulsively sometimes minimizing the impact of her words and actions. As a defense mechanism, when (the girl) feels uncomfortable or vulnerable, she presents with a certain measure of hostility or “attitude” and appears to be rude or selfish. When given a safe environment in which to discuss her fears and deepest feelings, it is evident that she is a sensitive young woman who is capable of expressing empathy and remorse with authentic and congruent emotion and affect. It is my belief that her highly publicized remarks to the WPS, while deeply disturbing, were not a true reflection of (the girl's) beliefs and feelings but more likely a post-traumatic response and a reflection of the profound emotion surrounding the events about which she was being questioned.My sessions with her have been emotional sessions indeed. It is my conviction that with ongoing support and counselling, (the girl), will learn to trust persons in positions of authority and express her feelings of pain and sadness more openly and appropriately.Yours truly,The Rev. Colin Peterson; M.Div. S.T.M.Chaplain – Manitoba Youth Centre
- www.mikeoncrime.com - which asks visitors whether they think Manitoba senior MP Vic Toews would make a good judge.Forget for a moment that Toews in on the record bashing so-called patronage appointments, and now may be in line to receive one himself.Forget for a moment that Toews' personal life is now the subject of ongoing court proceedings (his wife of 25 years has filed for divorce) as well as all sorts of tawdry discussion which might have some questioning how a man who buttered his bread preaching "family values" could be anything but a hypocrite.Bottom line - would Toews be a good fit behind the bench? So far the vote is running pretty close. I'll leave the question up for a couple more days, so make sure to cast your vote.*****So two Alberta teens have pleaded guilty to breaking into a home over the Christmas break, vandalizing it and then killing the family's cat by sticking it in a microwave oven for 10 minutes.Brutal. Senseless. Horrific. All those words - and more - come to mind.Here's another word you're going to be hearing soon in connection with this case - pathetic.As in, the sentences these two savages will receive next month will be pathetic.How could they not be?We know that sentences involving animal cruelty are already light enough - with beloved pets treated as nothing more than property under Canadian law.And we know that the Youth Criminal Justice Act doesn't exactly leave offenders shaking in their sneakers. So, combine these two factors and you have a recipe for a good ol' slap on the wrist.Anyone out there disagree?And what to make of these two teens and their prospects for a bright future?I once read that the majority of serial killers started off at a young age abusing animals. That's not to say these kids will grow up to be mass murderers. But you can't help but worry where they go from here after sadistically torturing and killing something so innocent.*****A judge has agreed to allow media outlets get copies of a 2007 interview with convicted killer and rapist Paul Bernardo.The 31-minute tape - which the judge called more "boring" than "chilling" - involves questioning of Bernardo about the unsolved killing of student Elizabeth Bain.We're likely to be inundated with video clips, still photos and soundbites in the coming days and weeks.How do you feel about that?Is this another slap in the face to the families of Bernardo's victims that he is continuing to grab headlines so long after the fact?Or is there a legitimate value to putting this out there for public consumption?More importantly, will you watch it? Are you curious to see what Bernardo now looks like, how jail appears to be treating him, what he says and how he says it? Or will you just turn away, change the channel?*****Finally, on the topic of whether the media is "going too far", I wonder what you think of the latest bombshell revelation surrounding the horrific kidnapping and murder of Quebec political aide Nancy Michaud?As you may have heard, the suspect, Francis Proulx, has been hit with additional charges of necrophilia and sexual assault.That takes an already terrible tragedy and adds yet another gruesome layer to it.From what I've seen so far, the media have carefully stickhandled around this by simply reporting the new charges and not going much further. No doubt this is out of respect for the impact this must be having on Michaud's friends and family member.But the issue is bound to come up again - likely in more graphic detail - if and when the case goes to trial and/or sentencing.I suspect there will be plenty of intense debates in newsrooms around the country - including mine - about how much information to publish about the specifics of the case.This isn't the first case to generate these kinds of discussions, and sadly, it won't be the last.But I'm always curious what the masses think about our role in these types of situations. How much is too much? Or does the public's right to know trump any other concerns?Feel free to discuss any, or all, of the above topics amongst yourselves.
- Arrest made in Beverly Rowbotham murder case - Finally, after nearly eight long years, the development everyone has been waiting for. Now the focus moves to the courts, where Mark Stobbe vows to fight to prove his innocence.2) Arrest made in Joel and Maggy Labossiere murder case - It took Winnipeg police just a few weeks to nab a suspect in one of the most sadistic killings in recent city history. And the suspect, Kelly Clarke, is no stranger to police or myself, as I've previously covered his numerous court cases. The investigation continues and more arrests could be coming.3) Major developments in Adam Anhang murder case - Some real twists and turns to this international mystery. We learned this week that a new suspect had emerged and confessed to killing the ex-Winnipeg millionaire in Puerto Rico - and also implicated Anhang's estranged wife. Now comes word of more potential arrests.4) Police sexually assaulted me, criminal claims - A touchy story for sure, and the kind we don't often write about. We get calls on a frequent basis from people claiming the cops attacked them. The vast majority never see the light of day, because the people haven't filed an official Law Enforcement Review Agency complaint, won't allow their name and photo to be published, or refuse to disclose other key information. In the case of Leon Vermette, he met all of these criteria, and so we told his story - along with getting extensive police reaction through the Crown which disputed what he said. It was controversial, for sure. But also fair and balanced. And that's all we can do. We'll now follow it through to the end.5) Jury hung, mistrial declared in triplet killing - For the second time, emotional jurors were unable to reach a verdict in the case against Michelle Camire. Now the Crown says they will pursue a third trial. Strong feelings on both sides of this one came in through phone calls and e-mails this week. Clearly the public is divided as the jurors.6) Former Hells president gets 13 years in prison - The rise and fall of Ernie Dew was completed this week when he received a major jail sentence for selling drugs to his former friend turned police agent, Franco Atanasovic. It just shows that in the world of organized crime, you can't trust anyone.7) Convicted killer sneaks into Canada to meet Internet girlfriend - Finally, something a little lighter. Had some fun with this exclusive, in which we told you of a American who followed his heart to Winnipeg - but ended up in prison. "Love makes you stupid," his lawyer told court. The man will be deported once his sentence is complete. One question - what's with the woman who fell for this guy?? I guess nice guys truly do finish last!8) Mom guilty of corrupting children - A terrible story about a mother who disregarded the needs of her children and put them in a horrendous position inside an inner-city crackhouse where they were deprived of many things - including food - while being exposed to the worst of society.9) U of M wrestler acquitted - Another real "talker" with a controversial ending. A judge ruled against a young woman who claimed, at the age of 15, that she was sexually assaulted by a much older peer while both were training in a university wrestling program. The case essentially led to the collapse of the program and has clearly left a bitter taste in many mouths.10) Judge decries street violence in Winnipeg - Associate Chief Justice Jeffrey Oliphant, always a straight-shooter, pulled no punches when he found a man guilty of murder and sentenced him to life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years. Oliphant said the case - which involved a stabbing outside a downtown bar - is yet another tragic example of the kind of senseless violence which has become all too common in our city.11) Accused deadly drug dealer gets bail - A man charged with dispensing a lethal dose of morphine to a young woman was freed from the Remand Centre, despite objections from the Crown. And while we can't tell you specifics of the hearing because of a publication ban, this first-of-its kind case in Manitoba promises to be a doozy if and when it gets to trial.12) Nigerian scam artist gets prison sentence, faces deporation - So let's get this straight. Canadians are going to pay for this guy - who bilked a retired Winnipeg doctor of more than $35,000 in an elaborate e-mail scam - to spend up to 30-months in jail, only to them immediately send him packing once he's done. Why can't we just save the money and kick him out of the country immediately??Of course, those were just the stories I was personally invovled with reporting on.We also had homicides number 16 and 17 in Winnipeg, the latest craziness involving police being forced to shoot at car thieves, reports of a CFS worker being busted for drug posession while having a child in his car, RCMP vowing to catch the arsonist who burned down a police officer's trailer in a remote reserve, a woman accused of running over and killing a family member while driving drunk, a distraught teen girl speaking out about an unprovoked attack by a large mob of young women, a woman who was critically injured in a sexual assault, Winnipeg police launching an investigation into Facebook photos showing a man lighting a cigarette with an officer's Taser, and a woman sentenced for exposing herself to young children.Did I miss anything? Actually, plenty. Just take a walk through the downtown Law Courts of any given day and there's non-stop action going on in more than a dozen courtrooms. The stories I file on a daily basis are barely scratching the surface of what's actually happening. Same goes for the police beat, where only a handful of incidents ever get reported on.Yet, the reality is the public seems to want as much information on these types of stories as it can get. Just take a look at the daily "Top 10" story list on the Free Press website, where stories of murder and mayhem are always among the most read.I'm going to take a few days now to catch my breath! In the meantime, feel free to discuss any of these stories and issues below.www.mikeoncrime.com
- "T.J.s Gift - A Gala Evening" fundraiser in Winnipeg.Several hundred people from all walks of life - including politicians, police officers, social workers, school teachers and students - came together to remember a young man whose life ended violently because of his involvement in the drug subculture. (Click HERE for previous blog post on the event)We also heard from a tremendously brave young man, a guest speaker who told the hushed crowd how he nearly died of a drug overdose last summer and spent two months in a coma.Now he's got a second chance at life, and he's using it to help educate others. Just as the wonderful family of T.J. Wiebe have devoted their efforts to helping others in their slain son's memory.Here's an idea. Let's use this forum to share your own experiences with drugs - either personally, or involving a family member, friend, neighbour. When did the problem begin? And how did it end - if at all? And what ideas do you have for dealing with the broader problem society is facing?Let's face it. Longer jail sentences (which we are indeed seeing these days when drugs are involved) can only go so far. Because putting one dealer behind bars only opens the door for another to swoop in and make some extra cash.Until you actually start dealing with the demand for drugs, there will always be people willing to risk their freedom - however stiff the penalties - in order to come up with the supply.The Wiebe family have a great thing going with T.J.s Gift. But I believe we can all do more to make our streets and communities safer.www.mikeoncrime.com
- www.tjsgift.com or contacting Floyd Wiebe directly at 229-9633 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.Hope to see you there for this very worthy cause.www.mikeoncrime.com
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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.
Blogs that Mike McIntyre follows:
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