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Community Forum: Aboriginal Deaths in Custody

by NationTalk on October 24, 20071565 Views

Thursday, OCTOBER 25, 2007
Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre
1607 East Hastings
Time: 9:30 to 4:00

This community forum is to engage and inform the Vancouver Aboriginal Community on the issue of deaths in police custody in British Columbia. The forum is an opportunity for the community to learn about civilian oversight of the police and to get their input and ensure that it is reflected at the upcoming inquiry into the death of Frank Joseph Paul.

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS:

Author: Warren Goulding,
“Just Another Indian, A Serial Killer and Canada’s Indifference.”

Lawyer: Cameron Ward,
Mr Ward has appeared before the Commission for Complaints against the RCMP, the British Columbia Police Complaints Commission and the Supreme Court of Canada

Pathologist: Dr. John C. Butt
C.M., M.D., F.R.C. Path
Dr. Butt is one of Canada’s most respected forensic pathologist and developed the most modern and comprehensive death investigation system in Canada

Noel Tait – Kyle Tait’s mother
In 2005 Kyle Tait was shot and killed by a New Westminster Police Officer. The Coroners Inquest into his death has yet to be held but the internal investigation cleared the officer of any wrongdoing.

Leonard Cler-Cunningham:
Vancouver writer, researcher and broadcaster working on an investigative documentary on Aboriginal deaths in police custody in British Columbia=========================================
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

At the end of this month THE FRANK PAUL INQUIRY begins. It has been almost ten years since a soaking wet Frank Joseph Paul was dumped in an alley in below freezing weather by members of the Vancouver Police department. Questions regarding the adequacy of investigation into Frank Paul’s death has raised doubts about the status of civilian oversight in British Columbia.

Why were judicial, civilian oversight and public accountability agencies so unwilling to investigate the circumstances of Frank Paul’s death?
Are there other inadequately investigated Aboriginal deaths in custody in BC?
Is Frank Paul simply an isolated incident or is he part of a larger pattern?

On October 25th the Aboriginal Friendship Centre hosts a daylong forum to engage and inform the Vancouver Aboriginal Community on the issue of deaths in police custody. The forum is an opportunity for the community to learn about civilian oversight of the police and to get their input and ensure that it is reflected at the upcoming inquiry into the death of Frank Joseph Paul.

According to David Dennis, Vice-President of United Native Nations, “The forum will raise difficult and painful issues about the relationship between British Columbia’s Aboriginal population and the government, but look around the world – truth comes before reconciliation. We need to go through this process before we can make any true progress. The inquiry into Frank Paul’s death is only the first step in a long process and our community has been working hard to identify long term solutions that will benefit everyone in British Columbia.”

For Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, “”Aboriginal deaths in custody and the perceived failure of civilian oversight is a longstanding concern for many Aboriginal people. Any Aboriginal death in custody is an immoral and tragic loss to the family and in fact, to the community as a whole. It is our belief that a public review of facts would not only help address the concerns of the involved families and First Nation communities but helps to identify fundamental questions such as why such systemic racism continues to thrive in police forces across the country. These questions and realities need to be proactively addressed so that these deaths were not in vain.”

Journalist and author Warren Goulding cautions everyone involved that, “Inquiries, in particular, are expensive, unwieldy devices that generally do little more than pad the bank accounts of lawyers. It’s a mechanism used by government when it is no longer possible to ignore the issue or the injustice that has been done. There’s little to fear from most inquiries. They are conducted with a great deal of civility and faithful servants recycle previous recommendations and tender a few new ones that are too unrealistic to be implemented, too wishy-washy to be of any real value or, almost always, simply shoved under the carpet. Occasionally, government gets lucky and is able to boast about implementing a specific recommendation simply because it’s something they’ve had on the table anyway.”

For Christine Parnell Smith, Chair of the Vancouver Working Group on Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, “Our community has to move beyond the rhetoric of complaint and lead the way in designing solutions to the issue of civilian oversight that will benefit all British Columbians. This is an opportunity for members of Vancouver’s Aboriginal community to learn about the civilian oversight system in British Columbia and to contribute to changes that will hopefully renew and restore everyone’s faith in the justice system for our people and the rest of British Columbia.”

Media Contact List:

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs
Cel. (250) 490-5314.

David Dennis, Vice-President United Native Nations
Cel. 604.868.4283

Cameron Ward,
Cel. 604.833.8538

Warren Goulding,
250.246.9130

Christine Smith-Parnell
(604) 340-6197

=========================================

Agenda
Thursday, OCTOBER 25, 2007

9:30 Opening prayer (Shane Point)

9:30 –9:45 am Opening greeting and video address from Grand Chief Phillip Stewart and United Native Nations David Dennis

9:45 – 10:45 am Warren Goulding: Author/Journalist
Noel Tait – Kyle Tait’s mother
Dr. John Butt: Forensic Pathologist

10:45 – 11:00 am Break

11:00 – noon
Cameron Ward – Lawyer and Counsel to Tait family
Leonard Cler-Cunningham

noon to 1pm Lunch (presenters available to media for interview)

1:00pm – 1:15 pm Break out sessions to identify? (work with David on this)
1:15 – 2:15 First two sessions
2:15 – 2:30 Break
2:30 – 3:45 Last two sessions
3:45 – 4:00 pm Presentation of session results

Forum Presenters:

Warren Goulding is a Saskatchewan journalist and author. Born and raised in Toronto, he moved to Saskatchewan in the mid-1970s. A former crime reporter for the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, he has covered several high profile cases including the Robert Latimer case and the case of John Martin Crawford, the serial killer who preyed on Native women in the 1990s. In 2001, he published Just Another Indian: A Serial Killer and Canada’s Indifference, an examination of the role the media, police and society played in the Crawford case. He won a Saskatchewan Book Award for Best Non-Fiction in 2001. In 2003 he received the Social Justice Award from the Edmonton-based Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women. He has appeared on numerous television and radio programs presenting his views on the media, policing and Aboriginal issues.

In 2002 he was appointed director of communications for the Commission on First Nations and Metis Peoples and Justice Reform. In this role he traveled throughout Saskatchewan, meeting with Aboriginal people, community leaders, judges, police officers and government officials. This role gave him a unique insight into the issues affecting First Nations and Metis people and the justice system.

Mr. Cameron Ward born in Montreal, Quebec in 1957. He obtained his B.A. from the University of Waterloo in 1979 and his LLB. from the University of Ottawa in 1983. Mr. Ward was called to the Bar of British Columbia in 1984 and practiced with a major Vancouver firm until 1990. After two more years with another major Lower Mainland firm, Mr. Ward founded A. Cameron Ward & Company in 1993.
Mr. Ward is a member of the Law Society of British Columbia, the Canadian Bar Association, the Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Mr. Ward practices primarily in the areas of civil litigation, administrative law and criminal law. He has appeared as counsel before the Provincial Court, Supreme Court and Court of Appeal of British Columbia, as well as the Federal Court and the Supreme Court of Canada. He has also appeared before the Commission for Complaints against the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the British Columbia Police Complaints Commission.

Mr. Ward’s practice includes commercial disputes, professional negligence, personal injury and civil liberties. Mr. Ward has a particular interest in social justice issues and has represented a number of activists who have become involved in legal proceedings. His clients have included environmental advocates, antiwar demonstrators, students opposed to foreign policy initiatives, the homeless, First Nations people, and others. He has written on legal affairs and his work has been published in the Environmental Law Journal, the Advocate and the Globe & Mail.

Mr. Ward has two children and enjoys golf, skiing, soccer, hockey, hiking and fishing.

JOHN C. BUTT, C.M., M.D., F.R.C. Path., D.M.J.
Suit 400, 1681 Chestnut St.,Vancouver BC V6J 4M6 CANADA. e-mail: john@pathfinder.bidcon.net tel 604-738-0878
Owner of Pathfinder Forum – Consulting in Forensic Medicine/Pathology
Internet www.pathfinderforum.com

POST-GRADUATE TRAINING – PATHOLOGY
o Vancouver General Hospital, University of British Columbia
o Institute of Neurology, University of London, England
o Guys Hospital Medical School, University of London, England
o Charing Cross Medical School, University of London, England

QUALIFICATIONS
o M.D. – University of Alberta, 1960
o DMJ (PATH) Diploma Medical Jurisprudence, London, England, 1969
o M.R.C. Path. – (Examination) 1973 in Anatomical & Forensic Pathology
o F.R.C. Path. – Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists (Britain), 1985

FORMERLY
o Lecturer, Department of Forensic Medicine, Charing Cross Hospital (University of London, England) 1971-73
o Full-Time Associate Professor, Division of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary 1974-77
o Chief Coroner, Province of Alberta 1975-77
o Chief Medical Examiner, Province of Alberta, 1977-1993, developed the medical examiner law and office in Alberta and first appointee in 1977
o Chief Medical Examiner – Province of Nova Scotia (Feb. 1996-Aug. 1999)
o Clinical Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Division of Pathology, University of Calgary, 1985-1999
o Professor of Pathology – Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University 1996-2000

PRESENTLY
o Owner, Pathfinder Forum – consultation in forensic medicine & science, notably investigation and education about sudden death and serious injury in the interests of justice.
PRESENTATIONS, etc.
o Numerous lectures and seminars in Canada, U.S.A., and abroad to provincial, state, national and international associations, to learned societies of medicine and of law, government, police, police colleges, and others on various subjects, usually on a medico-legal/sudden death theme
o Courtroom evidence in Britain, Canada*, and U.S.A* in both criminal and civil* proceedings
o Canadian Police College – Ottawa, organized (1976) RCMP major crimes lectures on investigation of sudden death; continuing to 2003.
o Guest Faculty at Interagency Institute for Federal Health Care Execs. G Washington U. 2000-present.
o Guest faculty/ Co- sponsor BC Institute Technology: Death Investigation Course 2004-present

MEMBERSHIPS, etc.
o Member of learned professional societies and associations in Canada, U.S.A. and Great Britain (list available)
o Board of Directors, National Association of Medical Examiners (U.S.A.), 1981 to 1992, President and Chair of the Board, 1991-1992, Executive Committee, variously 1981-92
o Board of Directors, Traffic Injury Research Foundation (Canada), 1976 to 1993 and 1999 -2000.
o International Board of Editors, The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, 1980 to 1996
o Chair Forensic Studies Advisory Committee, Mount Royal College, Calgary, Canada (2001-2004); Committee 2004-present

MAJOR AREAS OF TEACHING
o Undergraduate lectures, additionally organizing/teaching of postgraduate training programs in forensic pathology, (started first post graduate program in Canada in forensic pathology ) at university level
o Canadian Police College – Ottawa, major crime investigation techniques re: sudden death and serious injury
o Developed (with Science Alberta Foundation), school forensic science & crime scene project and museum, Calgary

RESEARCH INTERESTS
o Principal Investigator – Fatal Asthma Study (Health and Welfare Canada) at the University of Calgary 1989 and 1992-95

COURTROOM EVIDENCE
o England: includes Central Criminal Court London;
o Canada: provinces/territories of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia, also NWT.
o USA: County courts (Kings Co.Seattle) WA & Dallas Co.(TX); Alaska State; Federal Court of 27th District at Jackson MS.

AWARDS:
§ American Academy of Forensic Science: Research Award 1988
o MacLeans Magazine: Honour Roll of Outstanding Canadians 1998.
o Association of Psychologists of Nova Scotia: >The Presidential Award 1999
o Medical Society of Nova Scotia: Distinguished Services Award, 1999
o National Association of Medical Examiners: >Outstanding Service* Award= 1999, (*service to forensic science in the USA)
o The Atlantic Jewish Council “Jerusalem Award for 1999″ (for respect for all faiths & commitment to social justice)
o Order of Canada (CM) May 2000.
o International Assoc. of Forensic Nurses ‘Vision Award’ Oct. 2000
o University of Alberta Alumni Award of Excellence, Oct.2001.
o Queen’s Jubilee Medal 2002
o Geo Gantner Lectureship Award: National Assoc. Medical Examiner (USA) 2004
o Wm. Boyd Lectureship Award: Canadian Assoc. Pathologists June 2005

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