Judge Rules that Man Arrested at G20 Should Have Been Provided Counsel

Update: see previous posts – July 23, 2011 Twenty One (21) Month Sentence for Man Who Set G20 Police Vehicle Ablaze, July 22, 2011 G20 Investigator Wants Law to Ban Disguises After 17 Suspects Unidentified, July 21, 2011 Toronto Police Chief Blair’s Report on the G20 is Deferred, June 25, 2011 G20 Summit Toronto – First Anniversary (June 26 & 27, 2011), June 18, 2011 Harper Falls Short on Toronto Businesses’ G20 Claims, June 10, 2011 G20 – Final Public Hearing for the Toronto Police’s Civilian Review, June 10, 2011 G20 – Another Arrest, June 7, 2011 G20 Update – Who Assaulted Adam? Nooobody!, June 1, 2011 Ottawa Police Enjoy Their Share of the G20 Money Pie, McGuinty to Scrap the Secret G20 Law (1939 Public Works Protection Act), March 31, 2011 The “G20 Bump” Translates into a 60% Increase of Toronto Police Making the 2010 Sunshine List, March 19, 2011 Harper Screws Toronto’s Businesses, March 18, 2011 New G20 Lawsuits Launched Against Toronto Police Board, December 7, 2010 Ontario Umbudsman André Marin Delivers Report on G20 “Caught in the Act”, August 8, 2010 G20 Litigation, August 1, 2010 Damage$ Flowing from Charter Breaches

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Photo of Gary McCullough arrested on June 24, 2011. During the trial - “It was clear that nobody was taking responsibility” for getting McCullough to a lawyer, the judge said. “Nobody did anything.”

The Arrest:

Gary McCullough, 53, of  Whitby, Ont., was near the G20 summit security perimeter when he was charged with one count of weapons dangerous on June 24, 2010 and was scheduled to appear in court for the first time on the following Friday at 2 p.m.

Mr. McCullough was arrested after a car containing a cache of equipment in a makeshift storage container, including a crossbow and chainsaw, was stopped near the G20 security zone in Toronto.

The car, a four-door 2006 Hyundai GTL, has Ontario license plates, and a bumper tied on with string. On top of the car sat a homemade storage container fashioned from sheet metal. Police said some weapons were visible when they looked in the car, and they eventually removed a crossbow, five arrows, a sledgehammer, a pickaxe, a chainsaw, and a baseball bat.

A gasoline canister, cola bottle and water container were tested by the hazardous materials team, but the substances inside were deemed harmless.

A scruffy white dog was also in the car at the time of the arrest.

At the scene, Constable Hugh Smith of Toronto Police Services said the driver appeared disoriented when answering police questions.

He was pulled over when he drove into the area because of the appearance of his vehicle.

The arrest occurred around 12:30 p.m. near Scott Street and The Esplanade.

The driver of the silver Hyundai was taken by police to the temporary holding facility on Eastern Avenue constructed in advance of the G20. More than 25 officers remained at the scene, and the street was cordoned off with yellow police tape.

Finding during Trial:

Police breached the rights of a man arrested with a crossbow near the G20 security fence when they questioned him without giving him a chance to consult a lawyer, a judge has ruled.

“The law makes clear that an investigative detention of that kind gives rise to a right to counsel,” provincial court Justice David Fairgrieve said Wednesday as he excluded all the statements made by Gary McCullough to a police officer who questioned him at the scene.

McCullough, 54, was arrested in downtown Toronto on June 24, 2010, just two days before world leaders met here, after police found a loaded crossbow in his car’s roof carrier.

His defence lawyer had applied to have the statements excluded, insisting his rights were violated. The judge agreed. In addition to excluding McCullough’s statements at the scene, he also excluded any testimony he had already made in court that related to those statements.

The judge also agreed with defence criticisms of Toronto police for continually denying McCullough’s right to counsel while he was held at the Eastern Ave. detention centre for those who were arrested during the G20.

“It was clear that nobody was taking responsibility” for getting McCullough to a lawyer, the judge said. “Nobody did anything.”

Defence lawyer James Carlisle had argued that it was a “systematic” breach.

Carlisle said police at the holding centre told McCullough four times he would be given access to a lawyer, but it didn’t happen until much later despite there being duty counsel on site.

By the time he did get to speak to a lawyer, he had been questioned by at least four officers, Carlisle said.

His arrest days before the G20 summit of world leaders was about to begin garnered international headlines.

While an officer was unloading the crossbow, propane canisters, chainsaw, knife, hatchet and other objects from his roof carrier, another constable started asking McCullough questions.

Const. George Maxwell testified that McCullough told him he possessed the crossbow in case he encountered a neighbour who had broken into his car as it was parked at his Haliburton property.

McCullough, when he testified, gave a different explanation for why he had acquired the crossbow, saying he had purchased it to scare off bears.

Carlisle told reporters after the ruling that he will inform the judge Friday about whether his client will testify again.

When he testified, McCullough explained that after the neighbour at his Haliburton home broke his car’s window, he decided to drive to Toronto to get it fixed because service in the big city is faster than in cottage country.

He loaded the crossbow and other objects of value into the roof rack to keep them away from his neighbour while he was away, he explained.

 

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