Monday, August 01, 2005

Hathway case and the media.

Sheila Steele posted the name and video image of one of the RCMP officers who was part of a sting operation on Wilfred Gordon Hathway. This resulted in the federal Justice Department seeking a publication ban on the identities of RCMP undercover officers.

It is great to see the Saskatoon StarPhoenix reporting on the Hathway case. Again it has taken the investigative efforts of Sheila Steele and to get the news media to report on injustice in Canada. Sadly the Canadian public is not interested when a news outlet or a writer is charged with defying a publication ban in Canada. The StarPhoenix, writers and many others have been fighting a losing battle for years in Canada to protect freedom of speech and freedom of the press. The cost of court proceeding and court fines can not be justified when the public could care less.

The news media has a responsibly to the public to ask questions, investigate stories and search for the truth. In many cases the media has failed to ask questions and will take something from the story and spin it to sell newspapers. This is what happened with the satanic child abuse cases in Saskatchewan. The question being asked by the editors and writers of the Edmonton Sun and the Globe and Mail, are there cults sacrificing and eating babies? The StarPhoenix failed to ask questions and published articles on how the public could protect their children from cults who were sacrificing and eating babies. The result was a mass hysteria and many innocent lives destroyed.

Sheila Steele has for years been asking questions, searching for the truth and publishing the results on She has gained the respect of the media in Canada and the result is that the media is asking her questions regarding injustice in Canada. Sheila Steele understands the responsibilities of the media and the importance of freedom of speech for the media. She was the first to recognize the publics right to know the truth in the satanic child abuse cases came before the court gag orders and publication bans designed to protect officers of the court, the court itself and government from public scrutiny. The gag orders and publication bans were not news, nor were the court cases involving the media and freedom of speech over the years. The result was the slow erosion of free expression, Charter Rights and human rights in Canada.

When Sheila Steele defied the court gag orders in the satanic child abuse cases, this was news. When the CBC news program Fifth Estate ignored the threats of court action if they broadcast the Scandal of The Century story, this was news. When threats of court action are made by authorities to suppress freedom of speech, this is news. When citizens are threatened by authorities if they go to the press, this is not news? To threaten court action is understandable, we all have a right to protect ourselves in a court of law. It was reported in the Vopni case that members of the Vopni family were threatened if they went to the press with their story. Who made these threats, what was threatened, it could not have been court action as the family was being destroyed in a court of law in a similar manner as were the people who had their lives destroyed as a result of the satanic child abuse cases. The use of threats, intimidation and fear of reprisals by authorities to protect corruption and injustice needs to be exposed and stopped. The reprisals are real, in Saskatchewan it is not court action, it is an abuse of the process of the court, the court will be used by officers of the court to beat people into the ground, this is not being reported by the news media. Why not? Are officers of the court above the law in Canada?

Sheila Steele has been doing the work that used to be done by the media in Canada. Searching for and publishing the truth, exposing corruption and injustice. Threats of court action for publishing the truth are useless, any court action would draw the publics attention to the truth, the corruption and injustice. Protect the identity of the police if they acted within the law, if they acted outside the law, publish their identities and protect the public.

There have been many cases that would have never made it past a preliminary hearing in Saskatchewan if the media had been allowed to publish and report the facts to the public. Mr Hathway’s lawyer said: "This has got to stop and I hope it stops with this case”. Secret courts need to come to an end.

The StarPhoenix did an excellent job of reporting the Klassen trial and the Stonechild inquiry. The Vopni family story by Sarah Gibb was outstanding and so is the reporting on the Milgaard Inquiry. There are no investigative stores, they are all after the fact stories. The Hathway case has the look of yet another wrongful conviction in Saskatoon. Saskatchewan is known for its flawed case law as a result of injustice and corruption within the administration of justice. The Hathway case needs to be reported before we end up with another public inquiry.

No comments: