Section A 7.6 of our rules prescribes:
“Any notes taken by Council members in Closed Session will be given to the Clerk at the end of the Closed Session. The notes will be destroyed by the Clerk.”
Clearly the rule allows taking notes in closed session, as long as they are surrendered at the end of the meeting. Clearly the rule cannot possibly be breached until the end of a meeting.
May 12, 2015 at the very beginning of a closed session council meeting, Mayor Janice Jackson accused me of making notes on my computer in breach of section A 7.6.
We were just starting the closed session. We were a long ways from the end of the meeting.
I argued the obvious – that I could not possibly have breached the rule because we were nowhere near the end of the meeting.
I guess Mayor Jackson did not agree, because she called the OPP and asked them to arrest me for trespassing and to remove me from town hall.
While we were waiting for the police, I proposed a resolution. I said that while I would not admit to the breach (of A7.6) that I was (falsely) accused of, I would delete the computer file I was working on, close my computer, put it away and make notes on paper instead.
Mayor Jackson accepted my proposal. When the OPP arrived we both told the officer that the problem was resolved, and that no further action was required.
Then just as the police officer was about to leave, new allegations were levelled: that I had photographed confidential documents with my cellphone, that I had audio recorded closed session with my computer , and that I had audio recorded closed session with my cell phone.
I was told to apologize for these new allegations or be charged with trespassing and removed.
Because the new allegations were false and unproven, there was no way I was going to apologize, so I refused, and I was handcuffed, marched out, searched, charged, and humiliated.
A week later in council chambers I was told once again to apologize or be evicted. Once again I refused to apologize for breaking rules I did not break, and so I was arrested and removed and charged and humiliated.
Janice Jackson told reporters that I was out forever if I did not apologize and the apology was accepted by council.
I told reporters that I was going to court to get an injunction to prevent the mayor from keeping me out of council.
Two days later, on May 21, even though I still proclaimed my innocence, and I had not apologized, Mayor Jackson dropped the “out forever” threat, and I was back in council.
I took that as a clear admission on her part that her allegations that I broke any or all those rules were all groundless. I considered it vindication.
That left me with trespass charges.
Over the 18 odd months since I was charged, there have been many pretrials.
At a pretrial a justice of the peace tries to get the parties to reach a settlement so that matter does not have to go to court for a trial.
At every pretrial I insisted that I had not breached the council rules that Mayor Jackson had claimed I breached, and I refused to admit to any breach of the council rules or the Trespass to Property Act, and I refused to consider any resolution other than dismissal of the charges or proceed to court.
The sixth or seventh pretrial was on January 18, 2017. As before, I admitted to no wrongdoing. Still, I got a dismissal of all charges.
And while the prosecutor did not formally admit that he had no case, and did not formally admit that the allegations made against me by Janice Jackson were not provable, the conclusion I drew from his request for dismissal is that he had no viable case.
I considered the dismissal a second vindication of my position that Janice Jackson’s allegations of serious breach of council rules were false and groundless.
I will go one further. I will say that the allegations levelled by Jackson were knowingly false.
I have had many allegations levelled at me over the past six years, many of which made headlines. Most I have proven false. The ones not proven false were shown to be unsubstantiated.
I currently have at least four allegations against me:
- That I breached the code of conduct by disclosing information from the June 7, 2016 closed session,
- That I breached the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act in the June 7, 2016 closed session,
- That I harassed (workplace harassment) the clerk for two years straight,
- That I breached the Law Society Act (practicing law without a licence) in an August 12, 2016 OMB hearing.
Over and over I have asserted that the allegations are groundless. Over and over I have refused to recognize Janice Jackson’s kangaroo court. Over and over I have challenged my accusers to put the allegations before a proper adjudicator.
Yet no one has picked up the challenge.
I am very confident that the allegations will never go before a tribunal with the authority to adjudicate.
But if they do I am confident that the charges will again be dismissed.
Janice Jackson’s barrage of false allegations are bullying, and are harmful, and are an abuse of her position.
No resident should have to suffer through that.