April 20th is the big day at the courthouse here in the Sault. Not for Karen Querat or OPP Constable Glenn McLean, it seems to be shifted to the credibility of Querat in her ‘relations’ with the Crown.
Timmins Crown Attorney, Wayne O’Hanley seems to be the one on trial by Counsel for the defense, Bruce Willson’s cross-examination of Querat on March 21st and 29th, 2016.
Querat, also known as Karen Bedard, was arrested on November 20th, 2013 and pleaded guilty on August 8th, 2014 to charges of fraud over $5,000 – $129,927.74 to be exact. Querat, the former bookkeeper for Blind River’s Anishnabie Naadmaggi Gamig Substance Abuse Treatment Centre (ANGSAT), stole 20,000 bucks from the centre between August 2012 and January 2013.
The remaining $110,000 in misappropriated funds was embezzled after allegedly meeting her boyfriend, OPP Constable, Glenn McLean, on January 29th, 2013.
Let’s look at the transcripts shall we?
Wilson: So you and the Crown drove from Sudbury yesterday?
Querat: Yes. I don’t have a vehicle.
Wilson: And did you talk about the summons?
Wilson: And you talked about the case didn’t you?
Wilson: For three hours.
Wilson: Why was it the Crown picked you up?
Querat: Because I don’t have a vehicle.
Wilson: Okay. But they can send you money to take a bus. Was that not discussed?
Querat: It was; previously I would fly or take a bus. Yeah, there was different options put forth before…
Wilson: Well why is the – why is it that you’re riding with the Crown and not the bus on your own?
Querat: Possibly because he’s traveling there as well.
Wilson: So he offered to give you a ride, is that what happened?
As the transcripts go on. It was not just one car ride. It was several. But she says under oath that they did not discuss the case on any of the several-hour trips.
Querat was asked to leave the courtroom several times as the court raised questions as to the nature of Wilson’s cross-examination. There was no objection by the Crown during her entire cross-examination on the 21st. The only time the Crown spoke up is when Querat left the courtroom. Here is Wilson giving the nature of the case in the transcripts:
Wilson:…I don’t think it’s appropriate when we’re under an order not to communicate with the witness and the Crown is under that order, to put us into this position when you’re riding for five hours or four hours yesterday with the witness in your car. The optics are absolutely shocking.
The court even offers a solution:
The court: …if you need to speak with a justice other than myself about any issue, I can make one available, okay.
The other issue is the impartiality. When the crown was preparing the witness, was there an impartial officer present to hear as to what the Crown and Querat were talking about, in case something comes into question? What if there was evidence she would give that no one would possibly be able to verify if she or the Crown were to vanish? What if there was any sexual harassment as a possible issue, was there an officer present or another witness to verify this?
Again this comes into the transcripts as Querat is asked to leave the courtroom.
The Crown… but the problem I have is that my integrity has been called into question. My friend is indicating he might bring a motion to have me removed. I want to see this played out. I want her asked those hard questions.
Under cross-examination again the Crown is the sole subject.
Wilson: You’re all in the same hotel then.
Wilson: I thought you told us this morning you’re not at the same hotel.
The transcripts from March 29th read much the same with the Crown’s relationship to the witness under cross-examination.
How can we have a witness that is not ‘tainted,’ so to speak?
She was also given two three-ring binders that she said under oath that she did not read over or look at the covers. What if these binders contained anything other than her statement?
April 20th should be interesting to see how this plays out. Will the Crown have possibly ‘tainted’ this witness so badly in the eyes of the court that Wilson asks for the case to be thrown out of court?
We will keep you posted on trial day.