Unless the otherwise noted, the reports below were written by M. Monastyrskyj, CELOS researcher.
Police responded to a report of an armed robbery at The Beer Store at 323 Symington Avenue. Police found two suspects in the area of Wallace Avenue. One of the suspects fired at the police and one officer, Rob North, was struck in the forehead with a shotgun pellet. Police arrested two suspects, Craig Buckle, 29 and Jeron Powell, 32. Powell was charged with:
1) Five counts of Robbery While Armed with a Firearm
2) two counts of Disguise with Intent
3) Conspiracy to Commit and Indictable Offence
4) three counts of Attempted Murder While Using a Firearm
5) two counts of Possession of a Firearm Knowing its Possession is Unauthorized
6) Unauthorized Presence of a Firearm in a Motor Vehicle
7) Possession of a Firearm Contrary to Prohibition Order
9) Possession of Property Obtained by Crime (under)
10) Possession of a Prohibited Firearm with Ammunition.
According to the police press release, Powell was scheduled to appear in courtroom 101, Old City Hall today. However, no one from CELOS was present.
At 10am I go to courtroom 101 (bail court) on the chance that Powell will appearing there again today. While I'm sitting in court, I notice that duty counsel (a defence lawyer paid by the provincial government to help people who appear in court without their lawyer) is carrying a file with the name Powell on it. However, Powell doesn't appear today.
In the afternoon, I go to the clerk's office at Old City Hall (room 250 on the second floor) and ask for Powell's next court date. A clerk checks the computer database and tells me Powell will be appearing at 2pm in courtroom 111 on Wednesday February 11. Courtroom 111 is set-date court and 2pm is set aside for appearances via video link. The fact that Powell is appearing there at that time more than likely means that he is still in custody because he consented to his detention. In other words he probably declined to have a bail hearing. He was arrested on Saturday and was scheduled to make his first court appearance yesterday. It doesn't seem like there was enough time to have had a bail hearing.
Powell is on the 2pm video docket in courtroom 111, but no one from CELOS is present.
Powell is on the 2pm video docket in courtroom 111. He appears briefly at 2:45. An agent acting for his lawyer says he has a judicial pre-trial conference (JPT) scheduled for May 27. JPTs, which are conferences where the Crown and the defence meet before a judge to discuss various issues related to the case, are not public. The Justice of the Peace says Powell's next court date is Friday May 29 2pm by video in 111.
Shortly after 11am I go to the court clerk's office in room 250 on the second floor of Old City Hall, to check on Powell's next court date. As it happens the man ahead of me in line wants the same information. After he's finished talking to the clerk, I ask him if he is Powell's lawyer. He says he is. I tell I'm following Powell's case for a community group in the neighbourhood, by which I mean CELOS. I ask him if Powell had a judicial pre-trial conference (JPT). He answers, "I'm not authorized to say." I then ask if Powell consented to his detention. I ask this because as far as I can tell Powell didn't have a show cause (bail) hearing. Again he answers, "I'm not authorized to say." Finally, I ask his name. He tells me "Raymond Boggs". He is about to go on the elevator but as I sit down to make some notes, he stops to explain he can't breach lawyer-client privilege. I tell him I understand.
Powell is on the 2pm video docket in courtroom 111. He appears on screen at 2:30. An agent for Powell's lawyer, "Raymond Boggs", is in court. However as soon as the agent starts to talk Powell interrupts him saying, "No more video." Powell says he wants to appear in person to plead guilty. He says he has already spoken to his lawyer and knows the Crown's position. The agent, however, has different instructions from Boggs. The agents says "These are quite serious charges."
The conversation that follows is confused with the Crown, the agent, the Justice of the Peace and Powell all talking, sometimes over each other. At one point the JP, Saab, says "If he wants to go to plea court, let him go." The Crown attorney on duty, however, suggests a short remand. Powell interjects, "No more video please." The Crown repeats a short remand is in order. Powell is adamant. He says he spoke to Boggs and knows the Crown is asking for 7-25 years. He says, "Right now I'm in 24 hours solitary confinement." He says "I'm sorry for what I did. I'm ready to accept my punishment." He says that would be "better than committing suicide." The JP says "This is not fair." She says the Crown attorney assigned to the case should be here. She notes Powell is "clearly frustrated."
The duty Crown says bringing Powell back to 111 in a week would give Powell's lawyer "time to connect" with his client. She says it's her understanding that due to "case law" Powell's case can't be brought to 112 (plea court). I don't quite understand what she's saying, but she says something about Powell's lawyer bringing up case law when Powell pleads. The JP decides to bring Powell back to 111 by video on Friday June 5.
This upsets Powell. He says "This can't be happening man. You don't know what's happening here ... This isn't right man ... I should have some say in what is happening with my life ... I know if I was a white man this wouldn't be happening ... The whole system is racist."
The JP tells Powell they're done. She repeats Powell will be coming back to 111 by video at 2pm on Friday June 5.
Powell is on the 2pm video docket in courtroom 111. An agent from the firm representing Powell is in court. He wants Powell to come back on July 6 to discuss a resolution with the Crown. July 6 is a Monday. According to the alphabetical system in use in courtroom 111, Powell would normally come back on a Friday, but this time the Crown has no objection to Powell coming on a Monday. The Crown attorney on duty says he'll talk to Colleen Hepburn, the prosecutor assigned to the case. The Justice of the Peace orders Powell to appear by video in courtroom 111 at 2pm on Monday July 6.