Centre For Local Research into Public Space (CELOS)
Unless otherwise noted all reports on this page were written by M. Monastyrskyj, CELOS researcher
April 3, 2008 police press release
3:01am Police on general patrol in the Dundas Street West/Ossington Avenue area stop a black Acura. The three occupants are arrested after police discover a loaded .40 calibre semi-automatic handgun
When the session starts, the defense lawyers ask for a publication ban under section 517 subsection 1 of the Criminal Code. The JP consults a law book and there is some discussion, which I can't hear. The Crown says it's not opposed to the application. When the defense asks for a ban, it's automatic.
The trial coordinator wants to know if the bail hearing will last more than a day because the JP will be unavailable next week. The defense lawyers say the hearing may go into a second day.
The JP wants to know if it will be possible to complete the bail hearing in one day, because he will be away at a seminar in Sault Ste. Marie all week. He says a lot of JPs will be at this seminar, which may make it hard to find someone to preside over the hearing next week. (The idea of all these justices of the peace being away at a seminar reminds me of teachers having a professional development day.)
At 11am the session is adjourned so the lawyers and the justice of the peace can go over to the trial coordinator's office to arrange a new date for the bail hearing. While we all wait for court to reconvene, Omar's mother has a spirited conversation with some members of Rowe-Reid's family. She sounds frustrated.
Court reconvenes at 11:40am. There will be two separate bail hearings. Omar's co-accused Ryan Rowe-Reid will appear in court room 116, Old City Hall at 10am on Friday April 25, 2008. Omar will be appear in court room K, Old City Hall, at 10am on Friday May 2, 2008.
After court is adjourned, Rowe-Reid's family waits in the corridor. His mother says loudly "I'm not leaving until I see him." When court officers escort Rowe-Reid out, his mother tells him to take care of himself and "Do his reading." Rowe-Reid smiles and says he will. (Update: The woman I thought was Rowe-Reid's mother is in fact his grandmother.)
Rowe-Reid has a bail hearing today in courtroom 116, Old City Hall. It begins at 10am and lasts all day. The evidence given at the hearing is covered by a publication ban under section 517 of the Criminal Code and can't be reported. At the end of the day, the Justice of the Peace says the evidence in the case is complicated and he needs more time to come to a decision. The JP and the lawyers have a discussion about when to read the decision. The JP suggests 10am Wednesday April 30 in courtroom 101. The lawyers agree.
The Justice of the Peace (JP) issued a detention order. This means Rowe-Reid must remain in jail. The defense will probably appeal the detention order. Rowe-Reid was not present in court room 101 when the order was issued, because Don Jail was under lockdown. The defense and the Crown agreed to hear the JP's decision without Rowe-Reid being present. Rowe-Reid's grandmother and another younger woman were in the court room. That is all that can be said because the proceedings of the bail hearing are under a publication ban as outlined in section 517 of the Criminal Code.
2:35pm Ryan Rowe-Reid appears by video in courtroom 111. He immediately asks if he should get his co-accused Isahaq Omar who is waiting outside. The JP tells RR to wait a moment. RR doesn't seem to hear, because he goes outside and brings Omar in. The two are smirking while they wait. One says something quietly to the other and they laugh. They don't appear as subdued as they did when they appeared individually for their bail hearings. A blond lawyer representing a firm whose name I couldn't hear says she is here on behalf of Omar. She and the duty counsel talk about the case. The duty counsel says, "We're trying to sort this out." He says Rowe-Reid is represented by Friedberg. The blond lawyer asks the JP if she can have a moment with her client. The JP says, "Be very brief." The lawyer goes into a booth by the side of the judge's bench. When she comes out she says Omar is waiving his right to a preliminary hearing. RR says he's going to do the same. The JP, the lawyers and the accused all agree that RR and Omar will appear again on May 28 at 9am in courtroom 111 alongside the third co-accused Keane Webb. Webb is out on bail.
10:25am Court officers bring Isahaq Omar and his co-accused Ryan Rowe-Reid into courtroom 111. A third co-accused, Keane Webb, who is out on on bail, is also in the courtroom sitting on the public benches. The Justice of the Peace (Cresswell?) wants to know why Omar and Rowe-Reid have been brought here in person when they could have appeared by video. No one seems to know. The Crown attorney mentions in the discussion that it's a guns and gangs case. He says something about a judicial pre-trial and says he needs instruction from Kerry Hughes (the Crown attorney in the bail hearings). The Crown attorney says Mr. Innis' name is on the brief. (Innis is another Crown attorney.) The JP says they will "hold the matter down" until Kerry Hughes can be found.
11:35am Hughes enters the court room with the Crown attorney who went to find her. The JP tells Hughes he doesn't understand why Rowe-Reid and Omar have been brought here in person when they could have appeared by video. He says having prisoners "in the box" complicates court security. He says "112 can't open up." (Courtroom 112 is connected to 111 by a door. Before court officers can bring prisoners into 112, the officers first have to bring them upstairs into courtroom 111.) The discussion that comes afterwards is hard to follow because people are speaking quickly using terms and abbreviations I'm not familiar with. One lawyer uses an expression I haven't heard before. He says something about "putting in an election." The JP says something about a "JPT" which I think means judicial pre-trial. Hughes says the trial will take 2 days. The JP asks if the lawyers want to meet with the trial coordinator. At this point, Webb who has been sitting in the public benches walks out into the hallway. A minute later he comes back in and sits down next to me. After some more discussion Hughes and the defense lawyers leaves the courtroom. A little later the JP says to another defense lawyer, "I have a problem with guns and gangs today. It's not your fault." I understood him to be saying he was having an administrative problem involving the unit in the Crown's office that works on cases involving guns and gangs.
The JP finally decided that the three accused would appear again on June 6 at 2pm in courtroom 111. The two men in custody (Isahaq Omar and Ryan Rowe-Reid would appear by video.)
2pm The three accused in this case, Isahaq Omar, CourtCases.RyanRoweReid2008|Ryan Rowe-Reid and Keane Webb appear in court today. Omar and Rowe-Reid appear by video while Keane Webb, who is out on bail, has come in person. A lawyer acting as an agent for the firm representing one of the three says he wants the three back in courtroom 111 in person on June 12. He says there was a judicial pre-trial this morning with Judge Reinhart(?). The lawyer says he's asking that they be brought back to court on the 12th because there are some issues around "election." At this point the Crown attorney interjected, "I have the trial verification form here. Is that the issue?" The Crown says a trial date has been set for September 22 and 24 in E court. The defense lawyer tells Omar "Contact your lawyer when you're done." The Crown says "Rowe-Reid is not on the docket." The JP responds, "That's right. He's not." He is, however, on the video screen with Omar. The Crown says she wants to put the trial verification form on the record. The duty counsel mentions the name of another defense lawyer. I believe he says Ms. Fairchild. The JP asks the defense lawyer, "Do you want them here in person because you want them traversed?" The defense lawyer says he doesn't know because he wasn't at the pre-trial this morning. The Crown submits the trial verification form to the court. There is more discussion about when to bring the men back to court. The Crown says she needs to make sure the Crown attorney handling the case will be available on June 12. The JP and the lawyers finally agree on 9am Thursday June 12 in courtroom 111.
10am courtroom 112, Old City Hall The air conditioner is turned on and it's hard to hear what the judge and lawyers are saying. The judge presiding over the session is Justice Hogg, who usually works in the Finch Avenue courthouse in North York. There are seven people in the body of the court (i.e. the benches where the public sits). Before the court session begins the duty counsel (i.e. the defense lawyer who speaks for accused people who either don't have a lawyer or whose lawyer isn't the court that day) asks, "Is there anybody in the body of the court who is not waiting for a lawyer and who plans to plead guilty today?" (Courtroom 112 is commonly called "plea court" because this is where many defendants come to plead guilty.)
At 10:30am, Rowe-Reid's name is mentioned for the first time today. The Crown attorney says Rowe-Reid is represented by Matthew A. Friedberg of the firm Caramanna Friedberg. He also mentions that the case is a guns and gangs matter. He asks that the matter be "held down." (postponed until later in the session)
Uniformed officers bring Rowe-Reid into the courtroom at 11:15. He's in the prisoners' box with an Asian man who is there on a separate matter. Hogg asks whether the Crown attorney handling the Rowe-Reid case is in Old City Hall or another building. Rowe-Reid tells Hogg he's in court today because the Crown plans to drop the charges. Hogg is unhappy that Hughes isn't here: "I can't do anything about this when the Crown isn't here. This is a disgrace. Who is the Crown in this matter?" "Kerry Hughes," comes the reply from the Crown on duty.
"Well, is she here?", asks Hogg.
The Crown says, "Mr. Bugo from Friedberg's office is somewhere in the building."
The court deals with two more matters while waiting for the attorneys involved in the Rowe-Reid case to arrive.
At 12:20pm, the Crown attorney on duty says he has an update on the Rowe-Reid matter. He says again that Kerry Hughes is handling the case. He says certain steps have to be followed before the charges against Rowe-Reid can be withdrawn and that these steps are being taken now. Bugo, the defense lawyer representing Rowe-Reid today, says "Ms. Hughes will come here in person to withdraw the charges. She will be here at 2:15 if court is still in session."
At 2:20pm, Hogg says, "I suppose there's no sight of Ms. Hughes." Hogg wonders aloud whether all of this couldn't have been handled over the phone.
Hughes arrives five minutes later. Hughes, who is wearing jeans, apologizes, "You have to excuse my attire. I needed to get a statutory declaration from Mr. Rowe-Reid that he had no knowledge of the gun in the car."
"Did he sign it?" asks Hogg.
Hughes: "Yes. Do you want to see it?"
Hughes: "Can I take a quick look at the information in case there are any other outstanding issues?"
Hughes points out that Rowe-Reid was the only one of the three men in the car with a "prohibition."
Hughes then says that since the Crown has "no reasonable prospect of conviction" it asks that the charges be withdrawn. The court orders all 7 charges be withdrawn.
Moments later Rowe-Reid is a free man. He is walking out of old City Hall with a friend who had been waiting in the courtroom. There is no sign of the family members who had appeared at his bail hearing in April.
Toronto police issued a press release announcing that on Sunday August 10 Ryan St. Christopher Rowe-Reid died in hospital after sustaining "multiple gunshot wounds to his body" during a gun fight in a parking lot at 1701 McCowan Road in Scarborough. Read more >>