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Unless otherwise noted, reports on this page were written by M. Monastyrsky, CELOS researcher
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. Webb's co-accused are Isahaq Omar and Ryan Rowe-Reid.
2:35pm Ryan Rowe-Reid appears by video in courtroom 111. He immediately asks if he should get his co-accused CourtCases.IsahakOmar2008|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. Innes' name is on the brief. (Innes 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, 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.
Webb is scheduled to appear at 9am in courtroom 111, but no one from CELOS is present.
2:20pm Webb, who is out on bail, appeared in person in courtroom 111, Old City Hall. His co-accused, Isahaq Omar who had earlier been denied bail appeared by video. There are ongoing problems with the video system in 111. Today, the Justice of the Peace said she was only getting static on her TV monitor, though the monitors facing the body of the court seemed to be working fine. Earlier in the session when a defendant in a wheelchair appeared on screen, the Crown attorney on duty, Michael Leshner, had to describe to the JP what was happening on screen. Later when Omar appeared, he said he could barely hear what was happening in Old City Hall.
Omar and Webb have separate lawyers. Omar's lawyer is Ms. Fairchild. When Webb's lawyer spelled out her name for the record I could only make out that it begins with M. (As the Justice of the Peace herself noted in passing earlier today, the acoustics in 111 are bad.) The Crown attorney assigned to the case is Mr. Innes, though another Crown, Kerry Hughes, represented the prosecution at the bail hearings for Omar and Rowe-Reid. Innes was in court today.
One of the lawyers said the defense was still waiting for disclosure. Leshner noted that Omar and Keane were scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Oct 26 and 27 in A court, 3rd floor Old City Hall. Leshner said Innes was looking into the issue of disclosure.
One of the lawyers suggested July 9 for a return date; however, Fairchild said there was no reason for her client (Webb) to appear again before the prelminary hearing. At this point, Leshner pointed out that there was a defense motion to unseal a search warrant and that for that reason he thought it would be better for the two accused men to appear again together. Someone said something about an ex parte application.
Innes and Leshner talked quietly together for a few minutes. Then there was a long discussion about what to do about the court date. Fairchild said July 9 wasn't good for her. Someone asked Fairchild if a designation had been filed. It had been. It was suggested that Webb's lawyer act for both defendants on July 9. Fairchild said she would see if there was some way for her to be court on the 9th.
After much discussion, it was decided Omar and Keane would appear again at 2pm Wednesday July 9 in courtroom 111, Old City Hall. However, the date for Omar might change if Fairchild is unavailable on that day. Innes said "hopefully" the search warrant would be unsealed then.
Webb and his co-accused Isahaq Omar are on the 2 o'clock docket. Webb enters the court at 2:25pm and takes the seat next to me. He is a big fellow but has the face of a boy. He's wearing a white T-shirt and jeans cut below the knee. He's also wearing a gold chain and silver bracelet.
Crown prosecutor Michael Leshner is in the courtroom. At about 2:30 Omar and Webb's names are called. Leshner tells the Justice of the Peace that there are two defense lawyers in the courtroom for the unsealing of a search warrant. While everyone is waiting for the guard to bring Omar to the video room, Leshner remarks, "They are slow at the Don Jail today. They have a flood." He also says, "The information has to be traversed to 112."
Webb's lawyer is P. Fairchild. Omar is represented by the firm of Derstine Penman. Mariya Yakusheva is in court today as an agent for the firm. Leshner says the unsealing of the warrant will take place in courtroom 112 and that Innes, the Crown attorney assigned to this case, is there. The JP says Omar will be brought back to 111 at 2pm on Wednesday July 16. There is some discussion about when Webb should return. If I understood correctly, one of the lawyers said there was no point in setting a date in 111 because Webb still has to go to 112. However, the JP sets Webb's return date as 2pm July 16 in 111. Leshner says "I'll note up the brief." Fairchild says something about a "statement of issues."
At 2:45 Webb, Fairchild and Yakusheva go into 112. Omar can't appear because there's no video in 112. Aside from me and Webb there is only one other person in the body of the court (the benches where the public sits). Before the judge can deal with the unsealing of the warrant, the court has to hear a man plead guilty to breaking and entering at a convenience store on Gladstone. He has been in jail since December. The judge follows the recommendation of the Crown and sentences the man to time served and probation. In passing sentence, the judge notes the bad conditions at the Don Jail and the fact that the case was delayed because of problems with disclosure.
The judge reads over the order to unseal the warrant. He says, "I take it this is on consent." The lawyers say yes. The judge says he is concerned about some of the wording in the document. He says he may be overly concerned about what might simply be a small grammatical issue, but he just wants to make sure the lawyers have no problem with the wording in paragraph 4. He says, "What is it meant to achieve?" Innes says he's not sure. There is some discussion among the judge and the lawyers. At one point Innes says the wording may be there because "the press might make an application. The press or some other interested third party." In the end, everyone agrees to leave the wording as is.
Innes tells the court he will be on vacation next week and "My friends shouldn't expect the edited version to be ready any time soon." There is some laughter. There is discussion about when Webb should be brought back. Fairchild rejects one proposed date because it conflicts with her schedule. There is some discussion about whether Webb needs to be there at all. The judge tells Fairchild everything can be done without her client being present, but Fairchild insists her client needs to the there. The "statement of issues" is mentioned.
When the judge proposes another date for Webb to appear, Innes says Webb can't come on that date because it's not a Wednesday. The judge asks why the date has to be a Wednesday. Innes says, "That's the alphabetical system." He then explains to the judge that in courtroom 111 each day of the week is reserved for people whose surname begins within a certain range of letters. At one point in the discussion, Fairchild says there isn't anyone else in the firm who can appear. It has to be her. Webb's appearance date is finally set for 2pm Wednesday July 30 in courtroom 111. It wasn't clear to me if he still has to be appear with Omar on July 16.
After the date is settled, the judge hands the order unsealing the warrant to the lawyers.
Webb is on the 2pm docket in courtroom 111. Webb, who is out on bail, will be in court with his co-accused, Isahaq Omar, who will appear on video because he is in custody. Court starts at 2. The justice of the peace is James Cresswell. Shortly after the session begins, Webb walks in with other people. Webb talks to a court officer who tells him to go upstairs. Webb leaves and comes back. Webb tells the court officer he was supposed to be here at 9am. The officer tells him to take a seat and wait.
There is a problem with the video today. The audio is out of sync with the image. For a while the image is frozen, although the audio is working.
At 2:20 Webb appears before the JP. The JP tells Webb to take a seat for a moment while the court tries to make contact with Omar on video. Omar appears on the screen at 2:50pm. Webb approaches the bench. The court deals with another case before addressing Omar and Webb's matter. There is some discussion about the search warrant which hasn't been unsealed yet, because someone (a police officer?) is on holidays. The Crown attorney on duty, Delgato, mentions that Michael Innes is the Crown attorney assigned to the case. I have trouble hearing, but I think I hear Delgato say a preliminary hearing is scheduled for September 22 in G court. I don't know if this would be for both accused or not. Something is said about a "statement of issues" and a Judge Reinhart is mentioned. Omar and Webb are scheduled to come back to 111 on Wednesday August 13 at 2pm.
Courtroom 111, old City Hall. Webb and his co-accused, Isahaq Omar, are on the 2pm docket. Omar will appear by video while Webb who has been released on bail will come in person. The afternoon session begins at 2. There are a dozen people in the body of the court, including 3 reporters here for another case. Webb hasn't arrived yet, but his lawyer, Fairchild, arrives shortly after court starts. She searches the public benches probably for Webb. She leaves the courtroom and comes back. Webb arrives at 2:20 accompanied by a young black woman who may be his sister. Webb motions to Fairchild and the two leave briefly.
Omar appears on screen at 2:55. Webb approaches the bench with Fairchild. A female lawyer is there on behalf of the firm representing Omar. As they start talking, the duty counsel approaches people in the body of the court including me to ask if we have matters before the court. This makes it hard to hear the conversation in front of the bench. Omar's lawyer says something about disclosure. Crown attorney Michael Leshner asks Omar's lawyer if she needs a JPT (Judicial Pre-trial). I believe Omar's lawyer says Oct 27-8. Omar's lawyer wants to come back to 111 on August 27. Fairchild, however, wants to go straight to the preliminary hearing date. She says she keeps coming back to 111 "for no good reason." She says she doesn't need to file a statement of issues. Leshner says something about the search warrant. Omar tries to speak. The Justice of the Peace tells him to keep quiet: "Mr Omar. Please. You have a representative here."
The JP decides both accused should come back to 111 at 2pm on August 27. He says: "Two weeks Mr. Omar. You should be in touch with your lawyer." The discussion lasted five minutes.
Webb is on the 2pm docket. Webb, who is out on bail, will appear in person. His co-accused, Isahaq Omar, who is in custody, is scheduled to appear at the same time by video. At 2:10, Webb's lawyer, Fairchild, enters the courtroom. She scans the body of the court, presumably for her client, who isn't here yet. Ten minutes later Fairchild leaves the courtroom with Michael Innes, the crown attorney assigned to the case. They come back fifteen minutes later. Webb enters the courtroom separately. He sits down next to me in the front row. He's wearing a brown short, plaid pants that are cut off above the ankle, white running shoes, a gold necklace and a ring on his left hand. Crown attorney Michael Leshner tells Justice of the Peace James Cresswell that Innes is going to go across the street to see if he can resolve the matter. I don't understand what this means.
At 2:50 Isahaq Omar appears on screen and Webb goes up to the judge's bench. Fairchild says she's looking for "further disclosure." Omar's lawyer has received it, but Webb hasn't received his copy. Innes says there was a mix-up. The lawyer appearing for Omar says she's also waiting for some disclosure, but apparently not the same disclosure Fairchild is asking for. Cresswell asks whether this is a "guns and gangs" case. It is. Innes says he doesn't know when disclosure will be available.
There is a discussion about when to bring Omar and Webb back to court. There's a complication. Fairchild says she's about to begin a two-week trial. Omar's lawyer says if Fairchild files a designation she can act for Fairchild at the next appearance. Fairchild agrees. Fairchild says there's a "bail variation on consent" before the court. Cresswell says the variation "can be done all on paper." Cresswell decides both defendants will come back to court at 2pm on Wednesday September 10. Omar and Webb's appearance last five minutes. At 3, the video is shut off and the court starts to deal with "3 o'clock matters."
Meanwhile Fairchild has a quiet conversation with Webb in court. Webb leaves. Fairchild leaves and then comes back. She talks to the other defense lawyer. Then she talks to Innes and shows him a form.
Webb is on the 2pm docket in courtroom 111. His co-accused, Isahaq Omar, is scheduled to appear with him by video. The court session starts at 2:10. The Justice of the Peace is James Cresswell. Webb's lawyer, Fairchild, is present. Webb, who was out on bail, is back in custody. He is sitting in the prisoners box when court starts. Omar appears on screen at 2:35. Cresswell asks why Webb is here in person instead of on video. Fairchild explains that Webb had been out on bail but has since been re-arrested. The Crown attorney says that a preliminary hearing is set for October 27-8 in courtroom A, old City Hall. Cresswell sees no need to bring the two accused back to 111 before then.
Webb's co-accused Isahaq Omar makes a brief appearance in courtroom 111, but Webb is not on the docket.
Webb's co-accused Isahaq Omar makes a brief appearance in courtroom 111, but Webb is not on the docket.
A preliminary hearing for Webb and his co-accused Isahaq Omar was scheduled for 10am in courtroom A, old City Hall, but the hearing was postponed until tomorrow, because of a lockdown at the Don Jail that made it impossible for Omar to be brought to court. Webb, who is in custody at the Toronto East Detention Centre, was present.
I was in the courthouse at 9:30. Omar's lawyer, Dirk Derstine of Derstine Penman, was waiting outside the courtroom as were three police officers and the Crown attorney, a woman whose name I don't know. Derstine said he had heard that his client was at old City Hall because of a lockdown at the Don. There were also people present for another case scheduled for courtroom A. At 9:50 a court clerk came by to say that anyone having business in courtroom A should go downstairs to courtroom 123. (Courtroom A is on the third floor, courtroom 123 on the second.) She also put a sign on the door pointing people to 123. Everyone trooped downstairs.
Court doesn't start on time. While everyone is waiting for the judge to arrive, the clerk talks to the lawyers about the lockdown at the Don. The lawyers express their frustration with the delay. They don't understand why a lockdown stops the guard from bringing prisoners to court.
When the judge arrives at 10:20, she apologizes for being late. She talks to a lawyer who is here for another matter. She tells him she can't deal with his case right away, because she hasn't read the material yet. She says she will have time to read it on her break and the matter is postponed until later in the day.
Addressing the other lawyers, she says, "I don't know what we're doing today. Can anyone help me?" Webb's lawyer, Fairchild, says her client is in the courthouse, but Derstine points out that Omar is not: "I've heard a disturbing rumour he might not be joining us today." The Crown attorney says "It's my understanding that our two-day special has been moved here." The judge responds, "If that's what you tell me I'm doing that's what I'm doing." The lawyers and the police officers that are here for Omar and Webb's hearing leave.
The judge then hears a man named Simkin plead guilty to seven counts of illegal possession of a weapon and six counts of improper storage of a weapon. The court orders the man to go to CAMH for a psychological assessment. Sentencing is postponed until January.
At 10:45 the lawyers and the police officers here for Omar and Webb's hearing come back. After the Simkin matter is over, the Crown in the Omar/Webb matter tells the judge: "We've been advised that the jail will be in lockdown all day. We don't know what's happening there."
The judge asks if there's anything the court can do today to "streamline" the hearing "so that we don't lose a day." Derstine says the two officers most involved in the case are in the courtroom and he "would be content" to let them testify. The judge says that the accused doesn't have to be in court for a preliminary hearing, but he does have to be here for the arraignment. She says something about a "new provision" to the Criminal Code.
The Crown points that the Omar and Webb are co-accused and she is not prepared to proceed without both being present. After Derstine offers to consent going forward, the Crown says Omar isn't here and thus isn't fully informed.
The judge says she can do a case management meeting. When the judge asks about the availability of the lawyers, Fairchild says something about legal aid. The judge says the lawyers should go to the trial coordinators office "right now" to get a continuation date. The lawyers and the officers leave as does a court clerk. It's now 11:05. There are three people in the courtroom: the judge, the courtreporter and the CELOS researcher.
Ten minutes later the lawyers and the police officer return. The judge asks if Webb is here and then says "We'll have to bring him up." The Crown attorney says the trial coordinator wouldn't give them a firm continuation date because "it hasn't officially collapsed," but the date would probably be November 6. The judge asks if the coordinator gave a potential courtroom. The Crown says no. The Crown also says that to judge by the the amount of people crowding around the trial coordinators office the lockdown at the Don is affecting the "whole building."
While the court is waiting for the guards to bring Webb up, Fairchild hands the Crown a document that she shows the officers.
When the court officers lead Webb in, he's wearing a grey pinstripe suit and white dress shoes. The jacket is long and buttoned up. The designer label is still on the sleeve. His shirt is white and also buttoned up. He's not wearing a tie. His hair is neat and his beard trimmed. The judge explains the situation to him. Then she asks the Crown whether she should issue a bench warrant with discretion for him. The lawyers say yes. Then she asks if anyone knows where the hearing will resume tomorrow. The clerk makes a call, then says the hearing will be in 123.
The judge encourages the Crown and the defense to the discuss case together to see if they can "streamline" matters. The lawyers say they have had some discussions. Derstine says the hearing shouldn't last more than a day. He mentions that there was to have a been a third co-accused. He's referring to CourtCases.RyanRoweReid2008 who had been in custody with Omar, but was released on June 17 and then shot to death in Scarborough on August 10. Read more.
There was a preliminary hearing in courtroom 123. The evidence given in the hearing is covered by a publication ban. The hearing was held before Justice Marion Lane. The Crown attorney assigned to the case is Meghan Scott. Dirk Derstine represents Omar, while T. Fairchild represents Webb. The hearing will continue on Thursday November 6 at 10am in courtroom 123.
During the hearing a teacher came into the courtroom with a group of school children. I later heard that after the teacher and the children left the courtroom, the teacher asked his pupils what they thought was happening in court. The children said the people in court were talking about a car accident.
The bail hearing that started last Tuesday is supposed to continue today at 10am in courtroom 123, but it ends up being postponed. At a quarter to 10, I am sitting outside the courtroom along with the Crown and two police officers. As we are waiting for the door to be unlocked, a clerk walks up and posts a handwritten sign saying all cases scheduled for this courtroom are being transferred to 112. He says the judge has a family emergency.
The Crown, Meghan Scott, tells me she's not sure whether the hearing will still be held today or not. She goes with one of the police officers to the trial coordinator's office to see if the preliminary hearing will still be taking place. After they leave, the two defense lawyers come to 124. Told that Scott has gone to the trial coordinator's office, they go there too. Derstine sounds more than a little frustrated. He says scheduling "in custody" cases are "like pulling hen's teeth." They are difficult to arrange because it's hard finding a date when all the lawyers and witnesses are available.
After a little while, Scott and the police officer come back. They let me know that the hearing will continue at 10am on Friday November 14 in courtroom 124. Scott says she's sorry I wasted my time this morning. The police officer is also frustrated. When he gets on the phone, he starts swearing. The reaction of the lawyers and police officers to the postponement ranges from angry frustration to weary resignation. Nobody is happy.
The second of the preliminary hearing is scheduled for 10am in courtroom 124. The court session begins at 10:10. Justice Lane is presiding. The court deals with a couple of other cases before turning to the Omar/Webb hearing. Before the hearing begins, the defense lawyer, Derstine, suggests "there's a sporting chance we could be through this by noon." The Crown, Scott, says that's unlikely. Lane responds, "OK. You're telling me different things. Let's just get started." However, there's a short delay while the court waits for Omar and Webb to be brought in. The hearing lasts all day, but the evidence is covered by a publication ban. After the Crown and the defense have made their final submissions, Lane says her decision has a "certain urgency" because the two accused are in custody. She says she will make her ruling a "priority decision." She will give her decision on Wednesday December 10. The clerk calls to see what courtroom Lane will be in on that day, but she can't find out. Lane decides to send the case to 112. It will be on the 10am docket. From there it will be moved to whatever courtroom she is in.
During a break, I had a short conversation with one of the officers who has been working on the case. He tells me there's more to this story than has been revealed in the courtroom, but he can't comment any further.