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Nosa Idalu Iyirhiaro

Unless otherwise noted, reports on this page were written by M. Monastyrskyj, CELOS researcher

Tuesday October 7, 2008

Police arrest Iyirhiaro near Bloor and Delaware. Police say at 7:30pm they saw a man drinking in a doorway on Bloor. When they approached him, he ran away. He threw a loaded handgun at him and continued to run. He was found in a nearby garage and arrested. See the police press release.

Wednesday October 8, 2008

According to the police press release, Iyirhiaro is scheduled to appear at 10am in courtroom 101. CELOS wasn't present, because the press release was issued on Thursday.

Friday October 10, 2008

From past experience, I know accused people who appear in courtroom 101 sometimes stay there for a few days. At 10am I go to courtroom 101 on the chance Iyirhiaro will appear again today. He does. He is one of the first people in the prisoners' box today. Duty counsel tells the court that his lawyer hasn't arrived yet. He is represented by Derstine Penman. (Dirk Derstine also represents Isahaq Omar.)

There are reporters in the courtroom because Kevin Pinto, the investment officer turned bank robber, is making a appearance. When Pinto enters the box at 10:20, he is given a new court date. The reporters leave. The man from Bloomberg News tells me, "That's it for us today." As the reporters leave en masse, one of the court clerks says to the other, "Media."

At 10:35 one of the duty counsels says the court is still missing five people from the Don Jail. Not having anything to do, the court takes a twenty-five minute recess. While I am sitting in the corridor waiting for court to resume, a young well-dressed black woman next to me is reading Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace. When court starts she enters the courtroom after me.

Court recesses again at 10:50. I see Dirk Derstine in the corridor. Wearing a leather jacket and blue jeans, he doesn't seem dressed for court. I also see his partner Jennifer Penman. She is talking to the woman who was reading the Atwood novel. While I am waiting in the corridor, I see a police officer who was in court during Isahaq Omar's bail hearing. His name is Jason and he is an investigator in the Toronto police major crimes division. He is here for Iyirhiaro. He wants to know if Iyirhiaro has been up yet and who his lawyer is. I ask him if he made the arrest. He says no. He's on the investigation side. The arrest was made by the bicycle officers who work for the Community Response Unit (CRU). When he sees the Crown attorney, he goes to talk to her.

When court resumes at 12:10 the police officer and Penman are sitting in the bench in front of me. Penman asks Jason if he will fax her office his notes on the case. Iyirhiaro is the person up. Penman asks for a show cause (bail) hearing at 10am on Thursday October 16 in courtroom 101. The JP and the Crown agree.

Thursday October 16, 2008

Summary of what happened today:

Iyirhiaro is on the 10am docket in courtroom 101 old City Hall but when he appears in the morning his lawyer isn't present. When his lawyer, David Steinberg of Derstine Penman, does appear there's another delay, because the Crown attorney on duty needs to check if a Crown attorney has been assigned to this case which might be a guns and gangs case. The bail hearing begins at 2:40 and ends at 4. The Crown attorney on duty represents the prosecution. Because a firearm is involved the onus is on the defense to show why Iyirhiaro should be released. Most charges are Crown onus meaning the burden is on the Crown to show why a defendant should held in custody). Justice of the Peace Theresa Jewitt decides the defense hasn't met its burden and Iyirhiaro has to stay in custody. The court has concerns on all three grounds: primary, secondary and tertiary. Iyirhiaro is told to come back to court on Tuesday Noveber 4. He will appear by video in 114 at 11am and by vdieo in 111 at 2pm.


Iyirhiaro is on the 10am docket in courtroom 101 old City Hall. He is scheduled for a show cause (bail) hearing. At 9:45am a lawyer I don't recognize calls out in the corridor "Anyone here for Nosa?" Two young black men wearing baseball caps go over to talk to him. Iyiarhiaro's mother, sister and friends are sitting on the bench outside the courtroom. (The lawyer I don't recognize is David Steinberg of Derstine Penman.)

Court starts on time at 10. Iyirhiaro comes before the court at 10:20. He is a tall, slim black man aged 22. His hair is short and he is wearing a white T-shirt and track pants. He has a Canadian accent and in court speaks with a soft voice.

Justice of the Peace Theresa Jewitt notes that the drug charges against him which are federal have been delegated to the provincial Crown for the purpose of the show cause hearing only. In other words there will be one bail hearing for all the charges and the prosecution side will be represented by the provincial Crown attorney.

Jewitt wants to know if Iyirhiaro's lawyer in in court. A clerk says that Steinberg was in the courtroom but has left. Iyirhiaro tells the JP he spoke to Steinberg earlier today. This answer doesn't satsify Jewitt who responds, "Why isn't your lawyrer here now?" Iyirhiaro asks if he can contact his lawyer. The JP says if his lawyer is in the courthouse the answer is no. She adds, "The problem with your lawyer not being here is that you drop to the bottom of the list. Maybe we can get to your matter before the end of the day." The duty counsel says to Iyirhiaro "I'll see if there's a message from your lawyer." Guards take Iyirhiaro out of the courtroom.

At 10:55 Jewitt recess the court for an hour because there are no cases that can be dealt with right away. Outside the courtroom sitting on a bench in the corridor are people I later learn are family and friends of Iyirhiaro including his mother and sister. At 11:55 court breaks again for a twenty-minute recess. As everyone leaves the courtroom a lawyer walks in saying "They're not taking another break are they?" Out in the corridor Steinberg talks to Iyirhiaro's sister. I'm not sure, but I believe this the same woman I saw last week reading Alias Grace.

Court resumes at 12:30. Steinberg is in the courtroom. He asks about Iyirhiaro and tells the JP he's ready to proceed. The Crown attorney says that due to the nature of the charges which involves a firearm she needs to check with a Mr. Bennett to see if this is a guns and gang case and if a Crown attorney has been assigned to the case. The Crown would like to check on the lunch break but Jewitt says "Why not check now? I would like to get started." Steinberg would like to start now because a number of sureties are present and one has come all the way from Ottawa. A few minutes later Jewitt asks the clerk if he called the Crown's office. He has but he's waiting for Bennett to call back. Steinberg asks Jewitt if the bail hearing will be held in any case. Jewitt says yes and Steinberg leaves.

Court breaks for lunch around one and resumes at 2:30. At the start of the afternoon session, Jewitt says, "We won't be able to get to everyone who is ready to proceed. It's as simple as that. We've had one offer of assistance from 111 and that's it. Before the court can get to Iyirhiaro's bail hearing, Jewitt has a brief shouting match with an older male lawyer named Scofied.

Iyirhiaro's bail hearing starts at 2:40. Because a firearm is involved the case is reverse onus, meaning it's up to the defense to show on a balance of probabilities why Iyirhiaro should be released. (Most charges are Crown onus meaning the burden is on the Crown to show why a defendant should held in custody). The hearing lasts until 4. Jewitt makes her ruling on the spot. She decides the defense has not met its burden and Iyirhiaro must remain custody. She says the court has concerns on primary, secondary and tertiary grounds. Primary grounds have to do with whether a defendant is likely to show up for court. Secondary grounds have to do with whether a defendant is likely to reoffend or interfere with witnesses. Tertiary grounds have to do with whether releasing the defendant would bring the administration of justice into disrepute.

Iyirhiaro is told to come back to court on Tuesday November 4. He will appear by video in 114 at 11am and by video in 111 at 2pm.

Tuesday November 4, 2008

Iyirhiaro, who is in custody at the Don Jail, is on the 11am video docket in courtroom 114 for his federal charges. He comes on screen at 11:25. The defense wants to know if disclosure is ready. The Crown points out that this is Iyirhiaro's first appearance since the show cause (bail) hearing. The defense asks for a remand date of November 18. The Crown and the Justice of the Peace agree to the date.

Iyirhiaro is also on the 2pm video docket in courtroom 111 for his provincial charges. He comes on screen at 2:25. Duty counsel says his lawyer has a left a message asking for a return date of two weeks. The Crown attorney, Flaherty, says "disclosure is in the brief." Iyirhiaro will return to courtroom 111 at 2pm on Tuesday November 18.

Tuesday November 18, 2008

Iyirhiaro is on the 11am video docket in courtroom 114. He is there for his federal charges. Iyirhiaro's lawyer has left a message with duty counsel asking if disclosure is available. It isn't. The defense wants Iyirhiaro to return on December 2. The Crown and Justice of the Peace agree.

Iyirhiaro is on the 2pm video docket in courtroom 111. He is there for provincial charges. He comes on screen at 2pm. A student is present to act as agent for Derstine Penman. The Crown attorney on duty, Flaherty, has some disclosure for the defense. He asks the student if her firm has received some other disclosure. She says it has. The Justice of the Peace tells Iyirhiaro to come back to 111 on December 2.

Tuesday December 2, 2008

Iyirhiaro is on the 11am video docket in courtroom 114. However, there is a lockdown at the Don Jail. This means prisoners in that jail, including Iyirhiaro, cannot brought to the video conferencing room. His name is called at 12:30. A student acting as agent for Derstine Penman is in court. She says something about disclosure. The Justice of the Peace agrees to bring Iyirhiaro back by video at 2pm on Tuesday December 16. Because Iyirhiaro isn't able to appear, the JP issues a bench warrant with discretion.

From the website of the Ministry of the Attorney-General:

Bench Warrant

An order issued by a judge to a police officer for the arrest of a person who has failed to appear, or remain in attendance, at a hearing or trial. Bench warrants are a form of arrest warrants.

Discretionary Bench Warrant

In circumstances where a person does not appear in court, the court may extend a courtesy by issuing a bench warrant "with discretion". The matter is adjourned to a future date and, if the person appears at that time, the warrant is cancelled.

Iyirhiaro is also on the 2pm docket in courtroom 111. Again he doesn't appear on the screen because of the lockdown at the Don. The student acting for his counsel asks that he be brought back in two weeks. The JP issues another bench warrant with discretion. His next appearance in 111 will be on Tuesday December 16.

Tuesday December 16, 2008

Iyirhiaro is on the 2pm docket in courtroom 111. The CELOS researcher isn't present because he has to be in another courtroom for another case.

Monday December 22, 2008

The CELOS researcher asks the clerk at Old City Hall about Iyirhiaro's next court date. Iyirhiaro is scheduled to appear in courtroom 111 at 9am on Tuesday December 30 and at 11am in the same day in courtroom 114. Iyirhiaro is appearing in two different courtrooms because he faces two sets of charges. His drug charges, which are federal, are handled in courtroom 114. His gun and other charges, which are provincial, are handled in courtroom 111.

Tuesday December 30, 2008

Last week the court clerk said Iyirhiaro would be on the 9am docket today in courtroom 111. This is unusual because Iyirhiaro is in custody and usually appears by video. Video appearances in 111 take place at 2pm, while people who are out of custody appear at 9am. When I get to Old City Hall, I go to the provincial Crown's office on the first floor to check the printout of today's docket. However, the printout isn't on the counter.

When the session begins in 111, the court deals with out of custody matters. The Justice of the Peace, James Cresswell, says something in passing about the printout listing video appearances at 9am. Court recesses at 9:35.

During the break, I go to the clerk's office on the second floor to see if they have a printout of today's docket. They do. According to the printout, Iyirhiaro is on the 9am list.

When court resumes at 10:15, it only has a few more out of custody matters to deal with. At 10:35, Cresswell asks, "So what are we going to do now? Nobody is left in the body of the court." Cresswell agrees with the lawyers to recess the court until 2pm. He asks the clerk to put a sign on the door letting people know that court will be back in session at 2.

Iyirhiaro is also on the 11am video docket in courtroom 114 for his federal charges. He appears at 11:35. A law student, L. Giordano, is acting as agent for the defence firm of Derstine Penman. She says her firm has made two unsuccessful attempts to book pre-trials with the Crown's office. The Crown attorney on duty says there can't be a pre-trial before the defence has received disclosure. Giordano says the defence has already gotten disclosure. The Crown attorney says it has more disclosure and hands some documents to Giordano.

The defence wanted Iyirhiaro to return on January 13, but the Justice of the Peace says that's not possible because the brief (the file containing the history of the case) can't be in court that day. The JP says something about needing "3 clear days". I don't know what this means. The JP tells Iyirhiaro to return to 114 at 11am on Friday January 16.

Giordano appears frustrated. She shakes her head and says something to another lawyer in court. When she leaves the courtroom, I tell her CELOS is interested in the reasons why cases take so long to move through the courts and ask her about the problem she had booking a pre-trial. She says she can't comment on that.

At 2pm, I am back in courtroom 111. Apparently, there was a mistake on the printout. At one point during the session, Cresswell tells a man in court, "Don't worry. It's just the way the list was printed out." At another point, the Crown attorney on duty asks, "Do you know what institution Iyirhiaro is in?" Giordano, who is in court, says "The Don."

Iyirhiaro appears on screen at 2:20. The Crown attorney on duty says the Crown assigned to the case, Flaherty, is off for a week. She notes that disclosure has been provided. Giordano says the defence has tried to arrange a pre-trial but without success. The JP orders Iyirhiaro to come back to 111 by video at 2pm on Tuesday January 13.

Tuesday January 13, 2009

Iyirhiaro is scheduled to appear by video at 2pm in courtroom 111. No one from CELOS is present. Iyirhiaro's next court date is 11am Friday January 16 in courtroom 114.

Friday January 16, 2009

Iyirhiaro is on the 11am video docket in courtroom 14. No one from CELOS is present.

Tuesday May 25, 2009

When I arrive at Old City Hall for a court case, I usually go to provincial Crown office on the first floor to take a look at a printed copy of the day's court docket (the list of all the cases being heard that day). When I check the docket today, I see that Iyirhiaro is on the 10am docket in courtroom 112, which is where people accused of crimes go if they are ready to plead guilty. By the time I get to court it's almost 2 o'clock but I still go to 112 because experience has taught me there's a good chance Iyirhiaro has not come up yet.

Court is in recess. Before it resumes at 2:15pm, I ask a clerk if Iyirhiaro has been up yet. A man in court who turns out to be a policeman tells me Iyirhiaro has been held down. This means he appeared earlier but the court hasn't finished dealing with him today.

Court officers bring Iyirhiaro up at 2:50. He is wearing a dark-coloured blazer. He has short hair, a mustache and a trimmed goatee.

The discussion is confusing at first because I didn't hear what happened in court earlier in the day. The judge asks if there have been any developments with regard to potential dates. Someone points out that it was the Crown who made the the application for adjournment. It turns out a preliminary hearing has been scheduled but needs to be postponed because two of the witness officers will be in Vancouver for the police games.

Despite expressing some reservations, the judge agrees to set Aug 18-9 as the new date for the preliminary hearing. The hearing will start at 10am August 18 in courtroom 121. However, Iyirhiaro will also be brought back to courtroom 112 on June 9. This interim date is necessary because Iyirhiaro's lawyer has to file a statement of issues. Statement of issues are filed before judicial pre-trial conferences, but I didn't hear anything about a JPT today in court. A judicial pre-trial is a meeting held behind closed doors between the Crown and the defence before a judge. A preliminary hearing is held in open court though they are usually subject to a publication ban. During a preliminary hearing the Crown presents its case before a judge who has decided if the Crown's case is strong enough to bring to court.

Tuesday June 9, 2009

Iyirhiaro was on the 10am docket in courtroom 112. There is no video in 112. Prisoners come in person. I was in another courtroom when he was brought in but I spoke briefly to the Crown attorney on duty. She told me he appeared in the morning. His appearance was short. The court confirmed the date of his preliminary hearing: August 18-19 in courtroom 121. The hearing starts at 10am.

Content last modified on June 09, 2009, at 08:18 PM EST