|Blame Dunlop for Failed Prosecution: Retired Cop
By Trevor Pritchard
December 10, 2008
The blame for the failed 2001 prosecution of a city lawyer on sex abuse charges fell squarely on the shoulders of former cop Perry Dunlop, a retired Project Truth inspector told the Cornwall Public Inquiry.
"It's my view that Mr. Dunlop is directly responsible for (Jacques) Leduc's ultimate case," Det. Insp. Pat Hall testified Tuesday.
Hall, who spent 36 years with the Ontario Provincial Police, was one of two case managers on Project Truth, a four-year investigation into allegations a clan of pedophiles ritually abused children in the Cornwall area.
One of the 15 men arrested during Project Truth was Leduc, who was charged with sexually abusing three teenage boys. The charges were stayed in March 2001, however, after a judge ruled Crown attorney Shelley Hallett withheld from the defence a conversation between Dunlop and the mother of one of Leduc's alleged victims.
Yesterday was Hall's sixth full day on the stand at the inquiry, and his first full day of cross-examination.
He had already testified he felt Hallett lied to Leduc's lawyers about her knowledge of the conversation. A memo Hallett sent to Project Truth in July 2000 suggested she had a copy of a lengthy statement Dunlop gave three months earlier, where he spelled out his contact with the alleged victim's mother.
But Hall told Citizens for Community Renewal attorney Helen Daley that Dunlop should have disclosed his statement as early as 1998, when Project Truth began pressuring him in earnest to turn over his files.
"We would have had it, it would've been in the file, we would've had knowledge of it right from the get-go," said Hall.
Dunlop has flatly refused to testify at the inquiry, which is probing how institutions like the OPP responded to allegations of historical sexual abuse.
For making that decision, he was convicted on contempt charges and spent seven months behind bars.
Daley laid out the reasons why any contact with Dunlop -whom she described as "the go-to man in Cornwall" for male sexual abuse complainants -would have been an extremely important factor in criminal trials where there was more than one alleged victim.
Multiple people telling similar stories of abuse would strengthen the case against their alleged perpetrator, said Daley -but only if the victims were acting "totally independent of one another."
"Because if they are not independent of one another, and they have . . . worked out their stories or shared information, the entire scenario is not (as) convincing," said Daley.
"If that can be shown," said Hall.
"And in fact, this is precisely what Leduc's counsel . . . explained to the court (during the motion to stay his charges)," replied Daley.
Daley asked if Project Truth ever considered issuing a press release so that complainants would come to the OPP or the Cornwall Police Service instead of Dunlop.
"I don't think it would be appropriate to go out in the public to say, 'Don't speak to Mr. Dunlop, call us," said Hall.
Hall testified it wasn't Project Truth's role to ask the CPS to discipline or fire Dunlop.
Project Truth had suggested the Cornwall police launch its own investigation into Dunlop's actions in 1998, Hall said, but the CPS wanted "something on paper" from the OPP first.
"That would be construed as we were investigating Mr. Dunlop, which we didn't want to do," said Hall.
In addition to Leduc -who at one time was the lawyer for the Alexandria-Cornwall Roman Catholic Diocese -Project Truth also investigated sexual abuse allegations against a number of Catholic priests.
Dallas Lee, an attorney for The Victims Group, showed Hall a March 2001 memo written by diocesan lawyer Brian Saunderson the day after Leduc's charges were stayed.
According to the memo, Hall went into great detail with Saunderson about his concerns with both Hallett and Dunlop, calling the latter's investigative techniques "substandard" and suggesting he should have been criminally charged.
Lee said there were allegations against a number of priests before the courts. He asked Hall if he thought his own comments could have been "detrimental" to the ongoing prosecutions.
"You strike me as rather strong-minded, and I'm sure you wouldn't have any problem not answering (his) questions," said Lee.
Hall said he was simply trying to be co-operative.
"I gave information to various people," he said. "So if you feel it's inappropriate, so be it."
Hall's testimony resumes this morning at 9:30 a. m.
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