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Getting Mad at CAS is a Crime

February 16, 2008 permalink

Can anyone understand why the father of a stolen baby feels hostile toward the thief? Any normal parent can, but the worker herself pretends she cannot. A Vaughan father who apparently thought he was posting to a private area on Facebook has been criminally charged for making a death threat. People habitually use the word "kill" to privately express anger without any threat to the peace. See, for example, the movie Twelve Angry Men starring Henry Fonda. In the Facebook case the cops penetrated privacy to expose the angry outburst.



Man allegedly threatened to suicide-bomb CAS

February 13, 2008

A Vaughan man whose baby was seized by the Children's Aid Society allegedly threatened to suicide-bomb the CAS and kill the nurse who notified the agency in a graphic Facebook message, court heard this week. "When I find what nurse called the CAS, may God have mercy on my soul because I'm going straight to hell with a 25-year pit stop in prison", a message on the man's Facebook site stated, alluding to the minimum term for first-degree murder. "Plan B we have firearms and the manpower."

Another posting stated: Bob (not his name) is going to suicidal-bomb the CAS.

The 26-year-old man, who cannot be identified because his now five-month-old son is in CAS care, has pleaded not guilty to writing a death threat to York Central nursing instructor Debora Flachner and members of York Region CAS as well as three breaches of a weapons prohibition (a pellet-gun).

The accused man's son was apprehended by York Regional Children's Aid Society two weeks after he was born on Sept. 5, 2007, at York Central Hospital in Richmond Hill. "I felt absolutely terrified in reading it because it was possible this person was thinking about planning a murder-suicide", testified Flachner as she recalled reading the Facebook postings on Nov. 20, 2007.

Flachner was unaware of the Facebook threats which were posted in mid-September last year until York Regional Police brought them to her attention in late November.

"I happened to be the person who filled out the paperwork, to put financial assistance in place for the mother.

"I put a question mark whether the child's mother was developmentally delayed."

But the child went home with the mother and grandmother,she told the court.

"I felt absolutely terrified that I was his focus. He sounded unpredictable.

"I didn't go home. I went into hiding and stayed in a hotel (until the accused was arrested Nov. 23)", Flachner told Justice Richard Blouin of the Ontario Court of Justice.

Flachner was unaware of the Facebook threats which were posted in mid-September last year until York Regional Police brought them to her attention in late November.

Flachner admitted under cross-examination by the father's lawyer, Sam Goldstein, that the father never had any contact with her, never appeared at her home or the hospital where she works or on the street.

She also read a blunt warning from one of the accused's friends on his Facebook, stating: Don't do anything stupid.

"I can't believe you put those threats in public."

Goldstein said his client's behaviour is inappropriate, not criminal, and the father interacted with the Childrens Aid Society for 65 days without incident, showing the threats weren't real.

His client met with Childrens Aid Society officials in October and early November, agreeing to take parenting courses and indicating he wanted to take legal action to regain custody of his child, court heard.

Contact between the father and the Childrens Aid Society was abruptly cut off once a Childrens Aid Society employee surfing Childrens Aid Society-related Facebook websites discovered the disturbing messages and alerted her employer.

Source: Northern News

Addendum: Our original post erroneously said a guilty plea had been entered in the case. In fact, the trial continued and the accused was found not guilty.



National Post, Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Facebook threats showed no intent

Judge Issues Acquittal

Shannon Kari, National Post Published: Tuesday, March 04, 2008

NEWMARKET, Ont. - A 26-year-old man who wrote of a plan to bomb a Toronto-area children's aid society in postings on his Facebook page has been acquitted of threatening charges after a judge accepted that writings on the popular site are part of a fantasy environment that should not necessarily be taken seriously.

Justice Richard Blouin accepted that D.S. (who cannot be identified because his son is in the care of children's aid) was "blowing off steam" with his postings and did not have the intent to prove a criminal charge of threatening.

The postings were misguided, yet "they were not meant to intimidate," the provincial court judge said yesterday.

D.S. started a group on the social networking site after his infant son was apprehended by the York Region Children's Aid Society. The group included a discussion board called "C.A.S. sucks" where D.S. posted messages that detailed his frustration.

He stated that if he found out the name of the hospital nurse who contacted children's aid, he would be going "straight to Hell" with a "25-year pit stop" in prison. There were also postings that talked of a suicide bomb attack.

Police were contacted last November after a children's aid employee searched Facebook for any references to the York Region C.A.S. and found the postings.

"I fully understand the response of the hospital, C.A.S. and the police," said Judge Blouin. But he said he accepted the testimony of D.S. and that of an expert on Facebook to provide context to the postings.

Jesse Hirsh, who consults to businesses about the use of Facebook, testified last month that it is a "fantasy-based environment" where people embellish their comments to try to attract online "friends."

Facebook users "in effect, construct an alternate persona," Judge Blouin noted in his ruling, in reference to the expert testimony.

As well, the judge said he accepted the testimony of D.S. and observed that while the postings were online, the young man had regular contact with children's aid, where he was polite and concerned about his son.

Source: National Post