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Free Court Transcripts

February 25, 2009 permalink

Chris Carter separated from his wife and they litigated over the children. Dufferin VOCA does not report on that kind of case, but during their squabbles children's aid grabbed the children. Mr Carter went to trial against children's aid two years ago, and tells us in a slightly edited report below that he is expecting another trial soon in which the judge offered him free court transcripts. We also copy his posting to the Canada Court Watch Canadian Judge's Registry, giving the results of the earlier trial. The lawyer Kim Putman for Waterloo CAS is the daughter of long-term Dufferin CAS executive director Gary Putman (confirming that child abuse is hereditary!). Comments follow the documents.



In Ontario section 136 of the Ontario Courts of Justice Act allows any individual to record Court appearances under certain conditions.

Today (Tuesday Feb. 24/09) we were in front of the Honourable Mr. Justice Hearn at the Kitchener location of the Ontario Court of Justice for a pre-Trial “speak to” appearance to resolve some preliminary issues.

Fortunately, Justice Hearn seems very fair, impartial, objective, professional and, unlike our previous Judge, not unduly aligned with any of the relevant/involved parties.

I’m going to appear on my own behalf in a 2nd Trial against the Children’s Aid Society of the Regional Municipality of Waterloo (CAS RMW).

The 1st Trial ran 22 days from Aug. 20/07-June 6/08 at the Cambridge location of the Ontario Court of Justice with her Honour Madam Justice ‘Paddy’ Hardman presiding.

She ruled against me/us and in favour of my former spouse.

To provide context please read the accounts:

  1. “Father Stonewalled” on and
  2. Justice ‘Paddy’ Hardman on Canada Court Watch’s “Canadian Judge’s Registry”

Anyway, in a very reasonable manner his Honour Justice Hearn asked that I not tape record…I had pre-informed the Court via a Trial Co-coordinator that I would be taping today’s and all other appearances.

When I asserted my right to tape record his Honour suggested that, as a compromise, the Court would provide me and the CAS RMW with transcripts of the proceedings.

I raised, with his Honour, the issue of parents having complained that some statements which were made during Court appearances never made it into transcripts they had ordered.

His Honour acquiesced when I asserted that if I were to agree to his Honour’s recommended course of action each and every word spoken in the proceeding would be have to be included in the transcript.

This (free provision of transcripts to self-represented parents/families) could go a long way to exposing the CAS and what is going on in certain Justices’ Courtrooms.

Source: email from Chris Carter

Hello, my name is Chris Carter and I’m writing from Cambridge, Ontario which is in the Region of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

In a 22 day trial I did against the Children’s Aid Society of the Regional Municipality of Waterloo (CAS RMW), Justice P.A. ‘Paddy’ Hardman violated, among other offenses, the Ontario Courts of Justice Act and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and my rights and protections as established by those two legal documents.

To provide some context, on the 1st day of trial Aug. 20/07 Justice Hardman stated that in her 18 years on the bench she had never ruled against a CAS on even one occasion.

However, her most serious (of numerous) violation(s) occurred on (what turned out to be) the last day of trial, June 6/08.

To provide further context, Justice Hardman had repeatedly told me that she would not allow me to turn the trial into an Inquiry of the CAS RMW.

On that day, I had the CAS RMW executive director Peter Ringrose on the witness stand. Ringrose was livid that a mere plebeian like myself would have demonstrated the (Irish-Newfie) temerity to “Summons to Witness” one as (self) exalted as his ‘highness’ the executive director of the CAS RMW.

During the trial the CAS WR lawyer Kim Putman had asked my witnesses if their families had ever been investigated by a CAS re: child protection concerns.

With a turn about being fair play here in Canada, I asked Ringrose the same question: “Has your family ever been investigated by a CAS for child protection concerns?” (I had read on that his granddaughter had died, tragically, in an automobile accident under questionable circumstances).

Upon me having stated and her having heard the question, CAS RMW lawyer Kim Putman immediately interjected and stated that executive director Ringrose (self-exalted though he may consider himself to be) shouldn’t have to answer the question.

Justice Hardman asked me if I had any specific knowledge re: a child protection investigation having been done re: Ringrose’s family.

I refused to provide Justice Hardman with the information. She hadn’t asked the CAS lawyer Putman that question prior to allowing the Putman to ask and expecting my witnesses to answer that question so I felt it was improper for her to expect that kind of information from me.

She ordered me to move on to another question.

I asked a few more questions and then went back to the child protection investigation question.

Upon me having stated and her having heard the question, Justice Hardman ordered the trial finished, against my will and stated wishes and before I had called all of the witnesses I had officially notified the Court and other parties I would be calling and, very importantly, without Ringrose being compelled to answer the question.

Justice Hardman issued her “Reasons for Decision” on September 3, 2008 and ruled against us.

I completed and filed the official Form 38: Notice of Appeal to Justice Hardman’s Decision and registered it with the Superior Court of Justice in Kitchener Ontario on October 3, 2008 but the Appeal couldn’t go forward as I couldn’t afford to pay for the Trial tapes (22 days=probably over $15 000.00) as procedurally required.

I’m not done by a long shot.

Since then, I’ve ‘screamed bloody murder’ re: Justice Hardman’s management of the case every time I’ve been in Court in front of another judge.

During a recent Hearing a judge, Justice Frazier, expressed anger at me for having spoken out against Justice Hardman.

In an upcoming trial which’ll probably begin sometime this spring 2009…

(my second Trial against the CAS RMW in a year and a half…significant when you consider that the CAS RMW is (or was) the most litigious CAS in the Central-West Region according to info provided on their own website’s 2002/3 Annual Report)

…the Chief Administrative Justice for this Area, a Mr. Justice Hearn, has become involved: he heard the Trial Management Conference on Jan. 15/09, moved the case/file from Cambridge, Ont. to Kitchener, Ont. (it was explained to me that he did this to prevent Justice Hardman, who almost always presides over CAS trials in Cambridge from possibly being assigned to this trial as well) and will preside over our “speak to” appearance this coming Tuesday Feb. 24/09 (as I write this it is Thursday Feb. 19/09).

I’m planning on tape-recording the Trial and I’d love for a Canada Court Watch representative to be in Court and attend the Trial.

At the Trial Management Conference on Jan. 15/09 I informed Justice Hearn that I would be calling, among others, the Minister of Children and Youth Services Deb Matthews as a witness and that I estimated that my part of the trial would take at least 30 days.

He seemed to accept these statements by me as legitimate.

We need help from Canada Court Watch and (please read the report Father Stonewalled on…it’s about us).

Please help us.

Chris Carter

Ps: thanks for the article and info re: “tape-recording your own Trial.” If it wasn’t for Canada Court Watch I would’ve never known I could do so.

Source: Canada Court Watch Canadian Judge's Registry — use the inner scroll bar and the page skip button

Comments: A few years ago Canada Court Watch reported that parents in family court were prevented from recording their case. Judges ordered recording devices seized, but even before parents got to the courtroom cops searched them and seized the recording equipment, sometimes taking parents into a private room where they were roughed up. Over the last two years practice changed. In several cases parents recorded their own case unmolested. Perhaps the attorney general has instructed the judge's union (or whatever they call themselves) to give family court litigants the benefit of the law on recordings. The judge's union still does not like recordings, because they could be embarrassed and damaged by a posting to YouTube.

Back to the Carter case, since the judge cannot now seize Mr Carter's recorder, his offer to provide a free transcript may be his last-ditch effort to keep control of the record. A judge is under no obligation to keep a promise to put every word in the transcript. A prejudicial statement by the judge such as "In [my] 18 years on the bench [ I have ] never ruled against a CAS on even one occasion," will be deleted from the transcript. And a parent may at some point say: "Your worship, I wish to introduce the report of doctor Baker", to which the judge replies "Disallowed". An appellate court may decide the judge should have said "Allowed", giving the litigant the right to a new trial. When the trial judge drops the exchange from the transcript, there can be no appeal since appellate courts only review issues in the transcript.