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Carter Trial Ends
January 28, 2015 permalink
Chris Carter, who was arrested three years ago and charged with impersonation, was acquitted at his trial on Monday, but fined $400 for breaching a publication ban. Fixcas has earlier articles on this arrest and prosecution:    .
Chris has fared better than his accuser. At the time he was arrested, the executive director of Chatham-Kent CAS was Mike Stephens. Mr Stephens retired prematurely when an audit disclosed financial chaos at his agency.
Former Canada Court Watch member fined
After almost 30 court appearances spanning 35 months on two criminal charges, Chris Carter left the Chatham courthouse a free man Monday.
Citing case law and his review of the Crown's evidence, Ontario Court Justice Paul Kowalyshyn dismissed a charge of personation with intent, but found the 48-year-old guilty of breaching a publication ban which was a condition of his bail.
For the breach, Carter was fined $400 and given six months to pay.
Assistant Crown attorney James Boonstra sought a "short, sharp custodial sentence" of seven to 10 days in jail.
Boonstra said the time would be appropriate given the defendant's dated record of an offence "against the administration of justice" in Guelph in 2005.
However, unlike the time of Carter's most recent arrest and first court appearances, there was no fanfare on this occasion.
No information pickets and no show of support in the courtroom to witness his fate.
Carter grabbed headlines in February 2012 organizing rallies and pickets against the treatment of families by Chatham-Kent Children's Services.
It was an incident at the society that led to his arrest.
During the trial, court heard Carter identified himself as Anthony O'Reilly and told a staff member he had come as an advocate for a man who had a meeting with a case worker at the society.
The agency later learned the man purporting to be Anthony O'Reilly was really Chris Carter, a self- described activist with Canada Court Watch.
The judge found all the defendant did was use a pseudonym.
"As far as he knew, Anthony O'Reilly represented a fictitious person because he made up the name using his middle name and his mother's maiden name," Kowalyshyn said.
At the time of his arrest, Carter told media it was his intent to put Children's Aid Societies under a microscope.
Until Monday, the publication ban prevented media from publishing evidence given during 28 days Carter used to argue motions and represent himself in court.
During the trial, the judge told the defendant on numerous occasions he was "off topic and to please move on."
At one point in the trial when Carter continued to use expletives to express his frustration with the justice system, Kowalyshyn said he would rise for a brief recess.
"The judge is abandoning the bench," Carter said in a raised voice from the public gallery where he stood during much of the proceedings.
While in the witness box, Carter testified he was approached by a blogger to record a video the day after his release on bail.
The judge found Carter was not responsible for uploading the video to YouTube which prompted police to charge him with breach of his bail conditions.
However Kowalyshyn said Carter clearly knew he was bound by a publication ban and mentioned people by name in the recording.
Carter had testified he only spoke of the events that led up to his arrest on a video to record his memory of what had transpired while it was still fresh in his mind.
While in court Monday, Carter continued his custom of refusing to move into the body of the courtroom where microphones are placed to record proceedings.
"If it's not compulsory, I'm not going to do it," Carter said.
"It's the procedure, something that is ordinarily required, but Mr. Carter let's just move on to the decision," Kowalyshyn said.
Later, outside the courtroom, Carter told The Chatham Daily News he no longer represents Canada Court Watch and he will appeal the judge's findings.
"It's being shoved down my throat," he said.
Source: Chatham Daily News