Friday, 24 February 2012

Hanoski case registered in Toronto court. Out of town is not out of touch.

Father René Labelle charged with sexual abuse by the Ontario Provincial Police. This is the way it is supposed to work.
by Tom Thorne
Father René Labelle was charged yesterday by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) in Kingston, Ontario with alleged sexual assault of a teenage boy in 2004. Now this is the way it is supposed to work unlike the Hanoski case which is resorting to a civil court action to make a case.
In addition, the Hanoski civil case is launched in Toronto Ontario Superior Court which makes it difficult to get at the court documents without making an expensive 200 km. trip to see them. Any activity on this case will take place in Toronto far away from Belleville and Kingston. Perhaps the strategy is to be out of sight and out of mind? 
The Labelle case will get a plea from the defendant on 27 March 2012 in Kingston court. That appears never to have happened in the Hanoski case as far as I can discern at this time.
We need to know about any Hanoski discovery meeting and also any booking of trial time in Toronto should that be needed. That would only happen if the parties cannot come to some settlement.
As I said earlier I don't expect a trial I expect that the parties will concoct  a settlement. That can only mean that the proof of the case is poor or difficult or that there are no witnesses willing to come forward. 
The Court Rules of Civil Procedures go as follows. The Claim is made, in this case by Joseph Hanoski. The Defence, in this case probably the Archdiocese of Kingston and perhaps the priests themselves, is presented to the court by their lawyer. 
The parties must exchange all documents within 10 days and possibly go to an Examination of Discovery to figure out the nature of the evidence and to see if a settlement is possible. Then at the same time there can be a discussion of Settlement within 60 days of the Claim.
If a settlement can't be reached then the case can be set down for trial and that happens after 180 days. There is the possibility at this stage to call for Mediation of any differences preventing a settlement.
Usually the parties realize the futility of a trial and come to a settlement but if the trial goes ahead then a lot more time elapses. In this case we already have eight years of  inertia that in some ways has made any aspect of this case somewhat farcical and insipid. That is partly the reason why I expect a settlement. 
Everything has dragged on for too long. The trial route could lengthen this process by up to two years if there is a lot of legal roadblocks by the defence to prevent paying a financial settlement for as long as possible.
However, it is very likely that the Archdiocese of Kingston has some kind of insurance and if that is so then the insurance company carrying the can will make this a very hard settlement to obtain. They will keep it as low as they can and the settlement will be seen as less expensive than going to court with all its attendant costs and risks mainly for the plaintiff but actually for both parties. This is another reason why I expect a settlement. It is simply less costly.
In order to get a settlement both sides, and certainly if there is an insurance company involved, will want silence from all parties. The Insurance people will want silence because they don't need to broadcast amounts and details of the settlement as precedent for other similar cases.
Joseph Hanoski is likely to settle in silence because he will have made his point even if it remains vague and indistinct. Any settlement will come fairly soon.
© Copyright 2012, Tom Thorne, All Rights Reserved

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