Tag Archives: Raymond Cormier

Sask. justice minister says he expects law to be enforced, legislature teepee to come down

The teepee went back up before 7 p.m. CST on Thursday, which was National Indigenous Peoples Day. (Janani Whitfield/CBC)

Don Morgan says Justice for Our Stolen Children camp cannot continue at legislature grounds

One day after a teepee in front of the Saskatchewan Legislature was re-erected, Justice Minister Don Morgan said he expected police to enforce the rule of law, and that the grounds are not intended for overnight camping.

“The facilities just aren’t there for that. We expect that the police would take steps to resolve that and they have,” he said of the police response on June 18, when the teepee was taken down and six people were arrested for obstruction.

The Justice for our Stolen Children Camp was spurred by the acquittals of Gerald Stanley and Raymond Cormier in the Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine murder trials, respectively.

Three Regina Police Service officers carry a protester to a police vehicle on June 18. (CBC)

Founders of the camp said the intention was to draw attention to Indigenous lives lost or affected by factors like violence, foster care or addictions.

On Thursday — National Indigenous Peoples Day — the camp was re-erected and it remained standing at the site into Friday.

Morgan said he wouldn’t comment on police operations or why they had not dismantled the camp again.

“I would have thought it would have been dealt with now but they’ve indicated it may not be for a short period of time, and we leave it to them to make those calls.”

Police have said they have not taken any enforcement action yet, but are having discussions with all involved parties.

On National Indigenous Peoples Day, protesters held signs showing pictures of police arriving to dismantle the Justice for Our Stolen Children teepee at the Saskatchewan Legislature grounds. (Eagle from Sakimay First Nation/Justice for Our Stolen Children)

Camp organizers have requested meetings with government officials at the site and in the teepee, but Morgan said it wouldn’t be the appropriate site to discuss matters like specific cases of child welfare, even as he committed to having a dialogue with camp organizers.

The legislature and the teepee

Supporters of the camp gathered outside the legislature, with more than one calling attention to the contrasting sights of the legislature and the teepee.

“I don’t really see why it’s such a big issue to this government and to this authority that this teepee is here,” said Chief Nathan Pasap of White Bear First Nations.

“You have a huge building right there behind you, folks — the Saskatchewan Legislature.”

Chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Bobby Cameron attended the Justice for Our Stolen Children Camp Friday, calling the teepee our house,’ while the government has its own house in the legislature. (CBC News)

The justice reform camp organizers are calling for is sorely needed in the aftermath of the Boushie and Fontaine cases, he said.

“It’s sad that such a simple thing, a call out for help, such as a teepee and someone camping in it, is such a wrong in a country as great as Canada, as resource rich as Canada is.”

FSIN talks meeting with Moe

Bobby Cameron, chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, was also at the camp, adding his voice in support of First Nations children and calling for them to be able to access good education, care and housing.

“As First Nations people, we will go the distance politically and legally to ensure our First Nations children are protected and that they have the best opportunities in life to succeed,” he said.

Cameron noted he and the government have been in contact, and he hoped to arrange a meeting between government officials, including Premier Scott Moe and Morgan, and camp organizers.

Camp not appropriate, says Morgan

Morgan said he would like to narrow down what protesters are asking for and what actions were within a provincial, rather than federal, scope.

When asked if there was a way for both the protesters and the government to find a mutually agreeable compromise, Morgan suggested that a sign or a protest that took place on the sidewalk would be ways for people to exercise their rights in a free and open democracy.

“A camp that doesn’t comply is something that just doesn’t work.”

CBC News · Posted: Jun 22, 2018

[SOURCE]

Crown won’t appeal verdict in Tina Fontaine case

Raymond Cormier, right, was acquitted in the death of Tina Fontaine

Crown will not appeal acquittal of Raymond Cormier 

Manitoba Justice says Crown prosecutors will not appeal the acquittal of a man who was accused of killing 15-year-old Tina Fontaine.

Last month, a jury found Raymond Cormier, 56, not guilty of second-degree murder in connection with the death of Tina, whose body was found wrapped in a duvet cover weighed down with rocks in the Red River in Winnipeg on Aug. 17, 2014.

The verdict sparked rallies and support for Tina’s family from across turtle island.

“After a critical review … by the Manitoba Prosecution Service’s appeal unit and the Crown attorneys who prosecuted the case, it has been determined there are no grounds to base a successful appeal,” says the statement released Tuesday.

The Crown says it has advised Tina’s family of the decision.

Her cause of death remains unknown.

Tina Fontaine’s Alleged Killer Going Straight to Trial

Raymond Cormier will be directly indicted in a Winnipeg court on Tuesday afternoon. (Tom Andrich/ CBC)

Raymond Cormier will be directly indicted in a Winnipeg court on Tuesday afternoon. (Tom Andrich/ CBC)

Raymond Cormier will be directly indicted and will not have a preliminary hearing

By Katie Nicholson, CBC News Posted: Feb 21, 2017

The man charged with second-degree murder in the death of Tina Fontaine will be directly indicted in a Manitoba court Tuesday afternoon.

A preliminary hearing had been scheduled for Raymond Cormier in May but that’s all out the window now. Cormier’s case will now proceed directly to trial.

“That is, quite honestly, a problem for us,” said Tony Kavanagh, the senior counsel on Cormier’s defence team.

“A preliminary inquiry is a very useful tool for the criminal justice system, Crown and defence alike,” said Kavanagh, a former Crown prosecutor.

“What it really allows us to do is to zone in on the key issues. Who are the main witnesses? What’s the key issue of contention in terms of this case and in a case as serious as this? It’s perhaps the most important tool the defence and Crown has.”

Without a preliminary hearing, Kavanagh said he and his client will have to sift through a vast volume of evidence without being able to hone in on the specifics of the case against Cormier.

“One of the difficulties, in fact, is because the preliminary inquiry was taken away from our client we have less of a chance to do what I would call the discovery process where we might test a few witnesses,” said Kavanagh. “That’s been yanked away from him.”

Lawyer Tony Kavanagh says preliminary hearing "yanked away" from client Raymond Cormier. (Lyza Sale/ CBC

Lawyer Tony Kavanagh says preliminary hearing “yanked away” from client Raymond Cormier. (Lyza Sale/ CBC

Cormier was charged with second-degree murder in connection to the death of 15-year-old Tina Fontaine in December 2015 following a months-long elaborate Mr. Big Sting. Since that arrest, he has been in segregation, mostly at the Brandon Correctional Centre

Manitoba Department of Justice Prosecutions policy states “normally a preliminary inquiry should be held and a direct indictment should not be considered unless exceptional circumstances exist that outweigh the benefits of holding a preliminary inquiry.”

According to the policy, “overriding the right to a preliminary inquiry by preferring direct indictment is an extraordinary step.”

According to the province’s policy, the Crown can press for direct indictment if:

  • There is danger of harm, trauma or intimidation to witnesses or their families.
  • Reasonable basis to believe that witnesses will attempt to subvert court process.
  • The age or health of victims and witnesses is factor.
  • A lengthy court process creates a substantial inconvenience to witnesses.
  • The need to protect ongoing police work.

Perhaps most relevant to an investigation, which included a Mr. Big Sting, the policy states “the Crown can seek direct indictment if the outcome of the case will be largely dependent on the outcome of Charter challenges to Crown evidence that cannot be advanced at a preliminary inquiry,” for example, whether or not wiretap evidence could be used.

‘A great concern’

Kavanagh said he doesn’t know which arguments the Crown made to proceed to direct indictment.

“It’s always a great concern when the Crown takes this step,” said Kavanagh.

“It does bring with it consequent dangers and one of the dangers especially in a case with a Mr. Big — especially in a case with other tenuous evidence and our client strongly denies this allegation — it takes away that opportunity to discover,” said Kavanagh. “So it won’t be until the trial itself that we’ll actually get to see what we’re dealing with.”

Although rare, Manitoba Justice has granted direct indictments in high-profile cases before. In 2010, a preliminary hearing was scrubbed in the case against Denis Jerome Labossiere, who was later convicted of slaying his parents and brother.

A preliminary hearing was also scrubbed in the case of Jeffrey Cansanay who was facing charges of second-degree murder.  In 2007, the original case against Cansanay was thrown out after going straight to trial because two witnesses ended up refusing to testify. Cansanay was re-arrested, retried and convicted three years later.

Kavanagh said Cormier is disappointed and concerned by the decision.

“He thought it was yet another step in the process of curtailing what he sees as his rights, his ability to defend himself against some of the most serious charges in the criminal justice system,” Kavanagh said.

Kavanagh estimates the earliest a trial date will be set will be the end of 2017 or early 2018.

Crown attorney James Ross declined comment.

The direct indictment will also delay another legal matter Cormier is grappling with — an appeal before the Law Enforcement Review Agency (LERA). Cormier filed a complaint in 2016 with LERA claiming Winnipeg police fabricated evidence against him in the death of Tina Fontaine.

Cormier had a LERA court date scheduled for Wednesday but it will now be put over to another date.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/iteam/raymond-cormier-tina-fontaine-direct-indictment-1.3991305

‘A Kid Isn’t Supposed To Go Before Her Mom’: Tina Fontaine’s Mother On Her Death

Tina Duck, the mother of Tina Fontaine, visits memorial to her daughter beside the Red River in Winnipeg on Tuesday. (JOHN WOODS/GLOBE AND MAIL)

Tina Duck, the mother of Tina Fontaine, visits memorial to her daughter beside the Red River in Winnipeg on Tuesday. (JOHN WOODS/GLOBE AND MAIL)

The Globe and Mail | Published, Dec. 16, 2015

Standing outside the Winnipeg courthouse, Tina Fontaine’s mother looked over at the nearby remand centre where the man accused of killing her daughter is in custody.

In a rare interview with The Globe and Mail on Tuesday, a tearful Tina Duck recalled the moment she learned it was her child’s body that police had found in the city’s Red River in August of last year.

“I wanted to see my daughter,” she said. “I wanted to know if it was her or not. All they said was for us to just remember the way she looked, and then they described the tattoo on her back.”

Tina’s tattoo, which was dedicated to her father, who was beaten to death in 2011, was the identifying factor, given the state of the indigenous teen’s remains.

Provincial court documents say police believe 53-year-old Raymond Cormier killed Tina around Aug. 10, 2014 – one week before search divers who were looking for the remains of someone else happened upon her corpse, wrapped in plastic. Mr. Cormier has been charged with second-degree murder.

Proceedings related to his case were put over Tuesday and pushed forward to Jan. 8. Mr. Cormier’s lawyer, Pamela Smith, has told The Globe her client will contest the charges. She said she expects the Crown will provide her with a hard-drive of the evidence against Mr. Cormier by the end of the week.

In announcing the arrest last Friday, Deputy Police Chief Danny Smyth said Mr. Cormier, who has more than 80 convictions dating back to 1978, was taken into custody on Dec. 9 in the Vancouver area. Constable Jason Michalyshen, a police spokesman, confirmed in an e-mail on Tuesday that the arrest took place in Whistler, B.C.

Ms. Duck said she has never seen the man accused of killing her daughter, whose death galvanized the movement to end violence against indigenous women and provoked changes to the province’s child-welfare system. Red dresses, a symbol of Canada’s missing and murdered aboriginal women, hang at the snow-covered dock where Tina’s body was found.

Tina and her younger sister, Sarah, were mostly raised in rural Manitoba by their great aunt and uncle, Thelma and Joseph Favel, after the girls’ father, Eugene Fontaine, was diagnosed with cancer. The Favels placed Tina in Child and Family Services care in July, 2014, hoping she would get support services to help her cope with her father’s beating death.

Ms. Duck, who met Mr. Fontaine at a Winnipeg house party when she was 12 years old, fell into alcoholism years ago and left her girls with their father when they were toddlers.

She reconnected with Tina in her teenaged years, spending time with her in Winnipeg in July of last year. She said her daughter mostly stayed in the city’s West End, and does not know anything about the east-end residence police say Tina and Mr. Cormier frequented.

The Sagkeeng First Nation teen was last seen alive on Aug. 8, 2014. On that date, she was in contact with paramedics, a CFS contract worker and police, who did not take her into their care even though she was listed as a missing person. Tina, who had been assigned an emergency foster-care placement at a downtown Winnipeg hotel, was reported missing again on Aug. 9, 2014. Constable Michalyshen said police believe she was killed that day or the next.

Ms. Duck said that while she did not raise Tina, she misses her every day and her heart is broken that her daughter became one of Canada’s missing and murdered indigenous women.

“She would be 17 in January,” she said. “It’s not right. A kid isn’t supposed to go before her mom.”

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/tina-fontaines-mother-reflects-on-her-daughters-death/article27778588/


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Man Accused Of Killing Tina Fontaine To Fight Charge

Raymond Joseph Cormier, 53, is accused of second-degree murder in the death of Tina Fontaine

Raymond Joseph Cormier, 53, is accused of second-degree murder in the death of Tina Fontaine

By Red Power Media, Staff

The man accused of murdering a 15-year-old indigenous girl will be fighting charge.

Raymond Cormier, the man accused of killing Tina Fontaine last year will be fighting his second-degree murder charge, his lawyer said.

In an interview with The Globe and Mail on Monday, Mr. Cormier’s defence attorney, Pamela Smith, said “we will be contesting the charges.” Ms. Smith, who has represented Mr. Cormier in the past, said she had yet to see the evidence against her client.

“[The Crown’s office is] sending me a hard drive later in the week with disclosure on it,” she said, adding that no decision has been made as to whether Mr. Cormier, who has an extensive criminal record, will seek bail. Proceedings related to his case were put over Monday and are now slated for Tuesday morning. Ms. Smith said Mr. Cormier will not appear in court at that time, and said she expects the case will be pushed forward again.

RELATED:

Police arrested Cormier in the Vancouver area on Dec. 9 and transported him back to Winnipeg.

Cormier is being held at the Winnipeg Remand Centre.

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A provincial court document says police allege Cormier, originally from New Brunswick, killed Tina “on or about the 10th day of August in the year of 2014” – the first indication of a possible date of death since the girl’s body was pulled from the city’s Red River on Aug. 17, 2014. A Winnipeg Police Service spokesman said in an e-mail police believe she died Aug. 9 or Aug. 10.

The Sagkeeng First Nation teen was last seen alive Aug. 8 of last year. On that date, she was in contact with paramedics, a Child and Family Services contract worker, and police, who did not take her into their care despite the fact that she was listed as a missing person. Tina, who was in foster care had been placed at a downtown Winnipeg hotel.

Cormier’s criminal file contains at least 92 prior convictions across Canada, with recent offences involving crystal meth possession and assault with a weapon.

At a press conference Friday afternoon, lead investigator Sergeant John O’Donovan, declined to elaborate on the relationship between Tina and Cormier, or disclose the motive.

Sgt. O’Donovan told reporters: “Tina was a child – an exploited child … You guys can figure it out. There was definitely some exploitation going on.”