Bring him to justice – progress report

Many, many thanks to two readers, cm and Concerned Follower, for providing me with the link to the following article which appeared in The Jamaican Observer of Monday, October 13, 2014:

Jamaican wanted in Canada on sex charges fights extradition

KINGSTON, Jamaica – A Jamaican man, who was ordered extradited last month to Canada where he’s wanted for trial on sex crimes, has taken his fight to remain in the island to the Supreme Court.

The man, George Flowers, is to appear in the Supreme Court today where he’s challenging the ruling in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate’s Court that he be extradited.

The order was made by Magistrate Simone Wolfe-Reece, who told Flowers that he could appeal the decision to another court within 15 days.

Should Flowers lose his battle against extradition in the Supreme Court, he has the option of taking that fight to the Court of Appeal.

Flowers, who goes by the name Mr Flowas, is wanted in Canada on several counts of  aggravated sexual assault.

He was arrested in Jamaica on June 4.

That arrest date is actually June 4, 2013.

In this case, “aggravated sexual assault” means he was HIV positive and never told any of his partners.

I’d like to say “this is it”, but I know it probably won’t be.  Should the Supreme Court uphold Madame Wolfe-Reece’s decision, as the article states, Flowers could go to the Court of Appeal.  And, in the event the Supreme Court sets aside the lower court’s ruling, I’m quite certain the Crown will appeal.  Either way, unfortunately it ain’t over yet folks.

I started the “Bring him to justice” series on August 14, 2012, a day after the Toronto Police Service issued their first Public Safety Alert on George Flowers.  I’m saddened to say that other than a brief flurry when the PSA was issued and a brief interview conducted by Global Television Toronto with one of his victims, there has been no Canadian (or even Toronto) coverage of this.  The only media coverage I’ve seen has been the above article and one other short piece in Jamaican papers.

I know it’s been a long time between postings on this matter, but I refuse to print rumour and this is the first confirmed information I’ve had since I wrote of his capture.  As more confirmed  information becomes available, I will issue updates.

Following is a copy of an email I received from the detective in charge of this case, which I feel bears repeating:

Hello Cat,

I am the officer investigating the aggravated sexual assault allegations against George Flowers.

I have stumbled upon your blog and have read what has been going on.

I appreciate you making more people aware of this investigation as we deem this situation as a major public safety risk.

My goal is to find and speak with anyone who has had sexual contact with Mr. Flowers.  They need to know that there is an active investigation and given the option of whether they would proceed with police involvement.  His non-disclosure actions are criminal whether or not a sexual encounter resulted in HIV infection. A lot of people are under the impression that if they DIDN’T contract HIV, that they have no criminal claim and that is false. The charge is for the “threat” of contracting the virus at the time of sexual contact if they were NOT advised of someone’s HIV status PRIOR to any sexual encounter.

The reason I am telling you this is because you indicated in your blog that you have spoken to other people who have been previous sexual partners of Mr. Flowers.

If you have any further information in regards to his whereabouts or anything else, I would appreciate it.  You can remain anonymous.  If you can also advise the other people who have been previous partners of Mr. Flowers of what I wrote, it would be appreciated.

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to call me.

Thanks in advance for your time.

Regards,

Nancy Johnston
Detective Constable #8734
Family Violence Unit
Toronto Police Service
Phone: (416)-808-5505
Email: Nancy.Johnston@torontopolice.on.ca

Note especially the bold section.

If Detective Johnston isn’t available, please speak with one of the other detectives in the unit .

Cat.

Where’s the logic?

I haven’t been feeling well this summer and as a result have been watching a lot of television. If you’ve read my postings before, you know I take great delight in ripping into commercials. Don’t worry, that’s coming, but first, something nice to say about an ad, as well as a comment on a series I’ve been watching.

1 – I’ve recently been watching a series on AHC called “Gunslingers” about some of the better known names from the old west. So far, there have been five episodes: Billy the Kid; Jesse James: Wyatt Earp; Wild Bill Hitchcock, and John Wesley Hardin. I’ve been struck by the similarity in the way most of these men died:

Billy the Kid – shot in the back by Sheriff Pat Garrett.

Jesse James – shot in the back by one of his own men. What’s that old lyric “the dirty little coward who shot Mr Howard laid poor Jesse in his grave”?

Wild Bill Hitchcock (how did they get “Wild Bill” from “James Butler”?”) – shot in the back of the head while playing cards. This was the origin of calling aces and eights “the dead man’s hand.”

John Wesley Hardin – shot in the back of the head while enjoying a drink in a saloon.

The sole exception was Wyatt Earp, who died of natural causes in Los Angeles in 1927. Yeah, 1927- not that long ago really.

2 – Mazda Canada has been running ads for the Mazda 3. I’ll admit I don’t really see the connection, but I like the fact they are using Canadian sports icons such as James Naismith (inventor of basketball) and Christine Sinclair (Canada’s soccer goddess) and relating their accomplishments to the Mazda’s performance.

3 – Now the not so good spots.

First, Honda Canada (and I presume Honda USA as well) has been running ads for the Honda Pilot. Before I continue, let me ask you: When you come home, do you park near the house, or at the street end of the driveway? If you’re like me, you park near the house. Not the people in these Honda commercials. Right near the end of the drive. Are there mines in the drive so they can’t go any further, or do they just want to show off their vehicle to the neighbours. Where’s the logic?

Next, Buick. Again, a question for you: If you’re at a place that has valet parking, when you want you vehicle, do you just tell the valet the make of the vehicle, or do you also tell them the colour? In this commercial, the man simply says “It’s the Buick” with no mention of colour.. You arrogant SOB to think you’re the only person who can afford a Buick. Of course, the valet isn’t that bright either or he’d use the key fob before trekking the entire parking lot. Where’s the logic?

Finally, Ford. They’ve been running ads promoting some of the safety features. In this one, we see some amber lights in the lower left corner of the windshield and the driver tells us “the flashing lights just warned me an accident could be imminent”. Excuse me, but looking out the windshield would also tell you how close you are to that pickup in front of you. You don’t need flashing lights to tell you that if you’re paying attention to the road. Once more – where’s the logic?
The Ford commercial is a good example of how the auto companies are developing huge “nanny” complexes. They want us to buy their products, yet at the same time, they are installing all these devices to protect us from ourselves, such as lane change warnings. So many devices are being installed that supposedly protect the car’s occupants that people will rely on these devices and forget such things as checking rear view mirrors. To my mind, the only really beneficial gadget added recently has been the back-up camera.

Okay, I’ve ranted and I feel better.

.Remember to hug an artist, we need love too.

Cat.

Arrogance or ignorance?

Recently I’ve been watching a television show called “Border Security”, which details the daily lives of the Canadian Border Services.  The show covers mainly some of the ports of entry in and around Vancouver – the airport; the harbour, and some of the road crossings between Washington and British Columbia as well as the international postal station.

I spend much of my time watching this show shaking my head at some of the things – and excuses – I see people trying at Canada Customs.  From watching this show now for several weeks, it appears some people, especially from the Orient, insist upon trying to bring in suitcases filled with foodstuffs, foodstuffs they didn’t bother declaring.  Minimum penalty for this is confiscation of the goods and an $800 fine.  Another tactic that students from the Orient appear to use is flying into Canada to study without bothering to get the proper paperwork before leaving home (this is a real case of “don’t leave home without it”), expecting to apply for it once they arrive on Canadian soil.  Every single one of these “students” has been on the next flight home.  Point of interest: If you’ve been convicted of an offence in the US, and there is a comparable offence in Canadian law, you will not be admissible to Canada.

I’m not certain whether this next lady truly didn’t know the requirements for visitors to Canada, or just thought she could live off the system.  She flew from Paris to Vancouver to meet her boyfriend.  She had no funds available to her and planned on staying in a hostel.  It turned out her boyfriend was homeless and living in a shelter.  After some investigation – and being cursed out in French – the lady was put on the next flight back to Paris.

The land crossings are where I really ask myself whether some of the things are done from ignorance of Canadian law, or simple arrogance that because they are American, they can do what they want.  I don’t know how many people I’ve seen arrested for smuggling drugs into Canada because they have a medical use marijuana card from California.  That card has no legal effect in Canada and bringing your own supply into Canada is illegal.

The one that I really have to consider arrogance was on one of last night’s shows.  A man was at one of the border crossings and was pulled aside for secondary inspection.  When he entered the office, he appeared quite upset.  When questioned he said “I expected to just drive through.”  He seemed even more upset when the Customs Agent told him that he was a foreign national and subject to inspection. The officer later further added that entry to Canada was a privilege, not a right and subject to certain criteria.  He was eventually cleared for entry, but not until after a thorough search of his vehicle.

One thing Americans do seem to be very conscientious about is declaring their firearms.  Considering the great differences between American and Canadian gun laws, I’m impressed by that fact.

Mail arriving from certain countries is automatically subject to examination.  Drugs have been found in everything from picture frames to wedding invitations.  Such discoveries are turned over to the RCMP for further investigation.

Another time where people feel they won’t get caught is bringing money into the country.  People can bring in all they like, but if it’s over $10,000, it must be declared to Customs.  Failure to declare excess funds will result in Customs taking the money and issuing a fine as well.

Canadian travellers returning from other countries don’t get an easier ride than visitors.  They are subject to the same stringent examinations as every other arriving person.  One of the more interesting (and weird) cases here was the Canadian citizen returning after two years in Thailand.  Among the things he brought back was a toilet.  Can’t remember what reason he gave Customs, but after an examination of his unusual souvenir, he was welcomed home.

As I said, I’m not sure if some of the things portrayed on this show are the product of people’s ignorance or their arrogance.

Cat.

Robbie, you’re old news

Rob Ford has never been one to let facts get in the way of his version of events.  How long did it take him to finally admit that he had smoked crack?   Here’s another example of Robbie ignoring evidence in an attempt to smear a Toronto Star reporter.  The following section has been extracted from a CBC News report on an interview between Conrad Black and Toronto’s titular mayor Rob Ford:

At one point in the interview, Black asked Ford about media intrusion on his family’s privacy, and Ford singled out Dale for an incident that happened in May 2012.

Ford had confronted Dale outside the mayor’s west-end home in an adjacent park — a section of which the mayor was looking to buy.

“Daniel Dale is in my backyard taking pictures. I have little kids. He’s taking pictures of little kids,” Ford said. “I don’t want to say that word but you start thinking what this guy is all about.”

Dale said that at no time did he ever take any photographs of the mayor’s family, house or even his property — and a police investigation bore that out.

When asked directly about the Dale comments, Mayor Ford said at a press conference that he stood by his words in the interview.

“I stand by every word.”

Robbie, the whole city knows you don’t like The Toronto Star, but to suggest one of their reporters is a paedophile is low even for you.  Despite the existence of a police report (see bolded section above) you stand by your comments.  Then again, even though you knew of the existence of a certain tape, until the police announced they had retrieved a copy of it from a hard drive, you denied there was such a tape.  So what’s it going to take this time before you retract your accusations?

News flash Robbie: You’re mayor in name only and no matter how much huffing and puffing you and your brother do, that ain’t gonna change.  You’re old news.  Stop trying to draw attention to yourself.

Cat.

“Those were the days”

A friend and I were talking earlier this week, following the death of actress Jean Stapleton, and we both agreed that television pushed the limits more in the 1970s than today.  Let me clarify that – network television pushed the limits, cable being virtually non-existent.  With the wealth of cable channels available now, no matter what you want to watch, you can probably find it somewhere on the dial.  But back then you were pretty much stuck with the three major networks, plus PBS if you were lucky.  Of course, living in southern Ontario as I do, in addition to those, I also had access to the two major Canadian networks, CBC and CTV.  There was also CITY-TV in Toronto which, very late on Friday nights, would run what they called the “Baby Blue” movies – basically soft-core porn.

Interesting sidebar to the “Baby Blues”. I recall reading an article in one of the Toronto papers at the time that said on Friday nights it was common for people (read “men”) to drive to a place near the border with their television sets they could plug into the lighter socket in the car, and hope they could catch CITY’s signal across the lake. But, enough of CITY – they’ve become civilized now.

I said the major networks, and by that I mean the American networks.  Jean Stapleton, for those too young to remember, was one of the stars of “All in the Family”. The other star was Carroll O’Connor, who played Archie Bunker, a dyed-in-the-wool bigot.  Keep in mind this was the early ‘70s, therefore the show was quite controversial.  I won’t use any of the words he used, but think of all the derogatory and racist names used for other races, religions and nationalities and you’ve pretty much got Archie’s world view.  Can you honestly see any network trying to get a show like that on the air in today’s politically correct times?  Not a chance.

Then we had “The Jeffersons”.  George Jefferson can best be described as a black Archie Bunker, only living in a better part of town.  Again, I doubt there is a network that would even consider a show like that today.

One more show that caused quite a stir was “Soap”.  It was situation comedy  about the Tate family, but what ruffled the public’s feathers was the character played by Billy Crystal – an openly gay man.  As I wrote above – this was the ‘70s, and things like that weren’t part of the normal viewing schedule.  Now it is common to see gay or lesbian characters.  I must admit though that I’m waiting for the day a show has an openly trans person as a main character.

Today it is also quite common to see people jumping into bed with each other on network television – just watch the soap operas.   Back in the ‘70s though, such things just weren’t shown on television (CITY’s “Baby Blue” movies excepted). I can’t recall where I read this, but apparently the first network series to actually show a married couple in bed together wasn’t one of the more mature dramas, but that most apple pie of shows “The Brady Bunch”.  Again, a case of 1970s television pushing limits.

There are no doubt some will read this and think “yeah, but the world has progressed since then. Attitudes have changed”.  True, the world has progressed.. But it’s also become much tamer; much more afraid of causing offence and much less willing to take a chance.  As for attitudes, if they’ve changed so much, why is there such a furor in the US over equal marriage?

Enjoy your weekend and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.

Since Pickering Village is holding its annual jazzfest this weekend, and I can hear it all from my window, I guess it would be appropriate for me to sign on with:

Hep Cat.

Parental guidance?

As parents, we constantly told, or still tell, our children not to put things they find on the ground in their mouth.  You know – “don’t eat that, you don’t know where it’s been”.  It is that instruction drummed into us as children and repeated to our own children that makes a current commercial for Ensure that much more unbelievable.  Here’s the scene: a man is playing soccer with his son.  At one point junior kicks the ball over the net and dad goes to retrieve it.  While he is behind the net a bottle of Ensure rolls down the hill and hits his foot.  What does dad do?  Ignore it?  Don’t be silly.  He picks it up, opens it and drinks it!  I can only suggest dad ascribes to the “do as I say, not as I do” school in dealings with his son.  Once again advertisers are asking us to accept illogical commercials.

One of my pet peeves is people who don’t pick up their feet when they walk.  What prompts this part of the posting is that I was out today and there was a lady on the other side of the street and I could clearly her scuffing her feet as she walked.  Are these people afraid that if they lose contact with the earth they will float away?  Ain’t gonna happen people.  Shoe retailers and shoe repair shops must love people like that because they destroy the soles of their footwear so quickly. When I was young, I was always told to pick up my feet when I walked, so I can’t envision any parent telling their children to do otherwise.  I know we all develop bad habits as we age – I have some and resist attempts to get me to change them – but shuffling rather than walking seems more like laziness than anything else.  But then again, laziness is a bad habit too.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.

Cat.

Changes – real and fictional

I had to take a bus ride to a place a couple of towns over today.  Nice thing about being a passenger is that you get to see things you might otherwise miss and you can let your mind wander, which couldn’t be done while driving.

First I noticed the Hooter’s in Whitby is closed.  How many times do you hear of a place like that closing?   Not sure exactly what that means.  Should it be construed as a statement on the young women of Whitby?  Is it just a result of the state of the economy?  Or is it perhaps more a commentary on the male population of that town?

A little further west, I passed the local Ford dealer and noticed a row of bright shiny new Mustangs on display (dang- that new Shelby is really something.)  Seeing all the Mustangs, my mind jumped to “Spenser: For Hire”, the TV series with Robert Urich. (You don’t remember it?  You don’t? Just how old am I?)  In the series, the character drove a Mustang, wrecked it and got another ‘stang.  If you read the Robert B Parker stories, especially the older ones, Spenser doesn’t drive a Mustang – he drives a Subaru.  Makes sense when you think about it.  Being a private detective, at least as shown on television, sometimes involves surveillance.  What is going to blend into the scenery easier – a non-descript Subaru, or a flashy sports car?

From there, my mind made the leap to Bond, James Bond.  007 has become synonymous with Aston Martin.  Well, there was that brief excursion into BMW, but we’ll forget about that. In the novels, James didn’t drive an Aston Martin.  The first vehicle I can recall reading as James’s ride was a “Blower Bentley”, that is a Bentley with a supercharged engine.  I don’t know if Bentley has a supercharged model in their current lineup, but the cars themselves are beautiful and, from what I’ve read, fast and powerful.  Given that, isn’t it about time the movies considered putting James back in his proper set of wheels, perhaps a Continental GT or a Mulsanne?

Since it’s Easter, enjoy your long weekend, and remember to hug an artist – we need love  too (and a Bentley wouldn’t hurt either).

Cat.