Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Why indigent accused persons must get not only the representation they deserve - but also the investigation they deserve. From an article by your's truly (Harold Levy) recently published by the Ontario Bar Association's "JUST." Magazine.

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: During the course of an email interview for an article in the Ontario Bar Associations 'JUST.' Magazine, on consummate Canadian Private Investigator Brian King, who is devoting an entire year to working 'pro bono' to assist clients of  The Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted,  I experienced a moment of revelation. The interview was with Rob Baltovich, one of King's most celebrated 'pro bono' clients. I asked him how important a role the investigation  plays in a criminal case.  His answer, as will be seen in my article, which can be found at the link below, jolted me, as it made such as simple, but powerful point. As I wrote: "Baltovich stresses that indigent clients  must get “not only the representation they deserve but the  investigation they deserve: “One that might make the difference between  languishing in prison for  a crime you didn’t commit and spending your life free knowing that the right person was brought to justice." I have seen far to many tragic cases, where the state feels it has met the requirements of ensuring a fair trial by providing "an indigent person" a  lawyer. Period. Minimal, if any,  resources for investigation.  Fortunately, there are  some lawyers who conduct the investigation themselves, or even pay for the investigation themselves - and   the rare investigator such as Brian King who generously works for indigent clients 'pro bono'. But there are also overworked public defenders who provide the representation their clients deserve - but are not provided by the state with resources for  the investigation their clients deserve - even  in the most serious criminal cases. So much for fair trials.

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

ARTICLE:  "Devoted to justice: Brian King's 20-year pursuit of a killer," by Harold Levy, published by 'JUST' Magazine, Spring, 2015 edition.

SUB-HEADING: "Bre-X to Baltovich to Bernardo: as an investigator Brian King has done it all. As he prepares for retirement, Ontario’s master private eye turns his attention to public service – pro bono, of course."

GIST:  "Celebrated Canadian private investigator Brian King is at the top of his game. He started almost 40 years ago with practically nothing and built up an empire - King-Reed Associates - with offices stretching across Canada. In 2011, King-Reed merged with Canpro Global to become Canada’s largest national investigation and risk management firm Over the decades he landed wealthy, powerful clients, including banks, insurance companies, governments and even police forces. Not surprisingly, some of his cases grabbed newspaper headlines, such as his efforts in exotic locations to unravel the mysteries of the $6 billion dollar Bre-X “gold” scam. After such an extraordinary career in the private corporate world, King is about to plunge into the world of public service. The recent sale of his business has given him the opportunity to work for The Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted (AIDWYC), for an entire year – and he will not be charging a cent for his services. Working pro bono is nothing new for King. Since he got into the job about 40 years ago, he has worked for nothing on numerous cases where an innocent person has been imprisoned. Two of these cases are among the most notorious miscarriages of justice in Canadian history......... (One of these cases): Robert Baltovich: Wrongly convicted in 1992 and acquitted in 2008 of the murder of his girlfriend Elizabeth Bain.  Only in a defence lawyer’s wildest fantasy – or perhaps a John Grisham novel - could the client be vindicated after investigation led to a notorious serial rapist and murderer. However, life can truly prove stranger than fantasy and fiction.  By the time of the trial, the defence was able to point the finger at the as yet unidentified “Scarborough Rapist,” as the possible killer. By the time of the appeal, the Scarborough rapist had been identified as none other than Paul Bernardo, one of the most reviled criminals in Canadian history.........Robert Baltovich says that King, who provided him with “strength” and “emotional comfort”, came into his life at a time when he was “quite terrified” about what awaited him, having had no experience with the Canadian criminal justice system - and despite knowing that he was innocent, “I had no real sense that anyone was actually trying to find out what had happened to Liz.” “Brian and others who work for innocent clients give them hope that the truth, that is out there somewhere, might one day be discovered,” he adds. “Brian interviewed many witnesses who had already been infected with the tunnel vision of the police but he was able to track down valuable information, track down witnesses and peruse leads that I am convinced helped persuade the Crown to call no evidence at my second trial.”.........Robert Baltovich says King’s move will help “level the playing field,” which seems to wrongfully accused persons to be tilted in favour of the prosecution and the police. Baltovich stresses that indigent clients  must get “not only the representation they deserve but the  investigation they deserve: “One that might make the difference between  languishing in prison for  a crime you didn’t commit and spending your life free knowing that the right person was brought to justice.” “I can’t image anything more satisfying for a private investigator.”

The entire article can be found at:

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The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
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Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;