Day: April 9, 2019



The NHL suspended defenceman Slava Voynov on Tuesday for the 2019-20 season and 2020 playoffs after determining he committed acts of domestic violence.

Commissioner Gary Bettman suspended Voynov for what the league called unacceptable off-ice conduct. The 29-year-old Russian could have his eligibility restored on July 1, 2020, based on good behaviour.

Voynov was suspended indefinitely in October 2014 after being arrested and accused of domestic abuse of his wife. He pleaded no contest to a misdemeanour, left the United States to go back to Russia and in July had the conviction dismissed by a judge in Los Angeles.

After playing three seasons in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League and winning a gold medal at the 2018 Olympics without NHL players, Voynov moved back to the U.S. and was applying to be reinstated by the NHL. Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly in August said Voynov’s return would be contingent on completing a process with the league to review his case.

The NHL did an investigation and held a hearing March 21 under the terms of the collective-bargaining agreement regarding the Oct. 19, 2014, incident involving Voynov and his wife. Bettman said he determined after that investigation and hearing that Voynov engaged in acts of domestic violence.

“Today’s ruling, while tailored to the specific facts of this case and the individuals involved, is necessary and consistent with the NHL’s strongly-held policy that it cannot and will not tolerate this and similar types of conduct, particularly as directed at a spouse, domestic partner or family member,” Bettman said.

The NHL does not have a defined domestic violence policy like other North American professional sports leagues and says it takes each incident on a case-by-case basis.

Major League Baseball has also taken a strong stance on domestic violence. Last year, San Diego pitcher Jose Torres was suspended 100 games and Toronto pitcher Roberto Osuna 75 games. Osuna was later traded from the Blue Jays to Houston.

The National Football League has suspended Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt for the first eight games of the 2019 season due to violations of the personal conduct policy. Hunt was released last season by the Kansas City Chiefs after a video showed him kicking a woman. Another video came out later showing him in a fight at a resort.

The Los Angeles Kings, who terminated Voynov’s $25 million contract in 2015, said they are reviewing the NHL’s decision and added, “It is premature for us to comment until we understand what today’s decision, which can be appealed, means in its entirety.”

Though he is not under contract, the Kings have rights to Voynov associated with his status on the voluntary retired list.

A spokesman said the NHL Players’ Association is reviewing the decision. Voynov’s agent, Rolland Hedges, did not immediately return a voicemail and text message seeking comment Tuesday.

Voynov has the right to appeal to a neutral arbitrator. If an appeal occurs, that arbitrator would have to be mutually agreed upon by the NHL and NHLPA.

Nashville forward Austin Watson was suspended 27 games in September for unacceptable off-ice conduct following an investigation and hearing after he pleaded no contest in July to a charge of domestic assault stemming from an incident in June. Arbitrator Shyam Das reduced the suspension to 18 games on appeal.

Voynov last played an NHL game on Oct. 19, 2014. He has 190 regular-season and 64 playoff games of experience, all with the Kings, and won the Stanley Cup with them in 2012 and 2014.

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Neo-Nazi website founder refuses to be in US for deposition

A neo-Nazi website operator said Tuesday that he refuses to be present in the U.S. for questioning under oath in a lawsuit that accuses him of unleashing an anti-Semitic “troll storm” against a Montana real estate agent’s family.

The Daily Stormer founder Andrew Anglin says he lives abroad and claims it’s too dangerous for him to travel to the U.S. But a federal magistrate judge ruled last Friday that Anglin must be present in the U.S. for a deposition by Tanya Gersh’s attorneys from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Anglin, an Ohio native, said in an email to The Associated Press that he is unwilling to be deposed in the U.S. despite the judge’s decision. He suggested that the Alabama-based law centre refuses to meet him abroad or question him remotely by telephone or video conference because it wants him to be harmed.

“Anyone can look at the history of this group and reach the same very obvious conclusion,” he wrote.

One of Anglin’s attorneys, Marc Randazza, said in a text message Monday that he expects Anglin would “willingly” accept a default judgment against him before returning to the U.S. for a deposition.

“The end result of that will be that the SPLC will get a piece of paper, my client will pay nothing and there won’t even be a decision on the legal merits, at least clarifying the law. Everyone loses,” Randazza wrote.

David Dinielli, deputy legal director for the law centre, said in a statement Tuesday that the court correctly concluded Anglin’s assertions about his personal safety are “unfounded and without basis.”

In a separate case, a Muslim-American radio host who sued Anglin already is trying to secure a default judgment against him and his company, Moonbase Holdings LLC. In February, attorneys for SiriusXM Radio show host Dean Obeidallah asked a federal court in Ohio to award him more than $1 million in damages for his claims that Anglin falsely accused him of terrorism.

Anglin says he hasn’t been to the U.S. since 2012. He refuses to disclose his current whereabouts, saying he gets death threats. But he has said he took up residency in the Philippines sometime before 2010, moved to Greece in 2013 and then moved to Cambodia four days before Tanya Gersh sued him in 2017.

Gersh’s lawyers say Anglin hasn’t presented any proof that does currently live outside the U.S.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah Lynch ruled last Friday that Anglin’s personal safety concerns are “factually unsupported” and no basis for a protective order sparing him from an in-person deposition in the U.S.

In the lawsuit she filed in Montana against Anglin, Gersh says anonymous internet trolls bombarded her family with hateful and threatening messages after Anglin published their personal information, including her 12-year-old son’s Twitter handle and photo.

In a string of posts, Anglin had accused Gersh and other Jewish residents of Whitefish, Montana, of engaging in an “extortion racket” against the mother of white nationalist Richard Spencer. Gersh says she had agreed to help Spencer’s mother sell commercial property she owns in Whitefish amid talk of a protest outside the building. Sherry Spencer, however, later accused Gersh of threatening and harassing her into agreeing to sell the property.

Gersh’s suit accuses Anglin of invading her privacy, intentionally inflicting “emotional distress” and violating a Montana anti-intimidation law.

Anglin’s site takes its name from Der Stürmer, a newspaper that published Nazi propaganda in Nazi-era Germany, and includes sections called “Jewish Problem” and “Race War.”

Michael Kunzelman, The Associated Press

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Working group needed to examine live performance industry, lawyer tells Radiohead inquest

The Ontario government should form a working group to examine the processes involved in the live performance industry, including the construction of temporary stages like the one that fatally crushed a drum technician before a Radiohead show nearly seven years ago, a lawyer told a coroner’s inquest Tuesday.

Lawyers made their closing submissions at the inquest into the death of Scott Johnson, with the coroner’s counsel laying out a list of 25 proposed recommendations for jurors to consider including in their verdict.

Among them are recommendations for the provincial and federal governments, the engineering industry, and various members of the entertainment industry, including promoters and venue operators.

They include creating a permanent working group to address the concerns raised during the inquest, such as the need for consistent design drawings, the need to have a trained supervisor on site at all times during construction and for a prohibition on having people on stage while work is happening overhead unless safety measures are in place.

The group should involve experts from the live entertainment and staging industries as well as Johnson’s father, Ken Johnson, who is also a scaffolding expert in the United Kingdom, coroner’s counsel Prabhu Rajan said in his submissions.

“Scott’s death was preventable,” and the inquest provides an opportunity to improve conditions for others in the industry, Rajan said.

Jurors are not required to adopt the proposed recommendations or make any recommendations at all as part of their verdict, said the presiding coroner, Dr. David Cameron. They are also not to assign blame for Scott Johnson’s death but rather examine the circumstances that led to it.

Johnson was killed when the stage roof came crashing down hours before Radiohead was set to play at Toronto’s Downsview Park on June 16, 2012.

Charges were laid under the Occupational Health and Safety Act against the show’s promoter, Live Nation, contractor Optex Staging and Domenic Cugliari, the engineer who signed off on the stage plans. They were later stayed because the matter took too long to get to trial.

Johnson’s family and friends have expressed disappointment and frustration with the justice system over the outcome of the case, as has Radiohead. They have decried the lack of accountability in the incident that claimed the life of the promising music professional.

“We’re hopeful that this proceeding has given you some answers,” Rajan said in his closing arguments.

The lawyer representing Live Nation said more has been revealed about what caused the collapse through the inquest than in the roughly nine weeks of court proceedings, likely because witnesses are being more forthcoming “without charges hanging over everybody’s head.”

“You might just ensure that another Scott Johnson lives to a ripe old age,” Jack Siegel told the jury.

The inquest has heard the plans for the stage were riddled with mistakes, the wrong building components were used in key areas and the construction was running behind schedule.

Cugliari, the engineer, testified he did not check the right parts were being used because he trusted the contractor.

There was also no independent oversight of the construction plans or process because the show was to take place on federal land, meaning there was no requirement to apply for a building permit, the inquest has heard.

Other recommendations proposed by the coroner’s counsel include changes to the building code as it relates to temporary stages, and amendments to occupational health and safety laws that would require such structures to be inspected by an engineer.

An engineer should also be present throughout the construction process, the proposal said.

The association representing the province’s engineers, Professional Engineers Ontario, should also ensure its guidelines specify the need for clear and consistent design plans, a checklist of components to be used and a joint review of what’s to be done before construction begins, according to the proposal.

A lawyer representing the association said given the organization’s governance structure, it could not guarantee the adoption of any particular recommendations made by the inquest jury.

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Jointly-Held Properties And Resulting Trusts

Jointly-Held Properties And Resulting Trusts

wills and estates legal services

Recently, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice made a ruling which should be of significant interest to common-law couples. In particular, the ruling should be of interest to couples who wish to retain their own assets, in the event of separation. With common-law spouses, property is generally split with regards to ownership. This is a contrast to married couples, in which the prevailing notion is that everything will be split evenly.

In other words, unless a common-law couple wants to split assets evenly, they should make it a point to ensure their own assets are maintained as such.

Assets And Other Considerations

One way to make certain that property remains in the proper hands involves what is known as a cohabitation agreement. The case of Chechui v. Nieman involved both a house and investment (the investment was worth approximately $1 million). The couple in question were engaged, but eventually parted ways. The ex-common-law-wife, who was also the applicant, insisted upon fifty-percent ownership of both. On the flipside of things, the ex-common-law-husband believed that the interest held by his wife was in both their home and the account in trust for himself.

The mother of the respondent made it a point to provide $1.7-million towards buying the home while the applicant gained a mortgage to cover the rest of the purchase price. Upon the passing of his mother a little while later, the husband paid down the remainder of the mortgage, while also opening up a joint account.

Once the evidence had been carefully considered, Judge Kenneth Hood went in favor of the wife. However, this was only in regards to the house. In regards to the investment account, Judge Hood chose to side with the husband.

Specific evidence that would serve to emphasize the origins of these assets went a long way towards helping Judge Hood make his decision. It was clear to the judge that the investment was not established as a gift, but as something that could be transferred to her in the event of his death. While it was clear that the husband had claim to the investment, it was also just as clear that the wife had claim to the home. It seems unlikely that this decision would be any different, if the couple in question had actually married prior to the split. Nonetheless, a story such as this puts considerable focus on the dangers of losing property and/or investments, if things are not clearly defined between a couple right from the start.

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No charges for sons of Arizona woman accused of child abuse

MARICOPA, Ariz. — Two brothers arrested in an extreme child abuse case in the Phoenix suburb of Maricopa won’t be charged in the case that involved their biological mother, who had a popular YouTube channel featuring kids, authorities said Monday.

Pinal County prosecutors declined to elaborate on the decision not to charge 27-year-old Logan Hackney and 25-year-old Ryan Hackney. The two were scheduled to appear in court Monday for a preliminary hearing.

They were arrested March 15 for allegedly failing to report their mother’s abusive behaviour toward five of her seven adopted children.

Machelle Hobson, 48, has pleaded not guilty to charges she abused some of the adopted children by pepper-spraying them, striking them with a clothes hanger and making them take ice baths.

She remains in custody on a $200,000 bond after entering her plea on 24 counts of child abuse, five counts of kidnapping and one count of aggravated assault. A pre-trial conference is scheduled for May 1.

Hobson is accused of using pepper spray on a child’s genitals, applying a lighter or stun gun to a victim’s genitals, arm or other body parts, and causing them to suffer malnourishment.

Authorities have previously said Hobson locked up the children in a closet for days without food, water or access to a bathroom.

Hobson’s biological daughter, who is an adult, alerted police of the abuse, prompting officers to visit Hobson’s home in the city of Maricopa, about 35 miles (56 kilometres) south of Phoenix.

The Arizona Department of Child Safety removed the seven children from Hobson’s custody and they’re now in foster or group homes.

YouTube has since terminated Hobson’s channel, which featured skits about children stealing cookies or a boy with superpowers, after determining the channel violated its guidelines.

The Associated Press

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