Day: July 12, 2019

Moms with kids at Pickering Loblaws allegedly stole $1,200 worth of items

Two moms shopping with three of their children in Pickering earlier this week have been accused of shoplifting items.

Durham Regional Police said they were called to a Loblaw location on Liverpool Road at around 6:30 p.m. on July 8 to investigate a possible theft.

Two women and three children, between the ages of eight and 12, were allegedly seen leaving the store with a “cart full of items without making an attempt to pay,” police said.

The items in question totaled around $1,200, according to investigators.

Officers were able to locate the suspects in the parking lot of the store, but the two women and one of the children allegedly began fleeing the area on foot once they spotted the cruiser. Officers were then able to catch up to the suspects and all three were taken into police custody.

A 30-year-old woman, a 42-year-old woman and a 12-year-old girl, all from Toronto, have been charged with theft under $5,000 and possession of stolen property under $5,000.

All three of them were released by officials on a promise to appear in court at a later date.

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By The Wall of Law July 12, 2019 Off

Neil Bantleman, Canadian Convicted Of Sex Crimes In Indonesia, Returns Home

Canadian teacher Neil Bantleman hugs his wife, Tracy, in Indonesia on Aug. 14, 2015.

A Canadian school teacher who spent the past five years in an Indonesian prison on child sex abuse charges he’s long denied said Thursday that he had returned to Canada after being granted clemency.  

Neil Bantleman issued a brief statement saying the government of Indonesia, where he once worked and had expected to spend more than a decade in prison, had recently allowed him to go free.

“Five years ago I was wrongfully accused and convicted of crimes I did not commit and furthermore never occurred,” Bantleman said in the statement. “I applied for clemency which I am pleased was granted by Indonesia last month upholding essential justice and human rights.”

Bantleman, 50, did not immediately provide details on his current location or the circumstances of his release, and requested privacy so he and his wife Tracy could focus on reconnecting with family and friends.

His return to Canada marks the end of a lengthy saga that centred around a prestigious international school in the Indonesian capital and ultimately involved considerable legal wrangling as well as lobbying from Canadian government officials. 

Bantleman, who is from Burlington, Ont., was first arrested in July 2014 while teaching at what is now known as the Jakarta Intercultural School, an educational hub for the children of diplomats and other expatriates.

Bantleman was accused of sexually assaulting three male students at the school.

He was initially convicted and handed a 10 year prison sentence, but was released after the decision was overturned.

He was put behind bars once again when Indonesia’s highest court quashed his acquittal in 2016. In doing so, court officials added one year to his prison term and sentenced him to 11 years behind bars.

At that time, the federal government issued a statement saying it was “deeply dismayed and shocked″ at the ruling.

Others arrested in same case

An Indonesian teaching assistant, Ferdinant Tjiong, was arrested on the same charges and prosecuted alongside Bantleman.

The Canadian teacher’s family vehemently defended the innocence of both men, maintaining that both were the victims of a corrupt Indonesian justice system.

Bantleman’s family had previously said federal officials were raising their relative’s plight with their counterparts in Indonesia, but no word of negotiations had been released for months prior to his return to Canada.

Global Affairs declined to comment on Bantleman’s release, but the teacher himself offered thanks to the government for what he described as its “steadfast commitment to seeing us home.”

Bantleman and Tjiong were not the only ones arrested in the case.

Four male janitors at the school were sentenced to eight years in prison, while a woman received a seven-year sentence as an accomplice. Police said a sixth suspect died by suicide while in custody.

Earlier on HuffPost:

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By The Wall of Law July 12, 2019 Off

R. Kelly arrested again in Chicago on federal sex charges

CHICAGO — Singer R. Kelly, already facing sexual abuse charges brought by Illinois prosecutors, was arrested in Chicago Thursday on a federal grand jury indictment listing 13 counts including sex crimes and obstruction of justice.

U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Joseph Fitzpatrick said the R&B singer was taken into custody about 7 p.m. local time and was being held by federal authorities.

He was arrested after the indictment was handed down earlier Thursday in federal court for the Northern District of Illinois.

“The counts include child porn, enticement of a minor and obstruction of justice,”‘ Fitzpatrick said, adding that further details would be released Friday.

The arrest was the second time this year that Kelly has been taken into custody in Chicago on sex charges. The 52-year-old Grammy winner, whose real name is Robert Kelly, was arrested in February on 10 counts in Illinois involving four women, three of whom were minors when the alleged abuse occurred. He pleaded not guilty to those charges and was released on bail.

Then on May 30, Cook County prosecutors added 11 more sex-related counts involving one of the women who accused him of sexually abusing her when she was underage.

His attorneys could not immediately be reached for comment on the federal charges. Fitzpatrick said Kelly’s arraignment date and time had not yet been set.

Kelly has faced mounting legal troubles this year after Lifetime aired a documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” which revisited allegations of sexual abuse of girls. The series followed the BBC’s “R Kelly: Sex, Girls & Videotapes,” released in 2018, that alleged the singer was holding women against their will and running a “sex cult.”

Soon after the release of the Lifetime documentary, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said her office had been inundated with calls about the allegations in the documentary. Her office’s investigation led to the charges in February and additional counts added in May.

Kelly avoided prison after similar allegations were made more than a decade ago. A jury in 2008 acquitted him of child pornography charges that stemmed from a videotape, obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times, allegedly showing Kelly having sex with a minor.

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By The Wall of Law July 12, 2019 Off

Those Pesky ‘Read It, Never Said It’ Words Are The Epitome Of Chaos

It started out innocently enough. My son’s friend was over playing video games, and he was reading the menu options out loud. 

“APP-lee,” he muttered.

“What?” said my son. “Do you mean app-LIE?” 

Like most of us, our young guest had encountered a word (“apply”) by reading it before hearing it. Writer Kate Sullivan replied to me on Twitter that her brother has a name for this: ”Read-it-never-said-its.”

That thing you put flowers in

Mine is “vaz,” the thing you put flowers in. Even now, I have to pause for an embarrassingly long time to pull from my brain that it is pronounced “vahhz” (the British way) or “vayse” (the American way). Both are acceptable, yet “vaz” is still what pops into my mind when I see the word “vase.”

English is a strange, strange language. There are rules around grammar, spelling and pronunciation — except when those rules don’t apply. There’s no “ch” sound in “chaos,” but there is in “cello.” Go figure.

Out of curiosity, I threw a question out on Twitter the next day.

Thousands of responses flooded my feed. They were hilarious, touching, delightful and unifying, in the lightning way Twitter The Good can be. 

Book nerds, students, immigrants, scientists and Lin-Manuel Miranda: we have all suffered from the English language’s oddities. 

With some of these responses came vivid memories, for many, of the moment they were corrected publicly and humiliatingly by teachers, parents, or classmates. Moments of feeling stupid and inferior.

For many, English is seen as the language of opportunity, holding equal parts expectation and judgment. It’s both an equalizer and a de-stabilizer. 

My parents owned their own business and put in many long hours. They didn’t have time to read bedtime stories, but they were happy to drop me off at the library, and they kept my shelves stocked with books.

I remember sitting with my dad on lucky mornings, with The Vancouver Sun newspaper spread in front of us. I’d read stories out loud, and occasionally he’d correct my pronunciation in his faded colonial-British, mostly Canadianized English. 

Whenever I asked my mom to read with me, she would defer to my father. “His English is better,” she’d say, even though her English — learned in both Hong Kong and Canada — sounded perfectly fine to me. 

But, perhaps her reluctance is a familiar feeling for anyone who has felt they don’t fit in, or has had to try to prove they deserve to. 

All of this Twitter business reminded me to be kinder, more patient and more encouraging, not only with my kids, who are graduating to thicker novels, but also with, well, the world at large. 

It reminded me of the John Donne poem we had to study in high school: “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”

And of course, that’s “island,” however you pronounce it.

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By The Wall of Law July 12, 2019 Off

Taxpayer-funded attorney, convicted ex-prosecutor part ways

HONOLULU — A former prosecutor convicted of conspiracy in what’s been described as Hawaii’s biggest corruption case said she should get a new trial because her defence attorney was ineffective.

A lawyer representing ex-Honolulu deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha filed a motion Thursday saying her former attorney, Cynthia Kagiwada, is inexperienced. Kagiwada’s failings included not properly preparing witnesses, the motion said.

Kagwiada declined to comment.

Shortly before the motion was filed, a judge granted Kagiwada’s request to withdraw as Kealoha’s attorney, citing a breakdown in the attorney-client relationship.

Kealoha was convicted last month along with her retired police chief husband Louis Kealoha in a plot to frame her uncle. Katherine Kealoha was taken into federal custody because of concerns she would try to obstruct justice if allowed to remain free on bond before she’s sentenced.

She walked into court Thursday wearing a beige inmate’s jumpsuit and shackles around her ankles. She waved and smiled at her husband. “Very chic,” her attorney, Earle Partington, joked.

Kealoha said she doesn’t object to Kagiwada’s withdrawal request.

U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright heard from Kagiwada and Kealoha behind closed doors Thursday before granting the request. Kagiwada will no longer represent Kealoha for other trials she faces — one for bank fraud and identity theft with her husband and another with her pain physician brother for drug-dealing charges.

Prosecutors said the Kealohas abused their positions to frame Gerard Puana to keep him from revealing fraud that paid for their lavish lifestyle. Katherine Kealoha bilked banks, relatives and children whose trusts she controlled, prosecutors said.

Seabright appointed lawyers for the Kealohas after they said they couldn’t afford to pay attorneys. He said he will appoint another attorney to represent Katherine Kealoha.

There are less than 40 lawyers on a list for indigent clients in federal court in Hawaii, and some already represent the Kealohas’ co-defendants or have represented witnesses involved in the case. Those lawyers agree to accept fees from the government that are less than what they could charge.

Toward the end of the trial focusing on allegations the Kealohas conspired to frame Puana for stealing their home mailbox, Partington stepped in as an additional attorney to represent Katherine Kealoha with Kagiwada.

Trial transcripts will “show numerous instances of inexperienced court-appointed counsel’s inability to cross examine witnesses, to impeach them with inconsistent statements, and to introduce important evidence which would have materially assisted the defence,” Partington’s motion said of Kagiwada.

Partington said Kealoha’s mother was paying his legal fees, but only up to sentencing for the mailbox conspiracy case. “The family has no more money,” he said.

Jennifer Sinco Kelleher, The Associated Press

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