A prominent Canadian aid worker convicted of sexually assaulting two children in Nepal is set to argue he was the victim of a police conspiracy and unfair trial.
In legal materials ahead of his appeal, expected to be heard Jan. 7, Peter Dalglish alleges a host of problems with the investigation and court process he says led to his wrongful conviction and nine-year prison term.
“A conspiracy was created on the backs of youths who were enticed to lie and damage the reputation of an innocent man, who has spent his life helping those in need, particularly children and youths,” Dalglish’s lawyers argue in their appeal brief. “In doing so, they have brought the rule of law and the justice system of Nepal into disrepute.”
Originally from London, Ont., Dalglish, 62, was convicted last June and later sentenced to nine years in prison. The Order of Canada recipient has denied any wrongdoing and has assembled a new legal team to fight his conviction.
Nepalese police arrested him in the early hours of April 8, 2018, at his mountain home in the village of Kartike, east of the capital of Kathmandu. Police alleged he had raped two Nepalese boys aged 11 and 14, who were in his home.
On appeal, Dalglish says the investigation was carried out jointly by Nepalese police and the organization Sathi, which aims to expose child predators. He maintains both pressed witnesses into providing damaging information.
“The police offered bribes and incentives to potential witnesses and their families in exchange for damaging information about the defendant. They threatened those who could not be bought,” the appeal brief states. “Although the police and Sathi may have begun this investigation in good faith, when they found nothing, they resorted to tactics that have led to unreliable evidence.”
Dalglish’s lawyers maintain the two boys provided various accounts of what allegedly occurred before recanting their accusations. They say medical examinations turned up no DNA or other evidence indicating he had sexually assaulted them. They say police searches of his home were illegal and, despite court findings, turned up nothing incriminating.
For example, they say investigators seized photographs police characterized as evidence of child pornography. Dalglish’s lawyers counter that one of the pictures shows his daughter and family friends — in bathing suits — at a summer cabin in Ontario.
Dalglish’s lawyers also argue his trial was grossly unfair. Among other things, they say he had no translator for the proceedings in Nepalese, which he doesn’t speak. They say he was made to sign documents he didn’t understand, and was not allowed to meet his lawyer privately.
None of the appeal claims has been tested in court.
At the time of his arrest, Pushkar Karki, the chief of Nepal’s Central Investigation Bureau, accused Dalglish of luring children from poor families with promises of education, jobs and trips, then sexually abusing them.
Andy MacCulloch, a 40-year friend, said Dalglish is a victim of a miscarriage of justice.
“There’s an incredible amount of evidence that this is a frame job,” MacCulloch said. “They presumed him to be guilty.”
One of Dalglish’s lawyers is B.C.-based Dennis Edney, who co-represented former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr.
Dalglish co-founded a Canadian charity called Street Kids International in the late 1980s. He has worked for several humanitarian agencies, including UN Habitat in Afghanistan and the UN in Liberia.
The Canadian Press first published this article on Jan. 5, 2020.
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ZAGREB, Croatia — Voters in Croatia on Sunday cast ballots to choose a new president in a fiercely contested runoff race, with a liberal opposition candidate challenging the conservative incumbent while the country presides over the European Union during a crucial period.
Croatia took over the EU’s rotating presidency on Jan. 1. for the first time since joining the bloc in 2013. This means that the EU’s newest member state will be tasked with overseeing Britain’s divorce from the union on Jan. 31 and the start of post-Brexit talks.
Sunday’s runoff presidential vote is expected to be a very tight and unpredictable race.
It’s being held because none of the candidates won more than half of the votes in the first round on Dec. 22. Current President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic is running for a second term, challenged by leftist former Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic.
Milanovic won slightly more votes than Grabar Kitarovic in the first round but analysts have warned there is no clear favourite in the runoff and that each vote counts. There are 3.8 million voters in Croatia, a country of 4.2 million that is also a member of NATO.
The two candidates represent the two main political options in Croatia: Grabar Kitarovic is backed by the governing, conservative Croatian Democratic Union, a dominating political force since the country split from the former Yugoslavia in 1991, while Milanovic enjoys support from the leftist Social Democrats and their liberal allies.
Even though the presidency is largely ceremonial in Croatia, Sunday’s election is important as a test ahead of parliamentary elections expected later this year. Milanovic’s victory over Grabar Kitarovic would rattle the conservative government during the crucial EU presidency and weaken its grip on power in an election year.
While starting out stronger, support for Grabar Kitarovic had been slashed following a series of gaffes in the election campaign.
The 51-year-old had a career in diplomacy and in NATO before becoming Croatia’s first female president in 2015. Going into the runoff vote, Grabar Kitarovic evoked the Croatian unity during the 1991-95 war in a bid to attract far-right votes to her side.
The 53-year-old Milanovic is leading the struggling liberals’ bid to regain clout in the predominantly right-leaning nation.
Prone to populist outbursts while prime minister, Milanovic lost popularity after the ouster of his government in 2016. He now says he has learned from the experience and matured. Milanovic has urged the voters to give him a chance to surprise them.
Though a member of the EU, Croatia is still coping with graft and economic woes, partly because of the consequences of the 1991-95 conflict that erupted because of Croatia’s decision to leave the Serb-led Yugoslav federation. The Catholic Church plays an important role in the society.
Darko Bandic, The Associated Press
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REXBURG, Idaho — Authorities have searched the home of an Idaho man linked to the suspicious death of his first wife and the disappearance of his two new stepchildren.
On Friday, investigators with the Rexburg police, Fremont County sheriff’s office and FBI executed a search warrant on the house Chad Daybell shared with Tammy Daybell, who was found dead at home in October.
Initially thought to be a natural death, Tammy Daybell’s remains have since been exhumed in Utah, where she was buried. Autopsy results are pending.
The search warrant was also in connection to the disappearance of Joshua Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 17, who haven’t been seen since September.
The children’s mother, Lori Vallow — who is also now known as Lori Daybell — married Chad Daybell shortly after the other wife’s death.
Lori Daybell’s former spouse, Charles Vallow was killed in July in Arizona in a confrontation with her brother, Alex Cox. Cox, who died on Dec. 12, said he shot Vallow in self-defence.
Authorities haven’t said why they got the warrant or what they found.
Rexburg police have said Chad and Lori Daybell are named as persons of interest because they never reported the kids missing, have repeatedly lied about where their children are — initially saying the boy with special needs was in Arizona — and aren’t co-operating with the investigation.
The couple has since issued a statement through an attorney, saying they love their son and daughter and look forward to addressing “allegations once they have moved beyond speculation and rumour.”
Chad Daybell, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is a self-published author who writes about near-death experiences and doomsday events.
Chad and Lori Daybell participated in podcasts for a group called “Preparing a People,” which the group said involves “the second coming of Jesus Christ.” The group has since removed those podcasts.
The Associated Press
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