Category: canada/family-law

Theresa May Signals She Will Resign As PM After Brexit

Theresa May has signaled to Tory MPs that she will resign as prime minister once the U.K. has formally quit the European Union.

May had reportedly told MPs in December that she would not run as party leader in the next general election, but Wednesday’s announcement indicates that she would leave her position far earlier.

In a meeting with conservative officials on Wednesday, May said that, “I am prepared to leave this job earlier than I intended in order to do what is right for our country and our party.” 

May has come under intense pressure from pro-Brexit lawmakers to clarify that she would stay on as PM for the next phase of talks with Brussels on a future U.K.-E.U. trade deal.

Although MPs had not pushed for a specific resignation date, many wanted May to clarify she would not be in charge once the formal divorce with the E.U. had occurred. 

On Tuesday, a source told HuffPost UK that influential Tory MP Sir Graham Brady pushed the PM for more “clarity” on her future plans. 

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By The Wall of Law March 27, 2019 Off

Ontario man tried four times in 1981 murder appeals conviction, seeks stay

TORONTO — An Ontario man who was tried four times in the killing of a Hamilton nursing assistant is asking the province’s highest court to overturn his murder conviction and put the case on hold indefinitely.

It’s been nearly four decades since Diane Werendowicz was attacked on her way home from a night out with friends. The 23-year-old was dragged into a ravine, sexually assaulted, strangled and dumped in a creek.

Robert Badgerow was arrested 17 years later and eventually convicted of first-degree murder, but the verdict was overturned on appeal. Jurors in his second and third trials were unable to reach a verdict.

He was then granted a stay of proceedings but that was revoked by Ontario’s Court of Appeal in 2014 after it found evidence about a 911 call had been improperly excluded from previous trials.

Badgerow was tried a fourth time in 2016, this time including the 911 call evidence, and found guilty of first-degree murder.

His lawyers now argue the judge made several mistakes in his instructions to the jury, including in his directions on how to weigh the evidence regarding the call. They say the court should grant Badgerow a stay of proceedings.

“The state has now had the nearly unprecedented opportunity to try the appellant a fourth time for this offence, but has again failed to do so fairly,” they say in documents filed ahead of a hearing on Thursday.

“Thirty-seven years have passed since the events and 20 years since the appellant’s arrest, over 10 of which he spent in custody. Numerous witnesses have died. Ordering a fifth trial in these circumstances would constitute an abuse of process.”

Court documents say Werendowicz had gone out for drinks with friends after work on June 19, 1981, and left the bar around midnight to walk home, which would have taken about 15 minutes.

Her body was found by children playing in the area the evening of June 20, the documents say. A tire covered her head and shoulders but when it was lifted, investigators discovered she had been strangled, and the strap of her purse was around her neck.

Forensic experts found semen on her genitals and her jeans, the documents say. The fly of her jeans was down when she was found, her blouse was unbuttoned and her underwear was found nearby.

Badgerow was identified as a suspect in the late 1990s and his DNA matched the profile from the semen found on Werendowicz.

He has maintained throughout his trials that he had consensual sex with Werendowicz in the back of his truck outside the bar the night she died and that someone else attacked her on her way home.

In the appeal, his lawyers argue the judge gave unfair instructions to the jury regarding the 911 call, which was possibly placed by the killer and traced to a pay phone at a location near Badgerow’s workplace. The call, made two days after Werendowicz’s body was found, reported that she had been raped before she was killed and that she was strangled with her purse.

“The trial judge’s instruction misstated the evidence, misrepresented and then unduly emphasized the supposed reliability of the trace, and failed to mention the significant evidence casting doubt on the trace’s accuracy,” including the possibility of human error, they say.

They allege the trial judge made several other mistakes, among them his instructions on the risks of voice identification from the 911 call.

The judge’s warnings were undermined by his invitation to use “common sense,” rather than judicial instructions, in evaluating the evidence and in his failure to refer to specific details in the case they should examine with caution, the lawyers argue.

“It was only after the DNA evidence led to his arrest that people began to come forward purporting to ID the appellant as the caller,” they say.

“This evidence was inherently less valuable as a result. The trial judge failed to highlight this critical point for the jury, despite a specific request from the defence that he do so.”

The defence also alleges the judge erred in his instructions on how to use a video of Badgerow from his first wedding in 1982.

The judge acknowledged there was no evidence the video accurately captured Badgerow’s voice but still told jurors they could compare it to the voice on the 911 call, which was “contradictory,” defence lawyers argue.

If a stay is not granted, they are asking for the court to order a fifth trial.

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By The Wall of Law March 27, 2019 Off

The Latest: Jury told Reid to blame for exercise-band mishap

LAS VEGAS — The Latest on former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid’s negligence lawsuit against the maker of an elastic exercise band he blames for injuries including blindness in one eye after losing his grip and falling while using a flexible device in 2015 (all times local):

4:50 p.m.

A lawyer for an elastic exercise band maker blamed U.S. Sen. Harry Reid for his own serious injuries, including blindness in one eye, suffered when he lost his grip and fell while using a flexible device in 2015.

Attorney Laurin Quiat (KWIE’-at) told a civil trial jury in Las Vegas on Tuesday that congressional exercise advisers tried for months to get the former Democratic party leader to improve his stance, balance and technique for using the resistance bands.

Quiat concluded opening statements telling jurors that just because someone gets hurt doesn’t mean someone else is responsible.

Quiat also says jurors will never know for sure if Reid was using his company’s exercise product, called TheraBand, because Reid family members threw out the one he used the day he was hurt.


1:30 p.m.

Opening arguments are scheduled in former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid’s lawsuit against the maker of a flexible exercise band that he says slipped from his hand while he used it in 2015, causing him to fall and suffer lasting injuries including blindness in one eye.

Clark County District Court spokeswoman Mary Ann Price says a jury in Las Vegas was seated Tuesday for the civil trial in Nevada state court.

The 79-year-old former Senate Democratic party leader and his wife, Landra Gould, seek damages from Ohio-based Hygenic Intangible Property Holding Co. and subsidiaries that make the product called TheraBand.

Reid’s lawsuit alleges negligence and calls the elastic physical resistance band defective and unreasonably dangerous, particularly for the elderly.

The company says Reid got hurt because he misused the exercise band.

Ken Ritter, The Associated Press

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By The Wall of Law March 27, 2019 Off



Sophie Turner has hinted she had a few same sex flings growing up.

The Game of Thrones star, 22, was justifying her decision to accept Joe Jonas’ 2018 proposal in a new Rolling Stone interview, when she revealed a little about her secret past.

Insisting she never once thought she was too young to be planning a wedding, the British actress says, “I feel like I’m much older a soul than I am in age. I feel like I’ve lived enough life to know. I’ve met enough guys to know. I’ve met enough girls to know…”

Sophie expanded on her “I’ve met enough girls” comment, stating, “Everyone experiments. It’s part of growing up. I love a soul, not a gender.”

The actress also confessed she was “preparing myself to be single for the rest of my life” before she met Jonas and realized he was her soulmate.

But before they started dating, Turner only had eyes for one pop star – Justin Bieber, and she admits her crush helped her come to terms with her naive Game of Thrones character Sansa Stark.

“She sees the world through rose-tinted glasses at the very beginning,” she tells the publication. “She is completely oblivious to who the royal family are. It’s like any Justin Bieber fan – they don’t realize Justin has his darkness about him.”

That enabled her to understand why Sansa would fall for evil king Joffrey on the fantasy show.

“There’s a lot of Sansa in me,” she adds. “You go into something and you think it’s going to be a huge dream, and then you figure out, ‘Oh, wait. I have to be very strategic about everything.’”

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By The Wall of Law March 27, 2019 Off



CHICAGO — In an astonishing reversal, prosecutors on Tuesday abruptly dropped all charges against Jussie Smollett, abandoning the case barely five weeks after the “Empire” actor was accused of lying to police about being the target of a racist, anti-gay attack in downtown Chicago.

The mayor and police chief blasted the decision and stood by the investigation that concluded Smollett staged a hoax. A visibly angry Mayor Rahm Emanuel called it “a whitewash of justice” and lashed out at Smollett. He asked, “Is there no decency in this man?”

Smollett’s attorneys said his record had “been wiped clean” of the 16 felony counts related to making a false report that he was assaulted by two men. The actor insisted that he had “been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one.”

“I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I was being accused of,” he told reporters after a court hearing. He thanked the state of Illinois “for attempting to do what’s right.”

It was not immediately clear what prompted the decision to dismiss the case. In a statement, the Cook County prosecutors’ office offered no detailed explanation. The city will keep the $10,000 in bail money that Smollett paid to get out of jail after his arrest.

“After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollett’s volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his bond to the City of Chicago, we believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case,” the statement from spokeswoman Tandra Simonton said.

ypically, a minimum condition of dropping cases is some acceptance of responsibility. Outside court, neither Smollett nor his legal team appeared to concede anything about his original report.

Defence attorney Patricia Brown Holmes said Smollett was “attacked by two people he was unable to identify” and “was a victim who was vilified and made to appear as a perpetrator.”

Authorities alleged that Smollett, who is black and gay, knew the men and arranged for them to pretend to attack him.

Among the unanswered questions was whether prosecutors still believe Smollett concocted the attack or whether new evidence emerged that altered their view of events.

Emanuel, who is in his final weeks in office after two terms, said the city saw its reputation “dragged through the mud” by Smollett’s plan to promote his career. The hoax, the mayor said, could endanger other gay people who report hate crimes.

“Now this casts a shadow of whether they’re telling the truth, and he did this all in the name of self-promotion,” he said.

Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson stood by the department’s investigation and said Chicago is “is still owed an apology.”

“I’ve heard that they wanted their day in court with TV cameras so that America could know the truth. They chose to hide behind secrecy and broker a deal to circumvent the judicial system,” Johnson said at a graduation ceremony for new police cadets.

Chicago’s top prosecutor, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, recused herself from the investigation, citing conversations she had with a Smollett family member.

Smollett was accused of falsely reporting to authorities that he was attacked around 2 a.m. on Jan. 29 in downtown Chicago. Investigators said he made the report because he was unhappy with his pay on “Empire” and believed it would promote his career.

The actor plays the gay character Jamal Lyon on the hit Fox TV show that follows a black family as they navigate the ups and downs of the recording industry.

He reported that he was assaulted on his way home from a sandwich shop. Smollett said two masked men shouted racial and anti-gay slurs, poured bleach on him, beat him and looped a rope around his neck. He claimed they shouted, “This is MAGA country” — a reference to President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan. He asserted that he could see one of the men was white because he could see the skin around his eyes.

Police said Smollett hired two men, both of whom are black, to attack him. Smollett allegedly paid the men $3,500.

The men are brothers Abimbola “Abel” and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo, and one of them had worked on “Empire.” An attorney for them has said the brothers agreed to help Smollett because of their friendship with him and the sense that he was helping their careers.

Police have also said that before the attack, Smollett sent a letter that threatened him to the Chicago studio where “Empire” is shot. The FBI, which is investigating that letter, has declined to comment on the investigation.


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By The Wall of Law March 26, 2019 Off