Toronto Star

June 28, 2000

Case weak against Hadley: Crown

Transcript reveals arguments made for his detention

By Stan Josey
Toronto Star Durham Region Bureau Chief

Despite an earlier assault on his estranged wife, threatening telephone calls and repeated stalking of her Pickering home, an Oshawa court found no compelling reason to keep Ralph Hadley behind bars in February.

A court transcript of the bail hearing obtained by The Star shows that even the crown attorney felt the case for keeping the 34-year-old Toronto postal worker in custody was not that strong.

Addressing justice of the peace Brenna Brown in the Ontario Court of Justice, Crown Attorney Frank Giordano conceded: ``This isn't the most persuasive crown's case you've heard for detention.''

A week ago, Ralph Hadley proved them wrong when he planned and carried out an execution-style murder of his wife Gillian and then killed himself. Giordano outlined for the court a pattern of abuse and harassment that appeared to be growing.

Brown considered Hadley's criminal history relating to his family and then imposed what she termed a very strict set of bail conditions when she released Hadley to the custody of his parents in Scarborough.

She was told by Giordano that Hadley had been charged a year earlier with an assault on his 6-year-old stepson, Gillian Hadley's son from a previous marriage.

That charge led to Hadley signing a peace bond requiring him to be of good behaviour.

That bond was breached on Jan. 7 when he was charged with assaulting Gillian Hadley. Hadley was required to sign another peace bond.

The February bail hearing related to more charges of criminal harassment of his wife and another breach of the peace bond. He had contacted his wife by phone and stalked her at her home.

Brown agreed in court that Ralph Hadley's actions could be considered threatening.

When his mother Christina Hadley was asked by the crown why her son might be accused of harassing his wife she answered: ``I would imagine it's because they're getting a divorce. . . . That is something that does not bring out the best in people.''

Brown agreed that breaking up is often hard but said the court was aware of circumstances in which ``people who, for perhaps reasons of their own insecurity, need to control situations even to the point where there are profound tragedies.

``So this court must be very careful . . . where people have been harmed and are being threatened again that there has to be a structure in place so that the person on release has no substantial likelihood of committing any further offence.''

In this case, Ralph Hadley's parents agreed to strict conditions for their son under which he would not be allowed to leave their Scarborough home except to go to work or to see his lawyer in Pickering. They even agreed to drive him to and from work and said they would restrict his calls.

On June 20, Ralph Hadley took a cab to his wife's home and killed her and himself.

Contents copyright © 1996-2000, The Toronto Star.