Toronto Star

Nov. 7, 02:00 EDT

Releasing Hadley `right thing to do,' inquest jury told

Despite peace bond, police freed husband after assault charge

Nicholas Keung
Toronto Star

Despite violating a peace bond ordering him not to harm his spouse and children, Ralph Hadley was released by police after being charged with assaulting his wife Gillian, an inquest has heard.

Durham police Detective Constable Bruce Kelly responded to a complaint from Gillian on Jan. 8, 2000 that Ralph had slapped her and banged her head against a wall the day before.

The attack took place at the Ajax home of Gillian's secret lover, where Ralph had caught the pair having sex.

At the inquest into the couple's June 20, 2000 murder-suicide, Kelly testified yesterday that Gillian suffered a sore jaw, a minor bump on her forehead and slight redness to her left cheek in the January attack.

"(Her injuries) weren't in need of any immediate medical attention," he told coroner Dr. Bonita Porter and the five-member jury.

Ralph was arrested and charged with assault and a breach of recognizance, the latter stemming from a peace bond he had signed earlier arising from a charge of negligence causing bodily harm to Gillian's handicapped son, Michael Ferraz, from her first marriage.

Kelly said he decided to release Ralph based on the following beliefs:

  • There was no evidence to destroy.

  • The accused would not reoffend within the next 24 hours.

  • Ralph's parents had offered to temporarily accommodate him at their Scarborough home.

  • Ralph had "a responsibility to pay for the (couple's) house and the housekeep of their children.''

    "There was no mention (that) weapons, controlled drugs or alcohol was a factor" in the complaint, Kelly explained.

    A list of strict conditions was also imposed on Ralph, including a ban on "communicating directly or indirectly with Gillian, (her lover) Clark Kostyshyn and friend Kim Nicely" under any circumstances.

    "It was the right thing to do at that time," Kelly said, referring to Ralph's immediate release.

    Despite a directive from the federal solicitor-general's department that makes it mandatory for accused abusers to be "arrested, charged and held for bail hearing," Kelly said a memo from the local justice of the peace office instructed police to release suspects who met the aforementioned conditions.

    "It's a problem in the court that there's a backlog of persons waiting for their bail hearings," he explained, adding he didn't have a copy of that memo.

    Under cross-examination by Geri Sanson, lawyer for the Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses, Kelly said a justice of the peace would have released Ralph at a bail hearing.

    He acknowledged he knew about Ralph's previous criminal charge concerning Michael Ferraz, but he believed the boy's life was not at risk because he was in the care of his biological father.

    Kelly said he did not know Ralph had a firearm acquisition certification, but was aware of the statistics on how many women are killed by their abusers in the month after their separation.

    "Having been 27 years on the job, I can read an individual well," Kelly said of his decision to free Ralph. "In my own mind, I felt that (Gillian's) safety and the safety of her children were not in jeopardy at all.''

    On June 20, 2000, Ralph snuck into Gillian's Hillcrest Rd. home in Pickering and shot her before taking his own life.

    "In all domestic assault incidents (I've investigated), this is the first one that went this way," Kelly noted sadly.

    Sanson replied, "What does that tell us? Who knows?''

    The inquest continues today.

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