Toronto Star

Nov. 23, 02:01 EDT

Crown didn't think Hadley would kill

Inquest told jail might not have stopped deaths

Peter Small
Toronto Star

The crown attorney at a bail hearing for a postal worker who would later go on to murder his wife said that at the time, "it didn't cross my mind that this was a homicide in the making."

Frank Giordano told an inquest into the murder-suicide of Gillian and Ralph Hadley he worries about whether the justice system could have prevented their deaths if Hadley had been jailed instead of released on bail on Feb. 28, 2000.

Giordano testified yesterday that had he any inkling Ralph Hadley was homicidal, he would have "stood on his head" and stayed in court "until midnight" to deal with it.

"I didn't see any indication that he was going to seriously harm her or kill her," he told Geri Sanson, lawyer for the Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses.

At the bail hearing, Hadley was facing charges of criminal harassment and breaching a previous court order not to contact his estranged wife. He was already out on bail on a charge of assaulting Gillian in January.

Justice of the peace Brenna Brown released him on $5,000 bail and placed Hadley under the supervision of his mother, who pledged to make sure he would not contact Gillian in any way.

But four months later, Ralph shot Gillian, then himself, after breaking into their former matrimonial home in Pickering.

Giordano has previously testified he told the justice of the peace at the bail hearing that Hadley wasn't the most "persuasive" case for detention.

In a heated cross-examination, Sanson asked him that if by saying that, he was "in fact raising the white flag."

Giordano disagreed. He testified that his role as a crown attorney is to put forward the case fairly to best ensure Gillian's safety and privacy. "That's what I believed I did."

He testified he didn't know if jailing Ralph would have saved the couple. "I worry about it and don't know what the answer is."

At some point, Hadley would have been released, he said. "I don't know that jail would have solved the problem unless jail would have resulted in his changing his mind."

Sanson suggested that if Giordano had done more to underline the aggravating facts in Ralph's history and the "secondary" risk factors which include threats to public safety "that we may have seen a very different result."

But Giordano rejected Sanson's suggestion "in the strongest possible terms."

Hadley "presented as a low risk," he said, adding there was no evidence that he owned a weapon or abused drugs or alcohol.

There were no guarantees in the bail conditions, Giordano said. Hadley was able to convince his parents that he was at home when he was in fact out, he said.

"The monitoring wasn't perfect."

The inquest continues today.

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