Toronto Star

Nov. 27, 02:00 EDT

Warning not relevant: Crown

Police report was only an opinion, Hadley inquest told

Peter Small
Toronto Star

An assistant crown attorney didn't think it was relevant for a court to know about a police officer's warning of possible "dire consequences" to Gillian Hadley if her husband was released on bail, an inquest into their murder-suicide has heard.

"There was an opinion," Frank Giordano testified yesterday about a written report he got from Durham Region police Constable Cheryl Carter that formed part of the documents he was examining before Ralph Hadley's bail hearing on Feb. 28, 2000.

"But there was nothing of an evidentiary value," he said under cross-examination by Geri Sanson, the lawyer for the Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses.

Four months after the bail hearing, Hadley broke into his estranged wife's home and shot her in the head with an illicitly obtained handgun, shooting himself moments later.

At the February bail hearing, Hadley was facing charges of criminal harassment and breaching two previous court orders to keep the peace and not contact his wife.

He had phoned her numerous times, despite Gillian telling him repeatedly to stop.

Carter's short report to the crown indicated a "cat and mouse" quality to Ralph's treatment of his wife. She wrote that Ralph told Gillian he had a private investigator tailing her and had compromising photos to reveal.

He had been released in the past and shown "a flagrant disrespect" for the law, the officer wrote.

She concluded that he was "absolutely" likely to reoffend, "possibly with dire consequences" given his past behaviour, "his obsession with the victim" and his medication for depression.

Sanson suggested that Carter was providing a risk assessment on Ralph, as recommended by federal guidelines on criminal harassment.

But Giordano disagreed. "Constable Carter's opinion was of interest," but an individual's opinion is of no significance to a court, he said.

In previous testimony at the inquest, he said Carter would not have been accepted as an expert witness by the presiding justice of the peace on Ralph's likelihood of reoffending.

In May, 2000, Ralph's family lawyer wrote to the Durham Children's Aid Society complaining that Gillian had broken arrangements for his access to their baby, according to a letter entered into evidence yesterday.

"Mrs. Hadley arbitrarily chose not to be there when access pickup was scheduled," stated the letter from Joanne Ferguson.

The letter said Ralph was of the view that the society was "taking sides with Mrs. Hadley" on the access issue.

Ferguson testified at the inquest, but she refused to answer any questions on the content of that letter and two other letters because she said she would be breaching solicitor-client privilege.

The inquest before coroner Bonita Porter continues today.

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