Toronto Sun

Tuesday, December 11, 2001

Domestic videos aid cops

Convictions climb when courts see injuries, inquest told


Police in Durham Region investigating domestic violence are now carrying video cameras, a coroner's inquest into the murder-suicide of Gillian and Ralph Hadley heard yesterday.

The new procedure mirrors moves made by other Ontario police services because there are more convictions when a jury can see the victim's physical condition after an assault, Sgt. Stew Giffin of the Durham Regional Police training branch testified.

But while Giffin didn't have statistics, Windsor police saw the conviction rate rocket from 50% to 95%.

"It produces a higher rate of guilty pleas," Windsor Staff-Sgt. Jerome Brannagan said outside the inquest.


"It provides the court with the best evidence: What the emotions are like at the time; what the location is like at the time; what the injuries are like at the time."

In June 2000, Ralph broke into his estranged wife's home and shot her before killing himself. At the time, he was facing charges of assaulting Gillian and criminal harassment.

Giffin has been teaching a domestic violence course since January as part of mandatory training for the service's 700 officers.

The former sexual assault investigator also said an assault charge must be laid if an officer has reasonable grounds during a domestic violence complaint -- a change made several years ago.

The inquest continues today.

Copyright © 2001, Canoe Limited Partnership.