Mr. Arthur Maloney (Parkdale):
I rise on a question of privilege personally affecting me in my capacity as a member of this house. The question of privilege arises out of newspaper and radio publicity concerning evidence which was given on Wednesday, March 22 last in magistrate's court in Toronto during the course of a preliminary inquiry conducted by His Worship Magistrate Joseph Addison into charges against three men, Mr. Robert J. Wright, a former constable of the Ontario provincial police, Mr. Joseph McDermott and Mr. Vincent Feeley.
Among the charges facing these three gentlemen are charges of conspiracy to bribe a police officer and conspiracy to pervert the administration of justice. The witness whose testimony was given the publicity to which I now refer is an officer of the Ontario provincial police named Scott, who is represented as being an undercover agent of the Ontario provincial police and who purports to have kept notes of conversations he had with each of the three accused. Part of the conspiracy which the crown seeks to establish in this case is that the accused tried to bribe officer Scott in order to obtain information as to raids proposed to be made by members of the police force against a number of alleged gaming houses.
During the course of the preliminary inquiry into these charges one of the documents filed as an exhibit was a brief which I am informed contains instructions designed to facilitate a successful prosecution of an alleged gaming house known as the Ramsey club in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
The crown alleges that the brief was prepared at the instance of the accused who were interested in securing a conviction against the then proprietors of the Ramsey club in the hope that a competitor in the gambling business would thereby be eliminated. During the preliminary hearing on Wednesday last, March 22, police constable Scott, while giving evidence as a witness for the crown and while being questioned by counsel for the crown, testified with reference to conversations that he alleges he had with 90205-6-212J
the accused ex-police officer Wright. The evidence he gave on that occasion with reference to the alleged conversations with respect to the brief I have mentioned is as follows. I quote briefly from the transcript when he was being questioned by counsel for the crown on that occasion, and it reads as follows:
Q. What, if anything, did Wright say on this occasion to you, as to any activities of his when he had been on the force?
A. Well, for one thing, he referred to a brief. This brief was common knowledge to both Wright and myself, and dealt with a set of instructions, how to go about prosecuting what we call the old Ramsey Club at Niagara Falls.
Q. And when you say the brief had been common knowledge to you and Wright when Wright was on the force, why had it been common knowledge to you?
A. Well, Wright saw this brief, and I saw this brief, and we both acted upon it, along with other officers of the branch, in an attempt to prosecute that club.
Q. This was, I take it, a typed brief, with details as to how to obtain a conviction against the old Ramsey club?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And that had been seen by each of you, when Wright had been on the force?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. When you say the old Ramsey club, are you referring to, from your knowledge, the Ramsey club in its location and alleged management referred to here, or some other club?
A. Different management, sir.
Q. Yes, and prior to the present Ramsey club?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Yes, well I have interrupted you.
A. He went into-he told me that this brief was drawn up by lawyers, and also, or included in which was Dave Humphrey, and also he-Wright himself, in composing this brief, and the way he described to me-the way this brief got into the anti-gambling branch-in that he said the brief was given to Fred Maloney, the federal member of parliament, who gave it to Jim Maloney, the minister of mines in Ontario, who in turn gave it to Inspector Stringer of the Ontario provincial police, and Inspector Stringer gave it to Sergeant Anderson of the anti-gambling branch.
Q. And, speaking from your knowledge, apart from what Wright told you, you have indicated that the anti-gambling branch did, in fact, receive a brief, as you have described?
A. Yes, sir.
Mr. Speaker, the first point to be observed is that my name is not used at all. While officer Scott was giving this evidence he was referring, I suppose in order to refresh his memory, to the notes he alleges he kept of the conversations he professes to have had with ex-officer Wright. An examination of the notes to which he was referring as he gave his evidence reveals likewise that my name does not appear in them at all but refer to
Question of Privilege
someone else altogether; and the minister of mines for Ontario is designated as "Jim Malone". I will not mention the name of the other person referred to in these notes in the hope that I will help put an end to the character assassination that was commenced when this evidence was given in court. Some of the newspapers, however, for reasons best known to themselves, saw fit to take the liberty of inserting the name "Arthur Maloney" when in fact it had not appeared at all, and this was the news report that went across the country.
As someone who has tried to build up an honourable reputation in this place it seems to me that those responsible took an inexcusable licence with my name.
To their credit, there were certain newspapers and radio stations who, doubtless shocked that such gossip should be admitted in evidence at all in a court of law, refrained from mentioning any names in their press reports. The Ottawa Journal and the Globe and Mail of Toronto so far as I am aware are cases in point. This is true also of radio station CFRB in Toronto. And the Globe and Mail, so far as I am aware, is the only newspaper that took the precaution to refer to the fact that the name "Arthur Maloney" was not used in court at all.
Because, however, of the wide publicity given to the matter and to the suggestion contained in this publicity that my brother and I had seen the brief, I asked and received permission from Magistrate Addison to appear before him on Friday morning last, March 24, to make a statement both on my own behalf and on behalf of my brother, who is indisposed. I stated to His Worship then and I repeat now that neither he nor I at any time heard of such a brief or saw such a brief. It was never at any time delivered to me, nor did I at any time deliver it to him. It has in fact never been in the possession of either of us. To this day I do not even know what the document looks like.
I think I am bound to say that crown counsel in cases such as this has to assume the responsibility of not leading evidence in a public courtroom that is not only inadmissible and irrelevant but contrary to what he knows to be the facts, especially when it involves the use of names that are bound to receive wide publicity.
Why this piece of false and unfounded gossip was admitted at all as evidence is something that I will never be able to understand. Crown counsel last Friday attempted to undo the wrong that had been done by saying this in court:
Although the stories that had been passed to me as to how this brief came to Inspector Stringer were conflicting; that that did not support an
allegation by Wright to Scott that it had gone through the hands of Arthur Maloney or his brother, but were inconsistent with them.
In other words, Mr. Speaker, crown counsel has admitted that the facts in his possession contradict the suggestion that the brief was ever in my possession or in that of my brother. Among other things Mr. Ford said on this occasion were these:
Your Worship, first, I am very happy to say Mr. Maloney's reputation is, as we all know, completely untarnished, and I think this is an unusual opportunity extended to him. I feel it should be and I for one am happy to accept, as I would always be happy to accept, his personal say.
During the course of my presentation to His Worship the magistrate I complained about the failure of crown counsel to have informed the court that there was no evidence whatever to establish the unfounded statement that the brief had ever come to me or to my brother. Thus, on Friday, Mr. Ford stated as follows:
Now, my learned friend, Mr. Maloney, suggests that in addition to the statement made by the crown yesterday, that a statement ought to be made that there was no evidence to support any innuendo-first of all, there is no innuendo, and it's not part of the crown's case that my learned friend, Mr. Maloney or his brother are in any way implicated in this case.
In the concluding part of his statement to the magistrate Mr. Ford said:
On behalf of the crown, and with respect to the court, I was happy to accept Mr. Maloney's statement that he, personally, and through him, his brother, had no part in this. I say again that I accept his statement, that there was never, at at any time, any intended innuendo that they had any part in any way in the matter involved.
In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, in view of what I think was a grave injustice done both to me as a member of this house and to my brother, I had no alternative but to rise today on this question of privilege to set the record straight, in the hope that those who caused the injustice will see to it that what wrong they have done is now set right.
Subtopic: MR. MALONEY REFERENCE TO EVIDENCE GIVEN IN MAGISTRATE'S COURT ON MARCH 22