Fondling conviction overturned

A judge has quashed a sexual assault conviction against a McDonald's employee who allegedly fondled a 28-year-old man in the restaurant's washroom more than two years ago. Court of Queen's Bench Justice Jacqueline Coutu then ordered a new trial Friday for the accused, 27, after ruling the provincial court judge failed to give reasons why she chose the complainant's version over that of the accused. "This case came down to credibility," said Coutu, "but there was no analysis of contradictory ...

Child abuse trial evidence disputed

The opening day of an alleged child abuse trial for a day-home operator began Monday with legal arguments on admissibility of evidence. Crown prosecutor Patricia Yelle and defence lawyer Pat Fagan questioned a city police officer all day during a voir dire (trial within a trial) at Court of Queen’s Bench. The accused, 35, has pleaded not guilty to assault causing bodily harm. She is accused of pushing a toddler, just short of a year old, down a flight of …

Day-home operator faces trial in child injury case

A Calgary day-home operator faces a seven-day judge and jury trial next year for allegedly pushing a child down a flight of stairs. Justice Paul Chrumka set the trial to begin June 2 for the accused, during criminal arraignments on Wednesday at Court of Queen’s Bench. The accused, 34, faces one count of assault causing bodily harm in connection with an incident that occurred earlier this year, allegedly involving a child under her care. The accused will remain free on …

Assault charges against day-home owner stayed

A day-home operator no longer faces charges of assaulting an infant under her care after a judge ruled an incriminating statement the accused made to police could not be used at her trial. “Without the statement, we don’t have sufficient evidence to continue prosecution,” prosecutor Patricia Yelle told Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Carolyn Phillips following the decision Wednesday. “The Crown enters stays on both charges.” Phillips ruled following a voir dire (trial within a trial) that the accused constitutional …

Ex-Liberal’s gun charge tossed

A weapons charge laid against the accused has been thrown out of court. The single charge of careless use and storage of a firearm was withdrawn during a brief appearance in Calgary provincial court Tuesday. The accused pleaded not guilty last fall to the charge that stems from the previous June. Jim Lutz, acting on behalf of the accused defence lawyer Patrick Fagan, said the charge was withdrawn because of concerns with a warrant. In a Shaw Cable TV ethnic …

Jury acquits man for warning shots

Firing gunshots into a fence while his girlfriend was being held hostage was an act of heroism, not criminal behaviour, a jury ruled last night. The five-man seven-woman Court of Queen’s Bench panel ruled the accused's criminal conduct was done under duress and therefore justified. The jury acquitted the accused, 28, of several weapons offences, including possession of a loaded handgun - a crime which carries a mandatory minimum of one-year jail term. Jurors accepted defence lawyer Pat Fagan’s argument ...

Man cleared in washroom assault

COURTS – A former McDonald’s employee has been acquitted of sexual assault for allegedly fondling a 28-year-old man in a washroom of the downtown restaurant nearly three years ago. Provincial court judge Gerald Meagher, noting the complainant was evasive and argumentative, said it would be dangerous to enter a conviction against the accused 27, for the alleged incident on Feb.03, 2003. Lawyer Pat Fagan, whose client did not testify during the retrial, had argued the alleged incident in the restaurant …

Sex accused thrilled with acquittal

The manager of a downtown fast-food restaurant is “happy as a clam” after being cleared of allegations he sexually assaulted a male customer. Provincial court Judge Gerry Meagher yesterday ruled there was no credence a mans’ claim he was groped by the accused. The ruling came as a relief to the accused, defence lawyer Pat Fagan said. “That’s been hanging over his head for more than two years now”, Fagan said. “He’s happy as a clam”. Meagher said it would …

Woman recounts call after escort’s suicide

A former Calgary firefighter on trial accused of being a pimp called the mother of one of his escorts after she committed suicide to convince her that he was a good guy. “He told me he had spoken to her mother and he wanted her to know that she was working for a reputable company”, the former office manager at Liaisons Escorts and Entertainment testified Wednesday. The woman, who can’t be identified because of a court order, said the accused …

Lawyer defends escort biz

The lawyer for an ex-firefighter charged with moonlighting as a pimp is arguing running an escort agency is a service fully sanctioned by the city. Defence lawyer Pat Fagan has asked the court for a stay of charges against his client, the accused who faces 15 charges in connection with allegations he was pimping for prostitutes while running an escort agency. “He shouldn’t be charged with any offences – the City of Calgary has legitimized the sex trade in the …

Student tells of sex with Calgary escort

A Vancouver student testified Monday he used a website to arrange a two hour sexual encounter with a Calgary escort. Neither individual can be identified because of a court order, however the university student told Justice Patrick Sullivan that he contacted the woman through the Hollywood Escorts website. After a series of phone calls, he learned that the woman would be flying into Vancouver in a couple of days. The two agreed to a fee of $500 and to meet …

Escort’s Death Sparked Rearrest of Accused

A Calgary escort who killed herself at an upscale Vancouver hotel after turning tricks there had a void cheque in her possession from a former Calgary firefighter who is now standing trial for being her alleged pimp. Court heard previously that the 26-year-old woman fell to her death from the 22nd floor of the Century Plaza Hotel on the morning of Dec. 21, 2002. At that time, the accused was facing a raft of prostitution-related charges arising from an Oct. …

Pimping Suspect’s Trial Adjourned Until 2006

It will be the new year before a pimping suspect can argue he was duped by the city officials into believing the escort sex trade was sanctioned. Crown and defence lawyers met with Justice Pat Sullivan yesterday to discuss procedural issues before adjourning the three week-old trial. Several yet-to-be determined days will be set aside sometime in the new year for prosecutor David Torske and defence lawyer Pat Fagan to debate the merits of the accused’s case. Fagan has said …

Potential Escorts Made Aware Sex Involved: Witness

Calgary women wanting to be escorts are not discouraged from entering the trade and are made fully aware of the sexual nature of the industry before a city licence is granted, according to a former civilian who worked in the police vice unit. “Was it clear that the line of work was sex for money?” asked Crown prosecutor David Torske. “I think they knew, but we never specifically spoke about it,” said Kathryn Coonfer, whose job was to interview potential …

Hooker Says City Fireman Bad Pimp

An ex-firefighter was a lousy pimp who kept poor business records and tried to have sex with his workers, a city hooker testified yesterday. The female escort, who can’t be named under a publication ban, told court the accused was her first pimp, who introduced her to the world of escort agencies after she answered his ad in a local newspaper. At first, she liked him, but as she came to doubt his business practices, the hooker said she joined …

Accused Says He Concluded Sex For Money Legal In Calgary

A former Calgary firefighter charges with being a pimp told court on Thursday he had the authority to lawfully work at an escort agency because conversation with officials and studying a city bylaw led him to believe he was doing nothing wrong. The accused testifying in his own defence, told Justice Patrick Sullivan that in September 2001, before Liaisons Escorts even opened, he called the Calgary Police Service to inquire about the legality of the business. “I asked them straight …

Cop Links Escorts, Hookers

Escort agencies in the city are fronts for prostitution that are virtually ignored by police, a Calgary pimping trial heard Tuesday. “Is it fair to say the Calgary Police Service leaves escort agencies alone unless there is a public complaint?” asked lawyer Patrick Fagan. “Aye, sir,” replied Det. Gordon McCulloch, who has spent more than seven years in the vice unit. During his two tours with the unit, McCulloch has investigated only two escort agencies, including the one he was …

Secretary details escort agency operation

A former Calgary firefighter charged with being a pimp handled all the cash, told escorts how to dress and frequently placed managerial phone calls to the Liaisons escort agency while working at the fire hall, according to a former employee. One of the agency’s secretaries told a Calgary court Wednesday that the accused, would call a couple of times a day to see how the business was doing. “It would come up at the fire station,” testified the woman, who …

Escort Urged To Have Unsafe Sex

A former Calgary firefighter ordered escorts at an agency he managed to engage in unsafe sexual practices to justify a fee increased according to women testifying at his pimping trial. The escort, who can’t be identified because of a publication ban, said the accused at a September 2002 meeting at Liaisons Escort Agency, told the women to have sex without a condom and perform oral sex. The reason? A $20 and hour fee hike. “He wasn’t suggesting it, he was …

Cop says escorts not pressured

Police didn't pressure escorts into turning on accused pimp the accused by threatening their livelihood, a vice cop testified yesterday. Det. Mike Dulaney rejected a suggestion police tried to block the women from moving to new agencies unless they agreed to testify against the accused. And Dulaney denied allegations investigators turned a blind eye to the illegal activities of some agencies while targeting the accused's Liasons Escorts. Defence lawyer Pat Fagan quizzed the officer about why the accused business was ...