Sydney Teerhuis Links

 

MCINTYRE COLUMN - Accused dismemberment killer loses unique challenge of jury system 

 

By Mike McIntyre
Winnipeg Free Press

Manitoba’s jury system has survived a unique legal challenge which would have dramatically altered how trials are heard – and who is allowed to hear them.

Queen’s Bench Chief Justice Marc Monnin released a long-awaited decision Thursday that ruled against an accused killer who claimed his right to have a trial before a “jury of his peers” was being breached.

Monnin dismissed arguments that the current jury selection process doesn’t allow for a true representation of the public and unfairly discriminates against native people.

Sidney Teerhuis, who is native, was seeking a largely aboriginal panel to hear his high-profile second-degree murder case. He is accused of dismembering, beheading and castrating Robin Greene, 38, inside the Royal Albert Arms Hotel in the summer of 2003.

Greene, a Shoal Lake resident visiting the city, had been cut into eight pieces and left in the bathtub. Police have been unable to locate some internal organs that had been removed from the victim, and their disposition remains a disturbing mystery.

Monnin had reserved his decision since last summer, which had legal eyes across Canada anxious to see how he ruled because of the potential sweeping ramifications for future trials.

One of Teerhuis’ main arguments about the jury process was that aboriginals are unfairly being precluded from jury duty because of a stipulation prospective jurors can’t have criminal records. He cited statistics that show 61 per cent of people who are incarcerated are native.

“There are a large number of aboriginal people being excluded from jury selection based on that provision,” defence lawyer Kathleen Fotheringham argued in court.

Defence lawyer Greg Brodsky was also fighting the motion on Teerhuis’ behalf and claims justice officials have created a system where the only people who are being selected for jury duty are “the elderly and the unemployed.”

“You may be getting a jury which is unbiased, these 70-year-old unemployed people and homemakers, but you’re not going to get a jury that is representative of the community,” said Brodsky.

About 1,600 jury notices were sent out in anticipation of the Teerhuis trial, which was set to begin last September. The list of names was randomly generated through provincial health records and there was no indication how many people were native.

More than 1,400 of those who received notices were excused from the panel for various reasons, including health, work duties and other commitments that could affect them financially. Only 189 people were left with 13 of those being disqualified for having criminal records, court was told.

The remaining 176 were expected to come to court where Crown and defence lawyers would then select the 12 who would hear the trial.

Monnin expressed concern in his decision about the large number of potential jurors who are being dismissed but said little can be done – especially since trials are now taking longer to complete.

“Such a high exemption rate, while apparently not unusual, is of concern. It would suggest that from a very large random sampling, the vast majority are not able to serve,” said Monnin.

Monnin did make a slight change to the current system, ordering the Crown to disclose the names of potential jurors to the defence five days before jury selection, instead of on the day of selection. That would allow greater scrutiny of the list, he said.

Teerhuis’ case has made international headlines because police recovered a necklace at the crime scene that had been stolen one day earlier from the set of the Hollywood movie, Shall We Dance?, starring Jennifer Lopez, Susan Sarandon and Richard Gere.

The movie was being filmed in Winnipeg. The $4,000 necklace belonged to Sarandon but played no role in the killing in terms of motive, according to police.

Greene and his alleged killer weren’t known to each other, but apparently met earlier in the night at a downtown city hotel and agreed to return to the hotel for consensual sex. 

A new trial date will now have to be set.

 

DATE: July 5, 2007

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Skookum House

By Sidney Teerhuis H.C.C.

Its water tower stands forlorn, almost majestic in its own

right. This brig has seen the faces of a First Nation. My

Ojibwe blood spilled on these walls.

I ponder in my heart, my mind why my people are here

in the first place. The Tories tried to obliterate our

grandparents, by giving them blankets contaminated

with smallpox. Then they put them in residential

schools. Birtle, St.Boniface Industrial School, the worst

of the Roman Catholic schools like Assinaboia, to name

a few.

Today jail has become the equivalent for our young men

and women, as the monastic residential schools once

were.

The Aboriginal Apartheid has reached the pinnacle of

Canadian society. Even our Aboriginal leaders, Chris

Henderson, Ron Evans and Phil Fontaine don’t seem to

care about this silent Holocaust. Well I do!

This is why I challenged the array for jury selection for

my trial. I asked, “Why are there no aboriginals

represented on jury panels in the city of Winnipeg?

The answer I got from Justice Marc Monnin was

Aboriginals are not wanted on Winnipeg juries.

By not allowing this, it violates sections 7, 11(d), 15(1)

and 25(a) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and

Freedoms. This affects all the above Charter Rights of

every Aboriginal in this country. It also is an

infringement of the “International Covenant on Civil and

Political Rights” (article 9 subsections 2, 3, 4, article 14

subsections 1,2  and article 16) of the covenant. My trial

has been delayed because of this infringement. If I win

this challenge, I will have changed the law that will

affect all Aboriginals in this country.

If you are Aboriginal and have read this, please educate

yourself through the Public Interest Law Section, under

legal aid, know what your rights are. Together we can

fight for self-government and a plural justice system.

The Public Interest Law Centre’s number is

(204) 985-8545. 

 

 

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 Dust My Broom

Peers please step forward

The Winnipeg Free Press ran an incredible article today that showcased the complete bankruptcy of special interest pleading.

Meet Sydney Teerhuis. This is from a 2003 article

Sydney Teerhuis, 33, has been charged with second-degree murder after he showed up at the downtown Police station to direct them to Greene’s body. Police say Teerhuis, a resident at the Royal Hotel, met Greene at the nearby Woodbine Hotel on Main Street and convinced Greene to come back to his place for sex…..

….Greene was found in the downtown hotel, decapitated, castrated and disemboweled. Sources report that Greene’s arms and legs were also cut off.

Turns out, Teerhuis is Indian. In today’s Free Press story, he his demanding that his jury for the murder trial be a jury of “his peers”, meaning that the majority of them have to be Aboriginal.

To the surprise of absolutely no one, Indians are seldom selected for jury duty due to the fact that people with criminal records cannot be selected. Teerhuis wants this overturned so he can get a jury of Indians.

This is mindboggling for more than the obvious reasons.

There is the fact that Teerhuis, despite being a degenerate sexual psychopath, assumes that a jury of Indians will overlook this and feel pity for him because he’s also Indian. This in turn raises the horrifying notion that he may actually be correct in his assumption. Why else, after all, would he be asking for a predominantly-Indian jury if it wasn’t to try and get some leniency out of his “brudders”? Did he happen to wake up a few months back and decide to become a fighter for justice? Perhaps he always wanted to be a hero, but all those years of casual sex in hotel rooms distracted him?

Second, I would give everything I own to have seen Nahanni Fontaine’s face this morning as she read this. What does she do? Does she step up and lip synch the usual by-rote outrage on a racist justice system and take the side of a monstrous criminal ( in turn, no doubt blaming his barabarism on the legacy of residential schools), or does she take a pass and miss a golden opportunity to once again engage in some race-baiting? Ditto for Chris Henderson and the UofW Another Dead Indian posse.

What’s a pimp to do?

This is the reductio ad absurdum of self-government. That a man who stands accused of slaughtering and violating another human being can express sincere belief in the idea that “his people” will somehow see things differently and perhaps feel compassion for him — despite his confessing to the murder — shows what possible horrors lie in the notion of handing over justice, as well as any other social service, to the kangaroo court of special interest victimhood.

If Teerhuis gets his wish, it will be, in my opinion, the death-knoll of self-goverrnment.

I will be watching this very closely.

 

Updated by Shere -
Here ya go Rask:

Excluded

“There are a large number of aboriginal people being excluded from jury selection based on that provision. It does affect the representativeness of the jury,” defence lawyer Kathleen Fotheringham argued in court earlier this month.

Defence lawyer Greg Brodsky is also fighting the motion on Teerhuis’ behalf and claims justice officials have created a system where the only people who are being selected for jury duty are “the elderly and the unemployed”.

“You may be getting a jury which is unbiased, these 70-year-old unemployed people and homemakers, but you’re not going to get a jury that is representative of the community,” said Brodsky.

“The process just doesn’t work.”

Jury co-ordinator Gail Hildebrand was forced to give evidence earlier this month and told court that about 1,600 jury notices were sent out in anticipation of the Teerhuis trial, which was set to begin in early September.

She said the list of names was randomly generated through provincial health records and didn’t know how many people were native.

Hildebrand said more than 1,400 of those who received notices were excused from the panel for various reasons, including health, work duties and other commitments that could affect them financially.

Only 189 people were left — with 13 of those being disqualified for having criminal records. The remaining 176 were expected to come to court next month where Crown and defence lawyers would then select the 12 who would hear the trial.
“The threshold to get off a jury panel is far too low,” said Brodsky, who also took issue with the fact jury officials simply took people at their word and didn’t require written declarations.

“That gives the impression justice isn’t being done and we don’t have procedural fairness.”

Crown attorney Deborah Carlson said there is no evidence anything improper has occurred when dismissing prospective jurors because of perceived hardships.

“The issue here isn’t whether (jury officials) are running the tight ship that Mr. Brodsky would run in determining what is a hardship to a person,” she said.

“There’s no evidence anything untoward has occurred or a panel has not been randomly chosen. The key word here is fairness, not perfection.”

Queen’s Bench Chief Justice Marc Monnin presided over the motion and has reserved his decision, which has forced an indefinite delay of Teerhuis’ trial.

“He doesn’t care if his trial is delayed. He wants a fair trial before a representative jury. If he has to sit and wait for it, he will,” said Brodsky.

He claims the motion is unique in Canada and would have far-reaching implications about the way juries are selected if successful.

Monnin questioned Brodsky in court about the reason so many people are opting out of jury duty.
“Isn’t that partly because the nature of where our criminal trials are going? They’re going to a far greater length. Jurors aren’t just expected to be here for a few days or a week anymore, but for two, three, six months,” he said.

Monnin also said Teerhuis isn’t allowed to hand-pick a jury of his pleasing.

“He’s entitled to have a jury chosen randomly from a group that represents the community as a whole. That doesn’t mean the end result has to be exactly how the community is comprised,” he said.

Teerhuis is accused of dismembering, beheading and castrating Robin Greene, 38, inside the Royal Albert Arms Hotel in the summer of 2003. Police were led to the body after a man walked into the Public Safety Building and allegedly confessed.

Investigators initially believed they were responding to a prank call and were stunned to find the victim inside the bathtub of a hotel suite. Greene, a Shoal Lake resident visiting the city, had been cut into eight pieces.

Police have been unable to locate some internal organs that had been removed from the victim, and their disposition remains a disturbing mystery.

Police also recovered inside the suite a necklace that had been stolen one day earlier from the set of the Hollywood movie, Shall We Dance?, starring Jennifer Lopez, Susan Sarandon and Richard Gere.

The movie was being filmed in Winnipeg. The $4,000 necklace belonged to Sarandon but played no role in the killing in terms of motive, according to police.

The celebrity link to the gruesome case sparked interest in the United States from gossip magazines, tabloid newspapers and entertainment talk shows.
Greene and his alleged killer weren’t known to each other, but apparently met earlier in the night at a downtown city hotel and agreed to return to the hotel for consensual sex.

www.mikeoncrime.com

Jury duty facts

* 10,349 English and 650 French jury summons issued in 2004-05.
* Prospective jurors randomly selected from Manitoba health records.
* Jury selection begins with a group of 48 or more residents from a judicial district, and, under the supervision of a judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench, a 12-member jury is selected.
* The Jury Act prohibits certain individuals from being jurors, including MPs and MLAs, judges, police officers, lawyers and other court officials, correctional and probation officers, persons convicted of an indictable offence or persons afflicted with a mental or physical infirmity that makes if difficult to perform the duties of a juror.
* Potential jurors may also be excused if the length of the trial could create a financial hardship on the individual or his or her family.

RASKY ADDS: Reading this again, I have to wonder if his demand for equality will now make him a hero in the fight for justice?

“Yes, at one time he did murder and disembowel someone….but he’s such a believer in the cause!”

Maybe he’ll be First Perspective ’s Man of the Year for 2006.

Or perhaps get tenure at the UofW’s Ab Studies program?

::

Jumping the Broom
Small Dead Animals with Jury Of His Peers



15 Responses to “Peers please step forward”

  1. raskolnikov Says:

    you da man, shere

  2. Shere Khan Says:

    Somehow I missed this one this morning. Brodsky is a piece of work I’ll tell ya. Damn can he work the system. Makes me proud to be a taxpayer.

    Shere Khan Says:

  3. Teerhuis is an Indian? Damn, he is whiter than I am!

  4. Darcey Says:

    “jury selection process doesn’t allow for a true representation of the public to hear a criminal case and is a violation of his Charter rights.”

    Holy cow… The public needs to know what he did. I think I may pass to be one of his peers and I’m sure I could wrangle up a few more peers from the great ’society’ that think in concert. Guys an animal and should be treated like one. He knows it and is fishing for pity and leniency.

  5. OMMAG Says:

    OK..so if a WASP serial killer gets caught……does he get to protest until a jury of WASP males be formed?

  6. Shere Khan Says:

    When in doubt, Go discrimination.

  7. Fergy Says:

    “The threshold to get off a jury panel is far too low,” said Brodsky,

    I just love defense laywers. On the one hand they want to lower the standard to include aboriginals with criminal records and then say this. Bwaahahahahaha!! Canada’s version of OJ Simpson.

  8. dmorris Says:

    What about those guys in that “Spirited Energy” photo, they look like they have time on their hands,and would make great jurors. Court proceedings can be lengthy and boring, and those guys’ relaxed attitude is exactly what is needed in what is sure to be a trial fraught with controversy.

    For starters, shouldn’t Teerhuis be entitled to a trial by a Native Court that understands the Native dilema and their history of oppression in Canada?

    So, give him a fair trial, then hang him.

  9. raskolnikov Says:

    notice how this wasn’t a big issue for Brodsky until one of his clients brought it up

  10. Pat Says:

    A jury of his peers, by that implying that there are 12 homosexual murderers with a passion for dismemberment and doing God knows what with some of the organs? In your dreams!! Oops! Nightmares.

    Give me a break. The guys a monster and should be put down like any civilized society would do with a dangerous animal.

    Pat

  11. potato Says:

    If he wins this argument, doesn’t that render all previous trials as mistrials? How many of those actually had true peer representation on the jury?

    That this argument is even seeing the light of day shows how disfunctional the justice system has become thanks to the Charter.

  12. 'been around the block Says:

    I posted this at sda this morning:

    I don’t give a rat’s a** if Teerhuis is an Indian and wants a “jury of his peers.”

    He lives in Canada, he’s a Canadian (he’s got a Canadian social security card, right?, and a medicare card, and he’s living off social assistance? I only ask because he’s been living in a hotel…), so a jury of his peers simply has to have 12 members that are…Canadian.

    That’s it. Full stop.

    Convene a jury of 12 Canadians and have done with it. If Teerhuis gets his way, and manages to manipulate the judicial system to give him what he wants (WAIT A MINUTE: HE’S IN JAIL; WHAT’S HE GOING TO DO IF THE COURTS REFUSE HIS REQUEST?) then he’ll have managed to turn Canadian jurisprudence upside-down and inside-out.

    Not that it isn’t already almost there, but…let’s put the brakes on this runaway vehicle.

  13. Peter Benyk Says:

    Is there any doubt in anyone’s mind that this sicko is guilty as sin?
    Let the courts and lawyers play their silly games but anyone with any common sense has the answer to this one particularly since the idiot went to the policeand confessed and took them to the body and scene of the crime.
    Great country where a turnip like this can hire Greg Brodsky and get us dummies to pick up the tab.
    When will we have an investigation into these abuses?

  14. Zupansky Says:

    I found the comments very interesting and very encouraging. First off Teerhuis did not confess to the murder, despite leading police to the body. He claims to have passed out and when he awoke he found the victim cut up in the bathtub. He reported that to police. Secondly the victim Robin Greene is an aboriginal living on a reserve; so how can Teerhuis expect a sympathetic jury comprised of aboriginals, even if he got his wish. No one in the media has asked how the victim’s family feel about this trial delay which could take this to fall of 2007, over four years from the murder. I am the star witness for the prosecution in this trial; keep a close watch on this case -it will turn out to be the most incredible story you have ever heard. My work as a journalist is how I became involved.

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