Trespassing on quasi-public property is a problematical charge. Under the Petty Trespassing Act, a property owner has the right to order you off the property without giving any reasons. In theory, this applies to private homeowners, storekeepers, shopping mall owners, and quasi-public corporations such as the Univeristy of Winnipeg. But according to my research, the courts have been reluctant to apply trespassing laws against people charged with being in an area to which the general public is normally allowed unrestricted access, unless it can be shown that the property owner had some legitimate reason for asking the "trespasser" to leave. That's going to be the basis of my defence.
The University issued its Trespassing Notice against me on the evening of January 11th, 2013, after it was reported that I had tried to force my way into the home of one of my former instructors. I'm going to argue that those reports were the reason for the trespassing order, and that I should therefore be allowed to introduce evidence into the events of that evening. Accordingly, I went to the Provincial Court three weeks ago and asked the Justice to swear out subpoenas on various U of W employees who had been involved in discussions leading up to the issuance of the trespassing order.
The Justice on duty wouldn't give me the subpoenas. She said she could only give me subpoenas against witnesses to the actual trespassing, which took place a month later. I didn't agree with her, so I wrote up an Application to appear before a Provincial Court Judge and ask for the subpoenas. In my Application, I argued pretty much what I have said in the previous paragraph: that no one gets convicted under the PTA for trespassing on quasi-public property unless there is some justification beyond "we told you you weren't welcome here".
The Judge agreed with me. Actually, even the Crown agreed with me. They said they wouldn't oppose my application for subpoenas, and furthermore, they said they had conferred with the U of W and they wanted me to serve the subpoenas directly on the Univerity's lawyer, Brian Meronek. And the Judge agreed.
I could hardly believe it. I said to the judge, "It sounds like you just saved me $300 in Process Server fees." The Judge agreed that it was so. Ordinarily, in criminal cases, the defendant has to hire private process servers to deliver his subpoenas. For whatever reason, I was being given a free pass on that.
I left the courtroom ecstatic. I got my subpoenas the next morning, and went straight to Mr. Meronek's office to serve them. He wasn't in; that's OK, he would be back the next week, so I could serve him then.
I sent him an email and left him a phone message.
When I heard back from Mr. Meronek on Tuesday morning, he told me he knew nothing about any subpoenas. I explained what had happened in court, and told him I would give him the contact information for the Crown Attorney so he could find out exactly what the judge had said. I suggested that if he did not want to deal with the subpoenas, perhaps Colin Morrison, the University's in-house lawyer, would be willing to do so.
Here is a copy of Mr. Meronek's response to me:
As indicated to you, I do not represent any individuals you wish to serve in your criminal matter. I only represent them in the civil matters you have brought against the University & its representatives. Accordingly, I have no instructions to accept service on their behalf. I suspect that the indication on record concerning my accepting service of documents was predicated on the University & myself wanting to make certain that, any in any civil matters , I was the person to be served on their behalf. It did not extend to the criminal charge.
Accordingly, I suggest the proper course of conduct would be for you to engage a process server to serve your subpoenas. Attempting personal service would only complicate matters for you. I cannot speak for Mr. Morrison, as he is on vacation, but I would expect that he would concur.