Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Death Threat? What death threat?

There is absolutely no doubt that I was banned from the University of Winnipeg in January of 2012 because of reports of a death threat I had made. Don Metz would testify that he was 100% sure it was a death threat. Yet when I first asked him on the witness stand why I was banned from the campus, he claimed he didn't know. It was only with great effort that I could get him to "remember" the incident with the death threat.

The funny thing is that VP Neil Besner's memory was no better when it came to the same incident. You'd think that if a student got banned from the campus for making death threats that the people involved would remember the reason. But apparently not.

So I thought that security chief Martin Grainger, who actually signed the trespassing order, would be able to set things straight. Wrong again. Grainger had yet another theory as to the reason for the ban. Under direct examination, he said that the trespassing order was drawn up on the basis that when the Registrar had asked security to accompany him to deliver a classroom suspension notice, they decided they might as well ban me from the property altogether. And when pressed as to the reasons for the classroom suspension, he testified that the only complaint he knew about was that I had verbally assaulted a classroom guest, an ASL interpreter who had been invited for a presentation.

There is no doubt that I was banned because of the death threat. So why did three different witnesses, when asked for the reason, profess to know nothing about it? I'll let you think about that for a while.

And while you're thinking about it, remember there were two trespassing orders. One in 2012 for the "death threat", and the other in 2013 for the "home invasion".  The funny thing is that the same witnesses who couldn't remember the death threat of 2012 were equally evasive when it came to remembering the home invasion of 2013.

It's hard to avoid the conclusion that the University knew that both the "death threat" and the "home invasion" were cock-and-bull stories that wouldn't hold water under scrutiny. They could get away with it in their own internal star chambers, where I wasn't allowed to know the charges against me or confront my accusers. But this was a real court, and the rules were different.  That explains why the University was being deliberately evasive, trying to muddy the waters by asserting multiple reasons for the two trespassing orders. But in doing so, they had made a huge mistake.

The "verbal assault" on the ASL interpreter had nothing to do with the reason I was in court. But by invoking it as a reason for the first trespassing order (and then trying to argue that the second order was merely an extension of the first) they had opened it up for cross-examination. So I subpoenaed Lauralyn Cantor, the professor who had witnessed the verbal assault, and whose written complaint to the Dean would form a major pillar of the Non-Academic Misconduct charges which led to my expulsion.

Her testimony would be disastrous for the university.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Don Metz Twists and Turns on the Witness Stand

I've been telling you how University VP Neil Besner lied on the witness stand about not knowing the reason I was banned from the U of W campus in January of 2013. Now I was about to catch Don Metz in almost the identical pattern of lying, except this time it was about being banned from the campus exactly one year earlier, in 2012. The most surprising thing about these lies is their utter pointlessness. There could be no doubt that Besner knew the reason I was banned, since (as he would later admit) he was personally involved in issuing the banning order. And likewise, there would be no doubt that Metz knew the reason I was banned the previous year: the paper trail was thick with his involvement. So why the pointless lies? We'll get to that eventually. But first lets recap the number of lies told by Metz before he was forced to admit the truth.

First I asked him if he knew why I was banned from the campus. He admitted to having written a formal letter of complaint on Nov 10 2011 and "assumed" that that was one of the reasons for the barring order. I've told you how, when I asked him if there weren't any other complaints he had made about me, he repeatedly feigned confusion about what I was asking before finally declaring, "No, nothing that I can recall".

So then I told him I was going to refresh his memory. And when I started leafing through the papers on the table in front of me, his memory did indeed improve. Was I talking about the day I was kicked out of class, he asked? Because if I was, "...I certainly did complain about the way he left the class."

Okay, now we're getting somewhere. You did complain about that? And would it have been an email?

"That would be the only way it would have been."

Now the subject of this email turned out to be not a small fact, it was a death threat that Metz had supposedly seen me make on the day I was kicked out. It was a gesture that Metz testified he was absolutely, 100% sure was a death threat. And he had sent an email about whom, he couldn't remember. And when I asked him if he could produce it for the court, he said: "How would that be relevant to these proceedings?"

The Judge finally had to ask him if he was quite sure that he had indeed sent such an email. "I think, certainly, yes, certianly I can go back and look for that, okay. And it, I mean, ther was, I was very disconcerted with the gesture and the actions at that point in time."

And so the Judge instructed him to search his records and provide that email to the Court. Meanwhile, I continued to press Metz on how he responded to the "death threat". It was clearly a matter of great concern. Security was stepped up, locks were changed, and of course I was banned from the campus.

So why did Metz lie when I first asked him: did he know why I was banned from the campus on January 11 2012...the very day of the "death threat"? Why did he say that he "assumed" that the banning had something to do with a letter he had written two months earlier? Why did he insist that letter was the only complaint he made to the University "that he could recall"?

But I wasn't finished yet with Metz. It turned out there was yet another letter of complaint he had sent, this one on the 9th of January, two days before the incident with the "death threat", which Metz had also been conveniently unable to remember. I confronted him with the documentation which showed the existence of this third letter. Once again, when confronted with proof, Metz's memory began to clear up. Did he recall sending that letter? "I believe I did."

So there was not one letter of complaint from Metz, as he had originally testified, but far.  And as for this third letter...did he believe it might have had any influence on the decision to bar me from the campus?

"I don't know what, what influence it had."

Oh yes you do, Professor Metz. Yes you do. But we'll talk about that when we return....

Monday, January 20, 2014

Who Will Rid Me of this Meddlesome Priest?

I think it's safe to say that no individual did more than Don Metz to get me kicked out of university. I've already told you how I once caught him out in three separate "half-truths" in one short email. And how he sent an email to Neil Besner accusing me of trying to force my way into Professor Bush's home, and then when I sued Bush for defamation, Metz swore an affidavit where he denies Bush said anything of the sort. The thing about Metz is that it's hard to pinpoint his lies...either he lied in the email, or he lied in the affidavit. I think he lied in both, even if I can't exactly prove that...yet. But for sure he lied in one or the other.

So it was pretty suprising to me when I got him on the witness stand and asked him if he knew why I'd been barred from the campus, that he said he didn't know. I mean, he was the central nexus of the whole "home invasion" story...he was the first guy Bush phoned, and the first guy to inform the University. And he was part of the subsequent meetings and consultations. So how did he not know the reason I was banned from the campus?

It turned out he was playing the same game Besner had already played! There were actually two trespassing orders one year apart...and just as Besner had done three weeks earlier, Metz was know acting as though I had asked him about the original order (January 2012) and not the one I was on trial for, that was all over their subpoenas (January 2013). But okay, let's ask that question then (since he brought it up): Did he know why I was barred from the campus in 2012?

"I presume it had to do with the four or five complaints that were addressed on a non-academic matter".

I see. Were any of those complaints from you?


Some of them?

"Not some of them. One of them was."

And Metz believed that complaint was what led to my expulsion?

"I can't make that judgment".

Was the the only complaint you were invovled in, I asked? And listen to what he says:

"That is the only complaint I filed in a written formal matter." (Note the escape clause!)

And when pressed, he tried to divert attention by admitting that there were other complaints related to my requests for the return of property....almost a year after I was expelled! No, Professor Metz, we're not talking about that...we're talking about the original expulsion. Were there any other letter that you wrote?

"Before that? I mean, that was Nov. 10th, correct? Then no."

That wasn't the question, and he knew it. And again with the tell-tale escape clause...specifically crafted to enable him to feign ignorance of exactly what everyone knew I was asking him: "Before that or subsequent, but prior to the barring notice," I insisted. And here comes the whopper:

"Subsequent and prior to the barring notice, nothing that I can recollect."

In the 12th century, Kind Henry III was having trouble with the Church. So when the Archbishop of Canterbury died, Henry replaced him with his faithful friend, Thomas Beckett. But to his surprise, Beckett took his new job seriously, and proved just as troublesome, if not more so, than the previous archbishop. One thing led to another, and Henry had Beckett thrown in the Tower of London. But even from there, Beckett continued to be a thorn in his side, issuing pronouncements that Henry could not overrule. In frustration, the Kind is said to have cried out, in the presence of several noblemen, "Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?".

The noblemen took this as a tacit authorization for a "covert op", and before long Beckett had been assassinated. The phrase "plausible deniability" had not yet been coined, but that's the general idea. Henry later claimed he had been misunderstood, and even did public penance, but the bottom line is that Beckett was gone for good.

It turns out Metz, like Henry III, knew a lot more about the circumstances of my expulsion than he was admitting on the stand. But despite his best efforts, the evidence would soon come to light, in the form of an email taken straight from the playbook of Henry III...

Friday, January 17, 2014

I know nussink. Nuss-ss-ss-SINK!

I told you the other day about Neil Besner's bizarre evasiveness under cross-examination when I asked him the reason I had been banned from the campus. It should have been a simple question with a simple answer: I was banned because Professor Bush said I tried to force my way into his home. But it turned out that's not the way the University wanted to play it out.

As the cross-examination went on, it became apparent that the University was going to argue that the home-invasion was little more than the straw that broke the camel's back...that they had ample reason to ban me from the campus regardless. That's why, when pressed, Besner was only reluctantly willing to admit that the home invasion "precipitated" the barring notice. In fact, he would go on to claim, the University had every intention of issuing the ban even before the events of January 11th.

But that would only become evident much later. In the short run, Besner's strategy seemed to be simply was to do everything possible to avoid answering any questions.

It started when I asked him why I was banned from the campus, and he claimed it was because of some conflict with a professor, of which he was unfamiliar with the details. It would turn out, of course, that he was intimately familiar with the details.

Then I asked him about what discussions took place with regard to issuing the trespassing order: specifically, who was involved in those discussions. His answer? "Hard to recall."

And again: How did he become aware of the incident? His answer: "I just can't recall. Sorry, can't recall."

And later, when I asked him: did you have any role in the trespassing order getting issued? His answer was a flat-out "No."

It was only when I expressed disbelief, that he clarified: "I don't issue trespass orders. I'm not a policeman."

So he was going to be clever about this, was he? I don't know if it's officially called a barring notice or a trespassing order, but everyone in the court knew what I was asking him about, and when I finally phrased the question to his satisfaction, he replied: "Yes, absolutley."

And then it started all over again. What exactly was the nature of his involvement in getting the trespassing order...oops, "barring notice"... issued? He asked for clarification: was I referring to the evening of the 11th? Yes I was, because that's when the notice was issued. His answer: "I had no involvement in the signing of the barring notice on the eveing that you're referring to."

Well, that took about 15 minutes to straighten out. It turns out that the University would claim that while the barring notice was dated the 11th of January, it wasn't signed until a day or two later. So Besner could argue that he was technically correct in saying that he had not been involved in discussions on that evening. But I never asked him about that evening in the first was he who asked me to stipulate the evening in it turned out, just so he could deny his involvement.

And so I rephrased my question: I understand that you weren't involved in signing it, but I wonder if you might have been involved in giving instructions to someone else to sign it? His answer: "It's a difficult question..." followed by more evasiveness, and ending with, "You know, I cannot remember who instructed who to issue a barring notice. But I certainly would have been in favor of it, if that's what you want to know."

With considerable difficulty, I finally got Besner to that admit security chief Martin Grainger would not have had the authority to issue the barring notice on his own, and that his instructions to do so were "probably" issued as a result of consultation between himself (Besner), VP of Human Resources Laurel Rebsky, and U of W in-house counsel Colin Morrison.

So then I asked him about something Grainger had already testified to earlier: that the plans were already in place, prior to the evening of January 11th, to issue the barring order. Surely, based on what Besner had just explained about the procedure, and the need to have two vice-presidents involved, that if there was a move afoot, wouldn't he have been involved in those discussions?

And here he tried to pull the same stunt as before: he answered, "Quite possibly. Is the question whether that (discussion) took place on Friday afternoon or whether it took place..."

But by now even the judge could see where this was going, and she wasn't going let him pull another Sargent Schultz: "Or in the days leading up to..."

"Quite possibly there was such a discussion, yes. Absolutley."

When we return, we'll see what was the basis on which the University supposedly intended to ban me from the campus prior to the home invasion.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Let's Talk About Neil Besner

I told you back in December how the University had gotten itself into a fix by pressing criminal charges against me. The way I put it then was "the lies they needed to tell to beat me in the criminal case were different than the lies they needed to tell to beat me in the civil case. That's the way I saw it then, and I knew I had them. I just didn't think they'd be stupid enough to actually go to trial...I was sure they would drop the charges at the last minute. But I overestimated their intelligence...

The criminal trial was a disaster for them! I think it's fair to say that I humiliated one witness after another, trapping them in half-truths, evasions, and outright lies. I've been raking Professor Bush and his wife over the coals for the last few weeks, but I think it's only fair for some of the others to have their turn. So let's start with the first witness I examined: Neil Besner, University VP of Something or Other.

My strategy was to show that the so-called home invasion was a cock-and-bull story from the get-go, that the University knew it, and they therefore had no legitimate reason to bar me from the campus. So the first order of business was to establish the reason for the trespassing order. Simple enough. So I asked Besner outright: Why was I banned from the campus on Jan 11 2013?

To which he gave the following peculiar answer:
“I believe it was because of some conflict you had with a professor in the Faculty of Education....The incidents had already taken place when I took this job in Nov 2012, so I'm not aware of their exact nature…”

Just took the job? It's not like he dropped in from Timbuktu...he's been a vice-president of something at the U of W for years. But let's get this straight: the barring notice was issued in 2013…and he really didn’t know the nature of the incident which led to the barring notice?
“That’s correct”.

That's when I showed him the email that he had sent to Martin Granger on the evening of the "home invasion":

I just spoke with George Bush. Marty Green tried to force his way into George's house minutes ago. The police are there taking a statement. Don Metz is aware of this (Bush called him, and Metz emailed me.) Bush is upset ande agitated. He'll call back when he is through with the police. We should discuss next steps.

Besner still professed to be confused as to what this letter had to do with the barring notice! Finally the judge had to put the question to him directly: So do you know why Mr. Green was barred in January of 2013?

As though a thick fog was gradually clearing, Besner's memory started to improve. "Yes. Okay. So I do recall these incidents. This refers to a, an incident that took place with, at George Bush's house, which I heard about, and so I assume that this precipitated the barring notice, this incident precipitated the barring notice."

Now, maybe it's just me, in what possible universe did I not trap Besner in a bald-faced lie? First he claims he doesn't know why I was barred from the campus, then when I show him black-and-white evidence in the form of his email, he gradually recalls, that yes, he had "heard about" this incident, and he "assumes" that this would have precipitated the barring notice.

What was especially baffling to me was the pointlessness of the lie. I wasn't expecting any difficulties in establishing the fact that I was barred because of the home invasion. The real challenge was going to be to prove that I was innocent of the home invasion. The University had an arguable case would be my word against theirs. Why were they starting off by destroying their own credibility with pointless and easy-to-expose lies?

We'll start to understand their strategy when we return to the cross-examination. But that's enough for today.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Bushes Ignore Hitler's Advice

There was some interesting feedback from the haters over the weekend. Some of them seem to think that Professor Bush should sue me for calling him a liar. If he chooses to do so, then I say: bring it on. But I'm guessing he won't.

Calling someone a liar is a serious charge. If someone makes an honest mistake, or is unclear on details, he is not lying: he is just mistaken. If you say someone is a lying, you are saying that he wasn't simply mistaken: that he knew the facts were otherwise, and he deliberately mis-stated them. How can I make this claim about Professor Bush? People are not computers, and their memories are not time-stamped. What right do I have suggest it wasn't just an honest mistake?

This might be a valid argument if I had blind-sided him on the witness stand by asking him out of the blue to recall the time line. No one could then fault him for being a little off. The problem for Professor Bush here is that's not the way it happened. No one asked him how long it was between the phone call and the ringing of the doorbell: it was he who made a specific point of specifying the time interval in his sworn affidavit, and so did his wife. Those affidavits were carefully reviewed by the university's team of lawyers before being signed and sworn. The haters dismiss the importance of this, calling it a trivial detail. But if he was lying about the time line (and I think I've made out a pretty good case that he was), then he was almost certainly lying about the whole home-invasion scenario. Because the two lies go hand in hand.

Let's just imagine that Professor Bush had wanted to accuse me of a home invasion without the benefit of that extra ten minutes. He would then have to cram everything into a window of no more than three minutes: the slamming down of the phone, the ringing of the doorbell, the standoff at the front door with his wife, the desperate struggle to hold me at bay, Professor Bush coming up the stairs to find his wife "white and trembling", calming her down and finding out what happened, and finally...making the 911 phone call. He admits he heard the doorbell ring. So he has a problem: why didn't he intervene to protect his wife from this dangerous intruder?

He has two choices: he can admit that he knew what was going on at the front door, but stayed hidden in the basement because he didn't want to give me the chance to serve papers on him. Or, he can claim that he had simply wandered off to a distant part of the house and wasn't aware of the drama taking place just up a short flight of stairs. Option one makes him look like a total jackass: so obviously he has to go with option 2. So what's the problem?

It could have happened inside three minutes. Just barely. He could have slammed down the phone, stormed downstairs to his study, slammed the door behind him and furiously began typing on his computer. The doorbell could have rung seconds later without him knowing it. By the time he realized something was going on, he might have rushed upstairs, dialing 911 as he came, only to find I had just left. It could have all happened in three minutes, and the Bushes, if they were really intent on lying, could have crafted a credible story within that short window.

But they didn't. Because fundamentally they are honest people with honest middle-class values, and a story so full of lies goes against everything they believe about themselves. They are willing to stretch the truth a bit if necessary, as most of us are. But they can't see themselves as outright lying. It's just not who they are.

And that was their downfall. Hitler had the doctrine of the "big lie"...if you're going to lie, don't mess around with small details. Go all the way. But the Bushes hadn't learned this valuable lesson. They thought they didn't need a big lie, just a little wee one. Maybe when the doorbell rang, they didn't connect it with the earlier phone call because of the time lag...yes, that's it. No one can be expected to remember the exact timing of events, especially when there's so much drama taking place in the meantime...

And so they figured out that the simplest way to make their story hang together was just to add a few (or ten) minutes between the slamming down of the phone and the ringing of the doorbell. What is the harm in that? It's not really a lie, it's just a case of uncertain memory.

Right about know, I'm thinking maybe Professor Bush is wishing he had stuck with Option 1. (That's the "jackass option" in case you forgot.)

*   *   *   *

The anonomous haters ask: who do I think the courts are going to believe, a respected educator or a disgruntled middle-aged man with a case of...what was it, "oppositional disorder"? Never mind the courts...if you read between the lines, it's obvious that even the haters believe my version of the story! Why else would they say that I'm the one who did something wrong "by going to their home after being asked to communicate through lawyers"? (That much is undisputed.) If the haters believed the Bush story in its entirety, don't you think they would have found fault with me for doing something more than just "going to their home"?

And who do I think the courts are going to believe? Personally, I'm guessing they're going to believe the phone records.