‘Trial of the cen­tury’ — Lever vows

Ex-coun­cil­lor tells court he’ll sub­poena ev­ery­one who was in the arena when he was ar­rested.

The Daily Press (Timmins) - - FRONT PAGE - ALAN S. HALE

Ev­ery­one who went to see the Tim­mins Rock play against the Powas­san Voodoos dur­ing Home­town Hockey Tour fes­tiv­i­ties in Novem­ber might find them­selves on a wit­ness stand tes­ti­fy­ing in the trial against Todd Lever – un­less the Crown drops the charges against him.

That was the ul­ti­ma­tum of sorts that Lever gave to a pro­vin­cial court on Tues­day morn­ing. The for­mer city coun­cil­lor and fed­eral Lib­eral can­di­date said if his case goes to trial, he in­tends to call 1,800 wit­nesses, in­clud­ing ev­ery spec­ta­tor in the arena, peo­ple who posted video of his ar­rest on so­cial me­dia, the mem­bers of both hockey teams, as well as sev­eral mem­bers of Tim­mins Po­lice work­ing that night.

“This is go­ing to be the trial of the cen­tury for Tim­mins,” Lever told the court. “The Crown at­tor­ney should do the right thing now and with­draw the charges. They know the charges are bo­gus ... I’m apol­o­giz­ing for noth­ing.

Lever, who is a lawyer, in­tends to rep­re­sent him­self de­spite telling me­dia ini­tially that he would be re­tain­ing coun­sel.

Up un­til his own case up on Tues­day morn­ing, Lever had been sit­ting with the other de­fense coun­sel at the front of the court­room and was rep­re­sent­ing other clients with busi­ness in front of the judge.

The court seemed un­pre­pared for the scene that fol­lowed.

Lever raised his voice, waved the dis­clo­sure doc­u­ments for his case at the peo­ple seated in the gallery, chided mem­bers of the me­dia present, and re­fused Justice Martin Lambert’s instructions to deal only with the pro­ce­dural is­sues of his case.

As for Lever’s call for the charges against him to be dropped, As­sis­tant Crown Coun­sel Dale Cox said the pros­e­cu­tion would not be swayed by Lever’s “threats” of a pro­tracted trial if they did not with­draw the charges.

That was enough for the court, which sched­uled Lever’s next ap­pear­ance on Jan. 31

Ac­cord­ing to Tues­day’s court docket, Lever is be­ing charged with one count of caus­ing a dis­tur­bance and an­other count of ob­struct­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer.

The charges stem from an in­ci­dent at the hockey game where Lever caused such a com­mo­tion while heck­ling play­ers and their coaches that the game had to be stopped. He had re­fused to leave the game when or­dered to by the ref­eree and event of­fi­cials and had to be forcibly re­moved from the Mcin­tyre Arena by po­lice.

Lever has ad­mit­ted he was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing mental health is­sues and had not been tak­ing his med­i­ca­tion the night in ques­tion.

Last time Lever spoke to the me­dia, he said he would be seek­ing a mental health diver­sion of the charges. That plan seems to have gone out the prover­bial win­dow, with Lever now sim­ply de­mand­ing that the Crown with­draw the charges be­cause he be­lieves they are with­out any merit.

“They have no ev­i­dence,” he de­clared.

Although he de­nied he was mak­ing a threat when say­ing that he would call many hun­dreds of wit­nesses dur­ing a trial, Lever said af­ter his court ap­pear­ance he is will­ing to go through with a mas­sive self-rep­re­sented trial.

“If they want to have a six-month trial, they can have a six-month trial. I don’t make threats.”

None of the charges against Lever have been proven.

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