No clo­sure for the fam­i­lies

The Labradorian - - EDITORIAL - Bob Wake­ham

And the lat­est cir­cum­stances have also per­pet­u­ated the never end­ing doubt that clouds so­ci­ety’s abil­ity to de­fend women from the most hor­rific kind of abuse, and its abil­ity to en­sure that jus­tice is done.

For the rel­a­tives of murder vic­tims Chrissy Pred­ham New­man and Courtney Lake, the events of re­cent days must have turned their anger, sor­row and hor­ror into the kind of liv­ing night­mare no one should ever have to en­dure.

And the lat­est cir­cum­stances have also per­pet­u­ated the never end­ing doubt that clouds so­ci­ety’s abil­ity to de­fend women from the most hor­rific kind of abuse, and its abil­ity to en­sure that jus­tice is done, that the mourn­ing of loved ones can be pla­cated, that they can take some so­lace, even if slight, in the knowl­edge that some­one has been ar­rested, con­victed and made to pay dearly for their crimes and forced to lose their free­dom for­ever.

The case of Pred­ham New­man is one that has as­tounded, and con­tin­ues to as­tound, right-think­ing peo­ple through­out the prov­ince.

Pred­ham New­man was found dead in her home in Jan­uary 2007, her throat slit, and her es­tranged hus­band, Ray New­man, was charged with murder.

But in a shock­ing de­vel­op­ment, in mid-trial, the charges against New­man were with­drawn when the judge in the case ruled that ev­i­dence in­valu­able to the Crown’s case was in­ad­mis­si­ble be­cause the ac­cused mur­derer’s Char­ter Rights had been vi­o­lated - that he had not been cau­tioned un­til 30 min­utes into an in­ter­view by po­lice about those rights. (New­man had, at that point, ad­mit­ted to the cops that he had been in his wife’s liv­ing room on the day of her murder.)

And that was it. New­man walked out of court a free man.

The po­lice sub­se­quently said there were no other “per­sons of in­ter­est” in the case. There was no am­bi­gu­ity in their as­sess­ment. The cops felt, in de­fin­i­tive terms, that the killer had been found. The Crown pros­e­cu­tors ob­vi­ously agreed. Peo­ple in New­found­land drew the only con­clu­sion they could.

Much of the le­gal com­mu­nity, de­fence at­tor­neys in par­tic­u­lar, re­joiced over the judge’s ver­dict. A vic­tory for the rights of the ac­cused.

But that was of lit­tle con­so­la­tion to the rel­a­tives of Pred­ham New­man.

When an ap­peals court ul­ti­mately agreed with the de­ci­sion by the judge to throw out the charges, Mike King, New­man’s lawyer, said his client could now “pick up the pieces and try to put them back to­gether and try to go on liv­ing his life.”

The irony of those re­marks had to have stung Pred­ham New­man’s fam­ily in the worst pos­si­ble way. There was no such re­lief for them. Their frus­tra­tion with the le­gal sys­tem and with the colos­sal blun­der made by the cops would be never-end­ing, know­ing, as they did, that the case was of­fi­cially closed and would not be re­opened.

But Ray New­man, it turns out, would not be a stranger to the courts. He was there within the last cou­ple of weeks.

And the charges he faces must have pro­voked cold shivers for Pred­ham New­man’s loved ones: New­man is charged with as­sault, and of at­tempt­ing to “choke, stran­gle or suf­fo­cate” a woman.

If there is a con­vic­tion, the con­se­quences, the reper­cus­sions of the with­drawal of charges in the Pred­ham New­man case will be un­doubt­edly noted. This lat­est twist is al­most di­a­bol­i­cal in na­ture.

Watch­ing these de­vel­op­ments, I’m sure, with no sense of de­tach­ment are the rel­a­tives of Courtney Lake whose dis­ap­pear­ance three months ago has turned into a murder in­ves­ti­ga­tion. The po­lice have yet to make an ar­rest, but Lake’s ex-boy friend, Philip Smith, was seen pick­ing her up in his truck the day she van­ished, within hours af­ter he had been con­victed of charges in­volv­ing Lake, and had been or­dered by the courts not to have any con­tact with her.

And, in the lat­est re­cent de­vel­op­ment, Lake’s mother was seek­ing a peace bond against Smith.

Chrissy Pred­ham New­man and Courtney Lake. Two tragedies. Two fam­i­lies left to pick up the pieces.

And the other week­end, both fam­i­lies couldn’t help but no­tice an­other do­mes­tic tragedy in New­found­land: 18year old Ryanna Grywach­eski was mur­dered in Marys­town by her 37-year-old boyfriend, Jeff Kil­foy who then com­mit­ted sui­cide.

There was a cer­tain amount of clo­sure, that most eu­phemistic of terms, for the rel­a­tives of Grywach­eski.

But not so for loved Chrissy

New­man and

Lake. those who Pred­ham Courtney

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