Gammie ac­quit­ted of as­sault charge

Wiarton Echo - - FRONT PAGE - ROB GOWAN

For­mer South Bruce Penin­sula Coun. Craig Gammie has been ac­quit­ted of a charge that he as­saulted South Bruce Penin­sula Deputy-mayor Jay Kirk­land last year.

On­tario Court Jus­tice Ju­lia Morneau de­liv­ered her writ­ten judg­ment in Owen Sound on Thurs­day af­ter­noon. In the judg­ment Morneau states that Gammie “most likely” pushed Kirk­land, how­ever that “does not meet the req­ui­site stan­dard of proof in a crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion.”

“Of course I am very pleased with it,” said Gammie af­ter the de­ci­sion. “I ex­pected an ac­quit­tal.”

It took Morneau just sec­onds to an­nounce Gammie’s ac­quit­tal and present her writ­ten judg­ment to the Crown and de­fence lawyers.

In her eight-page judg­ment, Morneau states that she can­not say that any wit­nesses were un­truth­ful.

“They were asked to dis­sect an en­counter within the re­cessed area that lasted only sec­onds,” she wrote in the judg­ment. “How­ever given the con­flicts in the ev­i­dence I can­not safely con­clude the ex­tent of Mr. Gammie’s use of force.”

The judg­ment goes on to state that “Mr. Gammie most likely did push Mr. Kirk­land from be­hind. Mr. Gammie clearly did not dis­agree at the time with Mr. Kirk­land’s re­marks about be­ing pushed.”

“Say­ing Mr. Gammie most likely pushed Mr. Kirk­land how­ever does not meet the req­ui­site stan­dard of proof in a crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion,” the judg­ment reads.

Kirk­land, who was not in court on Thurs­day, said he was shocked by the ac­quit­tal.

“I haven’t re­ally had time to think about it too much, but I can’t be­lieve it,” said Kirk­land. “Why would I put my­self through that if he didn’t do it?”

South Bruce Penin­sula Mayor Jan­ice Jack­son, who witnessed the in­ci­dent, also said she was ex­tremely dis­ap­pointed with the de­ci­sion.

“The thing that sad­dens me is the judge seems to be send­ing a mes­sage that this kind of be­hav­iour in a mu­nic­i­pal of­fice is OK,” said Jack­son, who had not yet read the judg­ment. “You can just slam some­body into a steel door and that is OK.”

Morneau’s judg­ment on Thurs­day laid out the ev­i­dence pre­sented dur­ing the trial that was heard in court over two days in Au­gust and an­other in mid-Septem­ber.

Jack­son and Kirk­land were the only two wit­nesses to give tes­ti­mony for the Crown, while Gammie tes­ti­fied in his de­fence.

The al­leged in­ci­dent oc­curred out­side the clerk’s of­fice in Wiar­ton on Sept. 5, 2017.

Dur­ing the trial, Kirk­land tes­ti­fied that Gammie pushed him twice from be­hind quite heav­ily, slam­ming his face into the door or door frame. He suf­fered no in­juries.

Ev­i­dence pre­sented in court in­cluded video from a surveillance cam­era. While it wasn’t in position to show what hap­pened, it does show Jack­son step­ping back as if she had just seen some­thing star­tling. Gammie also pre­sented an au­dio record­ing of the in­ci­dent, which Morneau wrote “pro­vides the most ac­cu­rate ac­count of what was said in the re­cessed area out­side the clerk’s of­fice.”

A sum­mary of the record­ing in the judg­ment states that Kirk­land can be heard say­ing “Don’t push me,” while Jack­son can be heard say­ing “That’s as­sault. I love it.”

Kirk­land can then be heard say­ing, “Don’t push me around,” to which Gammie replies, “Get out of my road then. You’re ob­struct­ing my ”

Jack­son said the record­ing was edited, which Gammie ad­mit­ted to.

“A lot of the very damn­ing state­ments that Mr. Gammie made were in­ter­est­ingly re­moved,” said Jack­son. “That was un­for­tu­nate.”

Kirk­land said Gammie can say what­ever he wants in the wake of the de­ci­sion.

“Why would I put my­self through that rig­ma­role if it didn’t hap­pen,” said Kirk­land. “He even had me on his own tape that he recorded telling him not to do that to my back from be­hind again.

“Why would I turn around if some­body didn’t slam me from be­hind, and tell them that?”

Kirk­land said he plans to move on from the trial.

“It was the Crown that charged him, not me,” said Kirk­land, who said he went to po­lice, asked if they thought it was a case, and they told him that Gammie couldn’t do to him what he was al­leged to have done.

Jack­son said the ev­i­dence speaks for it­self, in­clud­ing the video, au­dio and her and Kirk­land’s tes­ti­mony.

Both Jack­son and Kirk­land ex­pressed sur­prise that a town em­ployee who witnessed the events wasn’t called to tes­tify.

“There was a third eye­wit­ness and the Crown chose not to call that wit­ness,” said Jack­son. “When I asked why he didn’t call the wit­ness he said the case was as good as it could get.”

Gammie said he has lost his coun­cil seat, has been hu­mil­i­ated, “in­curred all kinds of court costs and the stress on me and my fam­ily has been in­cred­i­ble.”

“I hope I can find a way to make Jan­ice and Jay Kirk­land pay the con­se­quences of their im­proper ac­tions,” said Gammie.

As a con­se­quence of the charge, bail terms kept Gammie from at­tend­ing coun­cil and he was re­moved un­der a Mu­nic­i­pal Act pro­vi­sion af­ter miss­ing three months of meet­ings.

Gammie said he is not yet sure what he will do now that there has been an ac­quit­tal in the case. He said he plans to talk to his le­gal team.

As for pub­lic of­fice, he said it could again be in his fu­ture, but prob­a­bly not at the mu­nic­i­pal level.

“I will never, ever, ever put my­self in a position where I might be on a coun­cil with Jan­ice Jack­son,” said Gammie. “That is why I am not run­ning as a coun­cil mem­ber.”

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