Sunday, November 19, 2006

Stephen Orser and the crime platform

"The inmates are running the asylum" isn't just an aphorism in London; we elect 'em to make sure it's a policy. Even before being sworn in, councillor-elect Stephen Orser has already made himself an exemplary representative of his Ward 4 constituents by getting himself busted. OK, that might be an unnecessary dig at the residents of Ward 4, but then again some of them were the ones who elected Orser on the basis of nothing more apparent than his ubiquitous enormous red signs. From the London Free Press:

A newly elected London city councillor is behind bars, charged with assault just four days after his Ward 4 victory.

Councillor-elect Stephen Orser, 45, appeared in court yesterday by video link from city police cells, where he spent Friday night and last night after being charged.
Details of the alleged assault and the victim(s) have not yet been released, and we note of course that Orser has not yet been convicted of anything, but the local theatre of metaphorical congruity will have its liberties.

Update, Nov. 20, only one week after the election (how time does fly): According to the London Free Press, Orser was released from confinement at the OPP Elgin detachment on $2,000 bail and ordered by a justice of the peace as conditions of his release:
  • "not to go within 100 metres of his former residence except to retrieve personal property in the company of police" and
  • "not to consume alcohol or visit any place that sells alcohol as its primary source of business."
It should not be necessary to repeat that Orser has not been convicted of any criminal offense, and that the mere fact of being charged does not preclude being sworn into office nor sitting on council. If convicted, however, Orser would be "ineligible to hold office as a member of Council if [he is] serving a sentence of imprisonment in a penal or correctional institution" [City of London press release].

Stories of this kind always invite speculation, especially given the paucity of information made public so far. The Free Press has certainly found a vehicle for teasing out circulation for at least a few days as the case draws out. But for the curious among you, one commenter below has left what "sounds like" more informed speculation.


basil said...

This is really sad in light of (former?) partner, Cynthia Ethridge's, recent mayoral race platform, which was largely based on anti-abuse/women's empowerment rallying. Based on the conditions of Orser's release, I'm assuming Ms. Ethridge is single again:

His release by a justice of the peace, after a bail hearing in London yesterday, came with conditions. Among them:

- He was ordered not to go within 100 metres of his former residence except to retrieve personal property in the company of police.

- He was also ordered not to consume alcohol or visit any place that sells alcohol as its primary source of business.

Sounds like a case of an enraged drunken husband.

Pietr said...

It's the sober ones you have to be careful of.

Deep Trout said...

"Sounds like" doesn't cut it with our legal system. I thought you people around here loathed the "rush to judgment" ethos.

Ms. Etheridge maintains privately that Orser never laid a hand on her and that there's talk of the charges being withdraw. If it does proceed to trial, it will be impossible to get a conviction on her sworn testimony.

She swears that the police wouldn't believe her version of what happened and went ahead and charged Orser.

Time will tell, right?

MapMaster said...

Just so we're clear that we're all trading hearsay here, I'll note that the above comment must also be treated as speculation since the case has not yet gone to trial and because it would appear that the participants have chosen not to discuss the case publicly, as at least Orser has been advised. Oops, there go those damned appearances again.

I hope for Orser's and Etheridge's sakes that no assault did occur, and that the trial will determine the facts of the case as such if that is true. I would also hope that the fact of the charge will not cause prejudice against him as a councillor if he is found not guilty… I'm quite sure that we will find that his actions as councillor alone will soon suffice to prejudice against him.

Honey Pot said...

Must be terrible for them. I feel bad for the whole family. Orser, don't worry about it, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. No one could ever say you were boring Orser, and in my books, that is a real good thing.

basil said...

Deep Trout,

I am judging the facts as presented in a report from the newspaper - which "sounds" that way - I am not judging the man or his wife. I do not trust news reports to present a clear picture at the best of times, and I usually take police statements with a grain of salt - I also know that you never know all that goes on between a husband and wife and that some fine folks have some seemingly weird ways of sorting shit out. But if you saw Etheridge speak during her campaign you will understand why, regardless of whatever happened, the very fact that this is in the news saddens me.

Honey Pot said...

War paint, read your letter in the free press. Take a look in the mirror, you would be the pot calling the kettle black. Shut your big fat gob, and show some respect for his family. Like him or not, he is one of ours. We can tease and torture him later, in private. Do you really want Bill Brock sitting in the cooley chair, having armed guards called in everytime the hood needs to go down to city hall with a complaint?

Jake said...

Well, I guess that leaves one less left-wing member at city hall.

I predict he will resign by the end of his trial if he is found guilty.

Deep Trout said...

You have to admit that Orser has made one of the most seamless transitions from private to public life in the history of London, Ontario.

If you don't agree with the above statement, we have nothing to talk about.

MapMaster said...

I'm trying to figure out whether:

a) the above statement is an innuendo about private life, public life, or neither; and

b) we were talking about anything in the first place.

Little Tobacco said...

In Ontario, assualt charges are almost automatic in a domestic dispute, regardless of the evidence to the contrary. It appears that Crown directive assumes the woman to be in a position of weakness and therefore may not be truthful with respect to the assault.... or some such thing.

Deep Trout said...

MapMaster, it was a feeble attempt at humour.

Based on four lengthy (recent) discussions with Cynthia Etheridge, Mr. Orser's common-law spouse, it appears that an assault conviction against Mr. Orser is next to impossible.

Nonetheless, the affair has placed a dark cloud over his erection to London city council.

Did I just say that? Whatever can it all mean?

WarPaint said...

Honey Pot, I never said he was guilty. I said I don't care about someones past. What is not right is if someone is in office and then gets convicted that that is wrong. No matter who it is. I also said in my letter that I hoped Stephen is not found guilty. It can not be good for someone who ran his campaign on law and order to end up behind bars. When I first saw it I thought he beat up ZUPANICK. If he is proven innocent than all is well, if not then we have issues.