Another day in the Homolka Industry
New Karla book in legal shitstorm
In one of life's crueler ironies, ace legalist Tim Danson's attempts to block the latest Karla Homolka book may have helped put it at No. 1 on the Globe and Mail's non-fiction bestseller list last week.
Readers will recall Danson, in his familiar role as rep for the families of HomolkaBernardo vicnms Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French, held a press conference imploring booksellers to pull Karla: A Pact with the Devil, by porky publishing' pariah Stephen Williams.
Danson claimed that publication of two pictures in the book, one of surviving victim Jane Doe and a crime scene photo of the concrete blocks in which Mahaffy's body parts were found, may have violated court orders. Police were already investigating whether or not the book, which includes correspondence from Homolka, offers evidence that the Lizard Queen breached the terms of her plea bargain. Williams was also acquitted in 2000 of
violating a court order for allegedly viewing the videotapes of Bernardo and Homolka's crimes.
In other legal news comes word that the opp has requested transcripts from a recent appearance by Williams on Torontos' Mojo 640 (Radio for Men without Girlfriends). Just what they're looking for is unclear, but the flatfeet have reportedly made it clear they'll go to law if the transcripts aren't turned over voluntarily.
With respect to the pictures singled out by Danson, police are on the case, even though Williams' entire creepy souvenir collection has been fully inventoried and declared wanting in ontraband twice, once by police investigating Williams for his first book on
the case, Invisible Darkness, and again by legalists for the CBC as part of a documentary based on the book.
With all the hype surrounding the book, Karla's initial printing of 20,000 has sold out, and publisher Cantos has announced that in all additional copies, the Jane Doe pic will be
further obscured to better hide her identity and the crime scene snap will be replaced with a mug shot of lead investigator Vince Bevan (more on him later).
All the free publicity, however, hasn't stopped Cantos supremo Pierre Turgeon, from threatening legal action against Danson. Turgeon legalist Louis Landreville has reputedly already begun drafting an action based on a transcript of Danson's prepared statement and remarks to journalists at his press conference.
It would be harrowing indeed to see Danson forced to tell some libel trial judge that, in his defence, his crusade actually helped rather than hindered the sales of Williams' sleazy doorstopper. Although couched in legal terms, Danson's overarching theme in attacking Williams is based on taste and morality, that Williams is exploiting Homolka's horrific crimes for profit. (See also the shameless, sensationalistic cover of Frank 399).
While it's supposedly enough to cook Williams goose, the money question is not enough to merit a gander at Danson's own billings as legal representative to the French and Mahaffy families over the past decade.
Danson, of course, cut the families a steep break on his usual $300-an-hour rate, but the sheer volume of litigation cost -hundreds of thousands raised through donations to the MahaffyFrench Defence Fund and the Mahaffy/French Integrity Fund.
From the fight to keep the Bernardo trial from screening videos of the assaults on French and Mahaffy, to an ultimately unsuccessful battle all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, to have them destroyed, to civil suits against Homolka and Bernardo, some estimates put Danson's total expenses not unadjacent to Sl-million.
In Karla, Williams outlines his own take on Danson, quoted from one of his letters to Homolka, informing her that the legalist is looking into citing alleged carpetlicking episodes in prison as evidence of perjury charges (Homolka said she wasn't a lesbian during Bernardo's.trial in '95):
"I think he and his poppycock grandstanding -- which is all about raising more money to finance more poppycock grandstanding - are quite absurd and dangerous on a larger scale ... Mr. Danson holds sway with a large, powerful lobby that would like to see you locked up forever and is looking for any way, absurd or otherwise, to acheive that goal."
Williams also pieces together a theory of federal Liberal political skullduggery in the surprise transfer of model prisoner Homolka's to maximum security after pix of her celebrating a fellow con's birthday appeared in the press: "[Parole officer Gina] Turcotte also told her that this was all happening because of the photographs in the newspaper, "plain and simple."
"The warden had received a phone call from Ottawa in the middle of the night telling him to get Karla out of [medium security] Joliette, that they did not want her to become an election issue. A Federal election had just been called. The ruling Liberal party was, at the time, very concerned about an imagined threat from the neo-conservative, right-wing Allance party."
Also rated exceedingly unlikely to give Karla rave reviews is Ottawa Police Chief Vince Bevan. The lead investigator in the French and Mahaffy murders, Bevan took the odd step of issuing a press release to the effect that he, er, would not comment:
"I want to express my deep support and concern for the French and Mahaffy families and Jane Doe, who are once again being forced to endure unspeakable suffering because of this disgraceful book. .. Any issues regarding the investigation have already been definitively dealt with by two independent judicial enquiries, led by Justices Campbell and Galligan , whose conclusions are completely at odds with views expressed in this book."
Chief Bevan's qualifications as a journalist and literary critic aside, he may be even more pissed if and when he actually reads Williams' opus, which actually does deal at some length with the Campbell and Galligan reports.
It also offers up the familiar litany of ways in which Vinnie and his PRobsessed Green Ribbon Task Force, in Williams' opinion, thoroughly fucked up the French-Mahaffy murder investigation, leading to Karla's notorious 12-year deal (Ten years concurrent for manslaughter in each of the Mahaffy and French cases, plus "two for Tammy" - a sentence for her role in the rape and murder of her own sister, Tammy Lyn Homolka.)
Less expectedly, the book also includes a reference to a "fiery, ItalianCanadian civilian [police 1 employee with whom [Bevan] was allegedly having an affair" in '94, and a gossipy vignette involving Bevan and Bernardo prosecutor (and now Ontario Court Justice) Leslie Baldwin.
The scene is an evening in August '95, during Bernardo's trial. Williams is pissing up in the bar of the Colony Hotel with Baldwin and her fellow Crown sluggos: "An intense, attractive blonde with a bird-like aspect, she shared with her two male colleagues, Tom Atkinson and Shawn Porter, a prodigious thirst. The men were tossing back shots with beer chasers. For her part, during the two and a half hours I spent at the table, Ms. Baldwin downed at least six or seven glasses of white wine
"Inspector Bevan also sidled up to the table. Pool cue in hand, he quaffed a beer and, citing the need for intense preparation for the forthcoming day's proceedings, excused himself. This was somewhat anomalous given the only thing he had to do was supervise the officer who was manning the video cassette recording device, pausing and replaying segments of the lurid evidence when requested.
. "During the ten minutes he was there, he gave no indication that he and I were already well-acquainted. Stiff and aloof with everyone except Ms. Baldwin, I thought I detected something more between the policeman and the prosecutor than professional collaboration.
"After the Inspector left, I expressed my contention that he was single-handedly responsible for the fact that Karla Homolka was a witness at her husband's trial rather than his co-defendant. The protestations from the three prosecutors were loud, but loudest among them were those of Leslie Baldwin who profusely sang the Inspector's praises. Slurring slightly, she exclaimed 'HE'S A GREAT MAN!'
"Much later in the evening, around midnight, I cruised the bar looking for a straggler from the press corp with whom I might share a nightcap. I found the iarge room deserted except. for Ms. Baldwin and Inspector Bevan, huddled together in a dimly lit corner. They did not acknowledge my passing."
frank can only imagine how these indelicate intimations of Bevan-Baldwin boning would be received by the Chief's wife linda, the delightful ESL teacher.