The Scratch and Lose Caper

Written by Harold McNeill on March 12th, 2017. Posted in Police Notebook, Tim Hortons Morning Posts


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How to scratch open a jail cell.

At 2:00 am Sunday, or at that time any other day of the week, Greater Victoria was known as the land of “Newlyweds, Nearly Deads.” As traffic thinned during those early morning hours, the hum of the tires on a car traveling at high speed could be heard for miles. On this morning, the hum was that of an early 1960’s Oldsmobile, a machine having witnessed better days, as it sped East along Pandora, then onto Oak Bay Avenue.

The four young men inside were still hooting and hollering after partying late in one of the downtown clubs. They were now heading home to Gordon Head but having missed the Fort Street cut-off that would have taken them to Foul Bay Road then north, continued East along Oak Bay Ave. All had been drinking heavily and had no particular purpose in mind other than getting home to continue the party.IMG_0975

As they approached Foul Bay Road someone hollered: “Hey man, ya gotta turn here!” However, speed and distance would soon become limiting factors given the tank in which they were riding. The driver, his sense dulled by alcohol, braked heavily then cranked the wheel hard left. As momentum and weight took over, the tires broke away in a wide yaw that led first to the sidewalk, then to West wall of Frost’s corner store.

Photo (web) A 1960’s style Oldsmobile, 4-door.

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Intervention, the key to fighting crime

Written by Harold McNeill on June 11th, 2017. Posted in Police Notebook, Editorials


 

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This post is created from an interview with RCMP Assistant Commissioner James Malizia (file photo above) as published in the National Post (front page) June 7, 2017. (Link here).

The following edition is modified slightly with the word terror being replaced with the word crime. Making this simple change leads to an entirely different perspective in the article. To my mind, this suggests everything the Assistant Commissioner had to say about terror serves only the interests of the RCMP and other security agencies and not the interests of the general public.

As background, in 2015 (the most recent year readily accessible) there were over 380,00o violent criminal acts in which 605 people were murdered, with attempts being made to murder a further 774. Over 200,000 people reported aggravated sexual assaults (this does not include other aggravated assaults), with 22,000 reports of robbery and 3,500 reports of abduction. When these real-life criminal cases, which present a clear and present danger to Canadians, is cast against the almost negligible possibility of a terrorist act occurring, it makes it seem as if the Assistant Commissioner has no concept of how trivial his suggestions are.

Statistical Source: Canadian Criminal Crime Statistics 2015

Malizia: Early Intervention is the key:

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Oversight of Police and Security Services

Written by Harold McNeill on March 15th, 2015. Posted in Police Notebook, Editorials


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Web Source Photo:  A barn burning in May 1972, was just one event in a series of criminal acts committed by Canada’s Security Service in the decade following enactment of the War Measures Act after the “October Crisis” of 1970.

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Concerns about Bill C51 and other terror Bills introduced since the “September Crisis” of 2001, follow a pattern similar to that of 1970 when domestic ‘terrorists’ challenged the Governments of Canada and Quebec. During that ‘crisis’ the Federal Government also turned loose Canada’s elite Security Service to act in a manner they saw fit.

So began a campaign of harassment, dirty tricks, illegal arrests, criminal acts and dozens of nefarious deeds that went far beyond the original intent of the law. Many at the highest levels of the RCMP and Government were aware of what was happening, but did nothing to reign in the Security Service. It was a decade of illegal police action that led to a break-up of the RCMP Security Service.

 If anyone thinks our National Security Agencies – CSIS, CBSA and the Federal arm of the RCMP is above such tactics today, they would be wrong. There are plenty of examples since September 2001 and it has taken place because there is a wilful lack of oversight and because laws passed since 2001 including proposed laws such as Bill C51, support what might otherwise be illegal in Criminal Law or, at the very least, violations of personal privacy.  In the United States, because of ongoing controversy, the Patriot Act (passed a week after September 1, 2001) was allowed to lapse on June 1, 2015. Whether it will be renewed or not remains an open question.

(Detective-Sergeant Harold McNeill, Retired)

Note: If you wish to skip the background discussion surrounding police, security services and terror, go straight to section #4 for the summary of events that followed invocation of the War Measures Act in 1970.

Note:  Part 11 is now complete.  Link here to: Conspiracy to Bomb the B.C. Legislature: The Grand Illusion as just one example of what happens when the security service is given free reign to act in a manner they see fit.  That manner often acts more in favour of the Government and Security Service interests rather than in favour of the general good.  As an example, after the judge overturned the jury conviction one of her final statements regarding the RCMP action in the case read: “They were clearly overzealous and acted on the assumption that there were no limits to what was acceptable when investigating terrorism,” the judge stated. “Within their ranks there were warnings given and ignored.”

Link here to Part III: Conspiracy to Rob the BC Ferry Terminal at Swartz Bay:  Part III provides the details of a traditional conspiracy investigated by traditional police agencies without having to resort to the manufacture of evidence in order to build the case.

Part 1

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Abducted: The First Twelve Hours

Written by Harold McNeill on June 28th, 2014. Posted in Police Notebook


A full set of photos from this story and a short introduction for the post appears on the
McNeill Life Stories Facebook Page (Link Here) (Note: All the photos except the two for the Police Department are captured from Web sources.)

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“Except for my dogs, I am alone in a world filled with people.”

For  people of all ages, but particularly the young, few things can be more lonely than being on a street full of people and the only looks  received vary between  pity, disgust and outright anger. Most street people are viewed as being worth less than the clothes they wear. They could go missing, be raped or otherwise sexually assaulted, even murdered, yet this often raises barely a ripple within the police circles. If they are of native descent or part of a visible minority, it is far worse. In 2010 during the Olympics, I watched as two members of the “Red Shirt Brigade” (Volunteer Security) in Vancouver were openly antagonistic and physically aggressive towards a native woman sleeping in the doorway of a store that was closed for the night. This story traces the social conflicts which remain close to the surface in this bountiful country of Canada. (Photo Web source)
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Link to the Second Part in this Series

Introduction 

In the Oak Bay office it was nearing 3:00 am, as the night shift Sergeant, Constable and a Civilian Dispatcher were cleaning up the coffee room when the five phone lines lite up. In the quiet hours, this usually meant an accident or similar emergency had shaken several residents from their pre-dawn slumber. In this case, two blasts from a shotgun were followed by blood-curdling screens.  So began a twelve-hour saga where a young woman’s life hung in the balance.”

Having lived inside the police system for thirty years, this story (and others to follow) use various Oak Bay Police Major Crime files to demonstrate how some criminal acts (or suspected criminal acts) can be quickly filtered to ‘inactive’ when the victim lives outside the mainstream. While this is sometimes done for good reason, discounting these crimes can have serious, unintended consequences in the mainstream as demonstrated in eight interconnected chapters beginning in the early 1980’s and extending to the present day.

Detective Sergeant Harold McNeill (Retired)

Chapters 1: A discussion of how the police and justice system filter is applied and how societal norms (reference the section on deviance) impact the events described in this  Oak Bay Police abduction case.

Chapter 2: A general description of the Greater Victoria area, the various police departments and of the area in which the crime occurred.

Chapter 3 and 4: Provides background on the victim as a method of demonstrating how some victims, because of age, sex, socio-economic status, mental illness or some other factor, are left vulnerable when society in general and the criminal justice system in particular, fails to render assistance.

Chapters 5, 6 and 7: Tracks the investigation from beginning to end as a means of demonstrating how a high level of cooperation between police agencies is an essential component of effective law enforcement. This is particularly so when a crime crosses jurisdictional boundaries, be it local, provincial or national. The chapters also demonstrate how a small Department the size of Oak Bay is able to provide a full range of effective police service.

Chapter 8: Outlines other cases, in particular, the recent murder of Tim Bosma in Ancaster, Ontario, as a means of demonstrating how an application of the police filter can have unintended consequences when a serial sex offender or murderer is at work.

Addendum 1:  A pedophile in our midst. This part, which began in mid-1980’s, flowed back to the surface in July 2013. It involved a Boy Scout Leader who led the Royal Oak Group of which our oldest son was a member until leaving the troop after a serious injury at a Scout Camp retreat in Sooke. There is no suggestion our son was molested, but the danger was lurking just one small step away.

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Police Members and their Oath of Office

Written by Harold McNeill on December 12th, 2015. Posted in Police Notebook, Tim Hortons Morning Posts


Oath of Office

Not only did these photo ops take place on the opposite sides of Canada, the police recruits being sworn in will be entering two very different policing worlds. Their employment adventure begins with the Oath of Office they have just swore or affirmed and from that first step, their careers will diverge in a significant way that can be traced to that Oath. The photographs actually provide a rather good visual example of that difference.

Photo Left (Web Source) RCMP Associate Commander Brian Brennan, personally welcomed officer Peter Wallace into the ranks of the RCMP in Nova Scotia, presenting him with his badge during a special swearing-in ceremony.

Photo Right (Web source) Chief Frank Eisner, right, shakes hands with Casey Jones, left, and Matthew King during a ceremony to welcome the two new constables to the Victoria Police Department.   (Photograph Adrian Lam, Times Colonist)

Background

As outlined in a related article, Dispensary Raids Galore!, those ‘discretionary’ raids and arrests at marihuana outlets in Nanaimo, Mission and Sechelt will waste an impressive amount of police and court time and will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in cases where the RCMP will eventually walk away empty handed.

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Conspiracy to Rob the BC Ferry Terminal at Swartz Bay

Written by Harold McNeill on May 16th, 2015. Posted in Police Notebook, Editorials


Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal 1980

Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal (Web Source) c1980’s. On the May Day long week-end, 1983, a dozen police waited patiently with weapons at ready. The gang that commanded their attention had amassed a small arsenal of handguns, shotguns, rifles and even considered mounting a machine gun in the back of a stolen van. They also collected a box of dynamite and purchased blasting caps, radio transmitters, scanners, balaclavas and sundry other equipment to pull off a major heist. The leader of the gang was a convicted bank robber from the Lower Mainland who made no bones about killing if that should become necessary.

The gang had their planning down to the minute with their goal being a small fortune in cash that flowed through the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal on every long week-end. The only thing that stood between the gang and their goal was a small group of police officers and civilians who quietly, deliberately and surreptitiously inserted themselves into the gangs planning process.

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Link here to Part I of this Series: Oversight of Police and Security

Link here to Part II of the series: Conspiracy to Bomb the BC Legislature

Part III Conspiracy to Rob the BC Ferry Terminal at Swartz Bay

An earlier post about BC Ferries posted on McNeill Life Stories: Thank you BC Ferries

1. Introduction

In Part II, Conspiracy to Bomb the B.C. Legislature, the crime was developed over a five-month period by 250 RCMP Security Service officers, a few of which had close personal ties with two two criminal suspects as they (the police) coached, cajoled, encouraged, threatened and supported the couple along the path towards committing a serious crime at the Canada Day celebrations in July 2013. It was a crime the police defined, not the suspects.

In this post, an Armed Robbery and a Conspiracy to Commit an Armed Robbery, a half dozen suspects take the lead while an equal number of police officers (Note 3) take turns following the group, listening to their conversations and collecting evidence as it was produced along the way. During the five-week investigation, the suspects had no idea police were dogging their heels. It was a classic conspiracy investigation.

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Conspiracy to Bomb the BC Legislature: The Grand Illusion

Written by Harold McNeill on April 24th, 2015. Posted in Police Notebook, Editorials


Nuttall and Korody

December 19, 2018  In a unanimous decision released Wednesday morning, the Appeal Court sided with a B.C. Supreme Court judge who stayed proceedings in the terrorism trial of John Nuttall and Amanda Korody on the grounds that the police investigation was a “travesty of justice.”  Read more background at Entrapment

January 6, 2016 UPDATE:  More information about police misconduct continues to be aired following the conviction of the above couple on terrorist charges.  Read more in the Times Colonist

November 18, 2015 UPDATE:  A BC Supreme Court Judge has ordered the RCMP to release documents related to legal advice they obtained during the investigation of the above couple.  This is part of the hearing related to the subject of misconduct (or entrapment) by the RCMP.  Full report in The Province

June, 2014 UPDATE:  While Nuttall and Korody have been convicted of some charges by the jury in their case, the conviction has not been entered by the Judge pending a “Judge Only” follow-up trial to consider whether ‘entrapment’ played a role in the alleged crime.  Several Mr. Big Operations have been tossed by various Provincial Superior and Appeal Courts in recent years, and in one case that made it to the Supreme Court, the court upheld a lower court decision to toss the conviction.  (Link to Game Changer)

Photo (Web Source): As you read this post consider whether you think John Nuttall and Amanda Korody were latent terrorists just biding their time or whether they were drug induced dreamers targeted to play a lead role in the Government’s War on Terror. After nearly five months of work by a squad of 250 RCMP security personal and with just three days to go before Canada Day 2013, this couple still had no idea they would be planting fake bombs in the bush around the B.C. Legislature.

Also, consider (and compare) as you read this post and the next, link below, how much could be accomplished if you assigned 250 RCMP members with a multi-million dollar budget and the latest in crime technology to take down some serious criminals who have already committed a crime or a long series of crimes, rather than chasing a couple of potentially dangerous airheads for five months.

(Link here to Part 1: Oversight of Police and Security Services)

(Link here to Part III: Conspiracy to Rob the BC Ferry Terminal at Swartz Bay)

Part II

Conspiracy to Bomb the B.C. Legislature: Introduction

This post continues the discussion about whether oversight of police and security services is as important today as it was in the 1970’sAfter reading and watching over four-dozen media, video and web reports covering the ongoing trial of Nuttall and his partner Korody, it was astounding to learn of the extremes to which the RCMP Security Service went in order to envelop the couple in a terrorist plot. It was as if we were back in the 1970’s when security agencies could act with impunity (Oversight).

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Humour in Uniform Police Part 1

Written by Harold McNeill on December 3rd, 2012. Posted in Police Notebook


December 11, 2012.  The above “Christmas Card”, prepared and circulated by the Abbotsford Police Department (Lower Mainland of British Columbia), will no doubt create considerable controversy. Destined to land in the mailboxes of several serial offenders and organized crime figures who have taken up residence in Abbotsford over the past several years, the card was signed by the Chief Constable and two Inspectors. In my view the card is a rather good example of black humour, police style, however, the fact it was circulated to members of the general public is rather unusual.

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Comments

  • Andrew Dunn

    May 14, 2019 |

    Thank you so much for all your help thus far Harold, aka. Tractor guy! I could not have done without you!

  • Harold McNeill

    April 25, 2019 |

    I find it interesting to contemplate how a small community evolves in general isolation from the rest of the world. We have a similar situation in the northern communities in Canada to which access is limited. The inclusion of the world wide web and mass media has changed things, but these communities are still left pretty much to their own devices when it comes to personal interaction.

  • Harold McNeill

    March 19, 2019 |

    Hi Dave. Not that I am aware and I have a fairly comprehensive family tree for the McNeill side of the family. I will pull it up and scan. Cheers, Harold. Great chatting with you and I will give Ben a nudge.

  • Dave Cassels

    March 16, 2019 |

    Were you related to Guy McNeill who owned the Bruin Inn in St. Albert in the late 40’s or early 50’s? Guy was a close friend of my father-in-law who was the first President of the Royal Glenora Club. My phone number is 780 940 1175. Thank you.

  • Harold McNeill

    March 15, 2019 |

    So glad you found the story and enjoyed. Indeed, they were memorable times. I did a fair amount of searching but never managed to contact any of the Murffit kids. However, it was neat to make contact with the Colony and someone I knew from back in the day. I have enjoyed writing these stories from back in the 1940s and 50s and have made contact with a lot of friends from those early years. I will give you a call over the weekend. Cheers, Harold

  • Yvonne (Couture) Richardson

    March 7, 2019 |

    I enjoyed your story. I too, lived in Pibroch in 1951, as my parents owned the hotel there. I was a very close friend of Bonnie Murfitt at the time. I moved to Edmonton in 1952, however, and have not seen her since. I would like to be in touch with you to talk about your story. My email is listed above and my phone number is 780-475-3873.

  • Laureen Kosch/Patry

    March 5, 2019 |

    I grew up in Pibroch and would not trade those years for anything. “ Kids don’t know how to play anymore” Never was a truer statement made. During the summer we were out the door by 8am, home for lunch, and back when it got dark. For the most part our only toys were our bikes and maybe a baseball mitt. I will never forget the times when all the kids got together in “Finks field” for a game of scrub baseball. Everybody was welcome, kids from 8 to 18. I didn’t know it then but I guess I had a childhood most dream of. Drove thru town last summer. It all looked a lot smaller.

  • Harold McNeill

    January 13, 2019 |

    Well, my dear, it’s that time again. How the years fly by and the little ones grow but try as you may you will have a hard time catching up to your Daddy. Lots of love young lady and may your day be special
    Love, Dad

  • Harold McNeill

    January 5, 2019 |

    Guess what? My response went to the Spam folder. Hmm, do you suppose the system is trying to tell me something?

  • Harold McNeill

    January 5, 2019 |

    Thanks, Terrance. Your comment came through but went to the Spam folder. Have pulled it out and approved. Can you send another on this post to see if you name is now removed from Spam? I’m not sure why it does that. Cheers, Harold