The Murder of Jeff Hughes: The Coverup Continues
[It should be pointed out that this is the "official version" of Jeff's murder. As with anything emanating from the Ottawa government, it is self-serving, mendacious, and utterly lacking in credibility. Bear in mind that it took these people 18 whole months of silence to come up with this story. Anyone who believes it is a fool. - HAC]
Jeff Hughes Inquest, Day 1: Dissident Left to Die by Heavily Armed Officers Afraid to Approach a Mortally Wounded Man
Nanaimo, July 25, 2011. The inquest into the police shooting and killing of White Nationalist Jeffrey Scott Hughes, 48, on October 23, 2998, opened this morning before Coroner Marj Paonessa. The first day’s testimony was marked both by what it contained that might have been inflammatory or irrelevant and what it did not contain.
The seven person coroner’s jury – four men and three women, – is, in the opening instructions of Coroner Paonessa “investigatory, not accusatory. A member of our community is dead. You are a fact finding body. You must decide the identity of the deceased and how where, when and why he died.”
Today’s only witness, led by inquest counsel Rodrick Mackenzie, was Detective Michelle Robertson of the Victoria Police Department. Her department was called in to investigate the 2009 shooting of Mr. Hughes by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. “It’s still police investigating police,” Victoria lawyer Douglas H. Christie, who is representing an interested party, said at the noontime break.
In an opening statement, Mr. Mackenzie summed up his version of the fatal events. “On October 23, the RCMP in Nanaimo received a noise complaint from the business manager of 521 Selby Street,. Officers were dispatched. Loud music was heard coming from apartment 101, Mr. Hughes unit.” According to Mr. Mackenzie, the RCMP knocked on his door and identified themselves. “Hughes,” he said, made threats.
However, Doug Christie wonders, “How could they hear those threats over all the noise?”
Then, said, Mr. Mackenzie, “Mr. Hughes left the apartment with what police thought was a handgun and then went back inside. Somewhat later, he came out with what they thought was a handgun and they shot him.”
Witness Detective Robertson is a member of the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit which investigates mostly homicides and in-custody police shootings, Her evidence was a computer presentation, Special software allows her to string together recorded police dispatches and telephone (but not cellphone) communications. She demonstrated the exact time of each communication along with a transcript or summary of what was said.
Her timeline opened with a call at 5:37 a.m., October 23, with a noise complaint from the building manager of Mr. Hughes low rise rental unit. In cross-examination,. Mr. Christie wondered why complaints Mr. Hughes had phoned in earlier that morning about his raucous neighbours in unit 104 had not been entered into evidence, if we are to have a complete picture of the event.
Police were dispatched at 5:42 and arrived at 5:47. Dispatch first told the officers that Mr. Hughes “had no previous history.” Officers also saw blood on the carpet leading to Mr. Hughes door.
Mr. Christie has learned that Mr. Hughes confronted his drug dealing neighbours about the noise and was beaten for his efforts – thus, the blood in the passageway leading to his door.
The police check the Canadian Firearms Registry and learn Mr. Hughes has no registered weapons.
At 6:03, police allege that Mr. Hughes says he’ll shoot them if they try to enter his apartment and says he wants to die.
More officers arrive. At 6:05, the police call the Crisis Response Team, a medical psychiatric unit. A message informs them that the unit does not open until 7:00 and no messages will be returned until 7:00 a.m. Several more increasingly desperate calls will be made over the next hour to the impersonal answering machine, with no better results.
At 6:25, the police reach the psychiatric unit of the local hospital and are told that Jeff Hughes, of a different address, is “violent and a high risk.”
At 6:37, RCMP Const. Ziegler warns: “Know your crossfire that there’s no blue on blue.” It is still rainy and dark that October morning.
Doug Christie asks of Const. Ziegler’s remarks: “Are these simply precautions or are they already thinking of shooting Jeff Hughes.?”
The RCMP ERT team was summoned and were mustering. Despite repeated calls to the cellphone and home phones of two negotiators, they were never reached.
At 6:51 Const. Ziegler shouts: “He’s got a firearm. He’s waving a revolver.”
Det. Robertson’s presentation then shows the picture of a stubby flaregun. The flaregun was reportedly found in Mr. Hughes’ hands after he was shot. In cross-examination. Mr. Christie learned that, while the officers on the scene could not find a weapon initially. It was found by Sgt. Kirby Anderson of the ERT after the shooting. Mr. Christie got Det. Robertson to admit that the flaregun had not been fired during the incident and would certainly have been seen as it was still dark had it been discharged. “There was no evidence a flaregun was discharged at the scene,” she said.
At 6.56. officers Long and Macfarlane report Hughes door is opening and he’s coming out. Immediately. Const. Ziegler shouts: “Got a green, we’ve got a green light, you guys!”
Not long after, the dispatcher says: “We’re going to do a perp takeout.” Doug Christie had Det. Robertson replay the call four times. She insisted that the voice said: “We’re going to do an ERT (pronounced urt] pageout” – or call for the Emergency Response Team (SWAT team). Many in the court felt Doug’s hearing was the more accurate one.
Shortly after 6:56 a.m. numerous shots are fired at Jeff Hughes. Almost immediately, concerned residents start calling 911 and are curtly informed that the police are already there. One man says he heard six shots.
At 6:58, the RCMP media unit is informed. Det. Robertson claimed this is done to alert the public and keep them way from the crime scene. A skeptical Doug Christie pointed out that the officers had already established a secure perimeter in the area.
At. 6:59, Staff Sgt. Doug Hogg is called and informed that a “male who was suicidal and who had barricaded himself has been shot.”
Const. Heather Cook is just around the corner of the building and can see Jeff Hughes’ body illuminated by her flashlight. At 6:59, she reports: “He’s still breathing,. Did anyone see where than gun went? He’s moving his head and every now and then he puts his hands on his crotch.”
At 7:00 a.m., she radios: “He’s not moving at all. I don’t know where that firearm went”
At 7:01 Cpl. McIntosh says: “He’s still armed and no one is going in until we can confirm that he’s not, okay.”
At 7:12 Const. McIntosh and Ziegler are still worried about being in the open and refuse to approach the mortally wounded Mr. Hughes.
Indeed, apparently out of fear of being shot themselves by a man they’d shot, who was not moving and near whom no weapon could be seen, nearly a dozen RMCP officers left Mr. Hughes to die unattended.
At 7:16, RCMP Staff Sergeant Norm McPhail in Victoria is informed (and not entirely truthfully): ”They had multiple shots fired from the suspect and police. Suspect is down and haven’t been able to confirm where the weapon is. They have the suspect in custody.”
In cross –examining Det. Robertson, Doug Christie asked, considering all the phone calling the officers did; “Was any attempt made to phone M. Hughes.”
“I don’t have any record of that,” she had to admit.
At 7:03 RCMP headquarters gets a phone call from the hospital with a person reading a summary of old reports on Mr. Hughes which alleged Mr. Hughes had “a borderline anti-social personality disorder.” However, there were no records of contact with Mr. Hughes after 2004. Mr. Christie argued that this summary of notes on Mr. Hughes should be excluded from the inquest as the RCMP didn’t learn of it until AFTER Mr. Hughes had been shot. The coroner interrupted to say that she had earlier decided to admit the information.
In a testy exchange, Mr. Christie asked Det. Robertson to re-play a call from RCMP dispatch to the ambulance services. This call, at 7:21, informs the ambulance services that their vehicle is no longer needed. When the driver asks if the man is dead, the female dispatcher laughs heartily.
Mr. Christie said such behaviour was reprehensible and asked for the dispatcher’s name. The coroner demanded: “Why is that relevant, Mr. Christie?”
Inquest counsel Mackenzie objected to providing names: “We’re not here to assign blame,” he said.
The name is relevant “for the jury to consider whether some may have wanted Mr. Hughes dead and did not want the ambulance to arrive too quickly,” Mr. Christie replied. Observers note that Canadian officialdom’s obsession with secrecy often has less to do with protecting people’s rights than it does to covering up embarrassments or wrongdoing,.
One of the most interesting tidbits to emerge occurred when Doug Christie challenged Detective Robertson: “You’ve been seen entering and leaving this court with the coroner,” an unusual relationship between a witness and a presiding judge/adjudicator.
“I’m security for the coroner,” the Victoria detective replied.
“Are there no sheriffs?” Mr. Christie shot back, in a court that was filled with other police.
“I was tasked to do that,” Det. Robertson said.
Paul Fromm, Director of the Canadian Association for Free Expression, gave extensive interviews to the Globe and Mail, CHEK (CBC) television and the Nanaimo Daily News. He raised concerns that Mr. Hughes, well known for his White Nationalist views, and a target of the B.C “hate squad”, may have been victimized for his political views.