“Happy adjournment day,” my husband says to me as I walk out the door. I have criminal court this afternoon and humor has always been a helpful coping mechanism for my family. I will be having a judicial pre-trial today, my third in the case. We set the date and time for it at my last appearance. I have to be there at 1:00pm.
The courthouse is much quieter in the afternoon. I am waiting outside courtroom one with some supporters. The Crown on my case comes out of courtroom two and goes into an office. Two very upset people follow him out. You can tell one of them has been crying. I give them a sympathetic smile and out of courtesy, my friends and I head outside for a smoke so they can have some privacy. Anytime you go to a courthouse, there is a good chance you will be witnessing someone’s life-changing moment. Since my arrest in 2016, I have seen so many.
I head into courtroom one at exactly 1:00pm. The room is mostly empty. The court clerk tells me how it will work but I already know. Soon after, I see the Crown on my case head to a back room in the court. I know the pre-trial is beginning now. I can hear my lawyer’s voice but can’t make out what’s being said. Another thirty minutes pass by. My friends are chatting but I am just not there anymore. I keep looking at the door, then the clock, then the door and back to the clock again. My trial was cancelled last summer, on request of the Crown and I just want to set my new trial date. The evidence hasn’t changed and neither has my position. I don’t understand why there needs to be this many pre-trials on the case.
The Judge and Crown finally come back. We are adjourning to Feb. 12, 2018, when we’ll finally set the date for the trial. The Judge begins to explain that we will also be setting a date for yet another judicial pre-trial. He tells me that he thinks it would be beneficial if I participate in it this time. Pre-trials are almost always done without the accused present. I am a little annoyed at first, wondering if they are going to try to convince me to take another deal. Then I realize that it will be my chance to speak directly to the Crown about the merits of the case. I won’t lie, I am a little excited. I have been fighting the complainant in three different proceedings and have observed and learned a lot about the law. Through the anxiety of so many court appearances, I take great comfort in the learning I gain from each experience. After all, there is no such thing as bad learning.
Smiths Falls, that small town in Ontario that’s been making some big waves. That small town known for sports heroes Brooke Henderson and Bailey Andison. Also, the town where freed Haqqani Network hostage Joshua Boyle made his return and where his parents still reside. Also making headlines are accused criminals, like Blair Cathcart, school teacher charged with sexually assaulting his students, and even an accused hacker (me) whose alleged post in the town’s local swap shop prompted a $75-million-dollar class-action lawsuit that was recently certified.
What is it about Smiths Falls that is pumping out all this good and bad press? What exactly is in the water (though locals will laugh at that question and say “Blinky”). I wish I could tell you. I wish I could put my finger on what exactly makes Smiths Falls’ residents so unique. We don’t have the arts and culture scene like the neighboring small town of Perth. But our mayor is never caught with his “negligence” hanging out like another neighboring town, Carleton Place. We’re not quiet and quaint like Almonte but also not booming in growth like Kemptville.
Whatever it is making our residents newsworthy, it is clear that the people of Smiths Falls are making an impact. Whether you rise, or rise up “at the falls” know that we each have a unique power in us all. We can use it for good or we can use it for bad, but never underestimate the potential in each of us.