2 min

Police panicked?

Cops call for calm, hint that Bijou mess may go away

IT'S JUST SEX. Deal, Mr Copper. Credit: Tony Fong

Police are calling for calm in the wake of a raucous community meeting that left the head of 52 Division the target of angry yelling.

Cops are going so far as to say that the Crown is being asked to drop criminal sex charges against 19 men arrested in the Bijou raids.

But whether that will actually happen is a completely different story.

Supt Aiden Maher, the head of 52 Division, originally hinted that something was in the works during the nasty Jul 22 Church-Wellesley Neighbourhood Police Advisory Committee meeting.

Although he made no mention of dropping the charges, Maher asked

the standing-room-only crowd for time – promising to report back at next month’s Aug 26 rendezvous.

However, in a later interview, Maher said he was trying to

“calm” the community.

“There has been a request from the lawyers involved that (the

charges) be withdrawn,” says Maher. “I’m waiting for one of the Crowns to return to discuss the lawyers’ request.”

In fact, lawyers almost always ask for just that. And the request is just as often routinely ignored.

Says Maher: “We have to be very careful here, because it is the responsibility of the Crown to consider withdrawing these charges in the community interest. But again, he has the choice to proceed in the matter.”

Asked how such an announcement might be made, Maher says: “I can’t

answer that because we’re now into the area of the Crown’s responsibility. I’m not really going to tell them how they can do it. Generally, what happens – if it happens – it’s just done very quietly.

“If they’re going to see to the request of the defence lawyers here,

generally they’re just going to withdraw the charges – that’s what they do.”

Crown Attorney Calvin Barry confirmed in an earlier interview that he would be handling the case, dismissing weeks of rumours about the charges being dropped.

He was on holiday this week.

Meanwhile, Robert Christie, a lawyer representing one of the men

charged with committing an indecent act, confirms an Aug 11 get-together with Barry.

Like any good advocate, he’s going to ask that charges against his

client be dropped. But Christie says he hasn’t heard of any formal request by a group of his associates. In fact, he doesn’t even know who most of them are.

Police are looking to arrest one of the Bijou 19 all over again.

The court clerk’s office reports that one of the men failed to

appear for his court date at Old City Hall – and a bench warrant

has been issued.

Although police have released inconsistent and incorrect court

data, three other men made their first court appearances last Thursday.

One was ordered to reappear Sep 1, while two others were

assigned to Sep 9 court dates.

Six others are thought ot have made court appearances on Tuesday (Jul 27).

Lawyer Robert Christie would not speculate as to whether the Crown is trying to avoid a group defence by setting different dates.

“It’s just too early to say what they’re doing,” says Christie.

The Bijou itself faces 14 charges under the liquor licence act,

finally served to owner Craig Anderson at his home last week.

A cashier, arrested in the Canada Day shakedown, faces a single charge of obstructing the police, bringing the total number of charges against the Bijou, its customers and employees to 34.

Police began raiding the club in mid June and didn’t stop until it

was closed.

A free public forum, Cops, Community, Consensual Sex, will be held at 7pm on Wed, Aug 4, at the 519 Church Street Community Centre.