Monday, April 15, 2024

Law: Justin Trudeau’s Trial System Sounds More Like China Than Canada as Music Exec Languishes in Jail — Jury Was Denied Key Evidence


Today is the 77th day that Steven Nowack, a 56 year old Canadian citizen who has no criminal record, has spent in a Toronto jail. Nowack — whom I’ve known since 2005 through the music industry — has been cruelly stripped of his freedom by Justice Robert F. Goldstein, of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, since April 26, 2019. That’s when he was wrongfully convicted by a jury of 12 counts of fraud over $5,000 in what the government alleges is a $15 million dollar case.

Nowack is in a judicial purgatory caused by a prejudicial judge.

I’ve posted a couple of stories in the last two months about this extraordinary case proceeding in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. I wasn’t able to use names until now. The case is rife with possible misconduct and potential criminal acts by the Judge, the Prosecutor (referred to in Canada as “The Crown”), and the police. I’ve been cautious as I wanted to give Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, his Attorney General of Canada, David Lametti, and the Attorney General of Ontario, Doug Downey, the opportunity to intervene before I revealed names.

But they’ve remained silent, allowing this grave and serious violation of the Statutory and Charter Rights continue to be suffered by a Canadian citizen who has no prior criminal record. I didn’t think of Canada as China, but suddenly it’s become an issue.

Nowacks story attracted my attention about 2 1/2 years ago when I could not believe that he was still being prosecuted. Since that time, the story has become Kafka-esque, worthy of a Netflix or HBO mini series a la “The Night Of.”

Trudeau, who sees himself as a kind of Superman for Canada, should remember his words: “The Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects all Canadians, every one of us, even when it is uncomfortable. When the government violates any Canadian’s Charter rights we all end up paying for it.” If he really feels that way, he should take a look into releasing Nowack as soon as possible pending a comprehensive review of what has gone on in Goldstein’s courtroom.

Nowack’s case has now been proceeding before the courts for 5 years and 9 months, beginning back on October 23, 2013.

Just recently, on Thursday, June 27, 2019, Nowack was in court for the full day, for the continuation of what is called a disclosure motion. A disclosure motion is to review late and missing disclosure (the fruits of evidence from the police investigation).

The disclosure hearing was supposed to take place before the jury was seated, not after they delivered a conviction without hearing all the evidence– or what the government may have done to suppress it.

The disclosure situation in this trial should have been enough to stop the proceedings cold. This was a shocker: Goldstein seems to have known in advance what would happen. He’d begun to hear the disclosure motion before the jury was seated. But he abruptly adjourned it after two days and let the trial begin.

Two weeks later, well into the trial, the prosecutor, Renna Weinberg, revealed that she’d been sitting on in excess of 3,200 pages of emails, plus more 400 pages or other documents, and in excess of 400 pages of missing financial records. The jury was already sitting — for two weeks. And Weinberg had known about it for two years. Two years.

The news of all this missing evidence was only revealed publicly weeks later — after the jury had rendered its verdict. Why? Because the trial judge, Justice Robert F. Goldstein, did not want them to hear about this crucial evidence, this mountain of emails and documents– and how they’d been discovered.

This was one of many decisions made by Justice Goldstein that prevented Nowack from having a fair trial and from mounting a full defense. Another decision, which I’ll get into next week, will blow your minds.

It’s not like Nowack hasn’t tried to mount a defense. He has. He’s had in his corner Paul Slansky, one of Canada’s  most highly respected criminal/constitutional lawyers. Slansky has been assisting Nowack for the past three years on an unbundled basis pro bono– as in, for free. He’s that angry that Nowack’s rights have been and continue to be so seriously violated.

Slansky vehemently opposed Goldsein’s decision to having the trial without the disclosure motion. It was the opposite of what should have occurred. Slansky believes that Goldstein’s decision flagrantly violated Mr. Nowack’s statutory and Charter Rights denying him a fair trial, by preventing him from making full answer and defense.

Again, Canada, or China?

This is only the very tip of the iceberg regarding Goldstein’s behavior in this trial. I will reveal many more details in the coming days. But Goldstein should not feel alone in his participation and complicity in this travesty. His colleagues– prosecutor Weinberg and the Toronto Police– have been complicit.

I told you this reads like a John Grisham novel or a Netflix or HBO blockbuster. It does. The only difference here, is that John Grisham’s novels were fiction and this is real life. Shameful.

More next week, and it doesn’t reflect well on the Canadian judicial system.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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