Canadian Kafka: only charges from G20 fence rule disappear in administrative weirdness

Canadian Kafka: only charges from G20 fence rule disappear in administrative weirdness

The affair is like a Kafka story turned inside out: charged with violating secretly passed rules that may or may not have existed with regards to the now-legendary G20 summit fence, Dave Vasey was released on the condition that he agree to appear at Old City Hall to answer the charge. When Vasey and his lawyer turned up at court, however, they found the charge had disappeared in what appears to be an administrative fog. The charges simply didn’t exist on paper or in the computer.

So, “Kafka” because of the vexing rules, but “inside out” because it ends with the guy being free.

The Toronto Star quotes Vasey’s lawyer, Howard Morton:

“There are only two possibilities. The first is there never was a charge,” he said. “The only other possibility I can think of is that the government simply didn’t want any further embarrassment over this regulation that was passed in secret and simply decided not to pursue it.

“If that’s the case, then they were just hoping the issue would go away.”

In an email to the Star, a spokesperson for the attorney general said Vasey’s charge appears to have never been filed with the courts and directed further questions to the police.

The police, for their part, are investigating this as an administrative matter. Spokesperson Meaghan Gray says the shenanigans have nothing to do with the fact that this is a G20 case. Far be it from us to question the authority of the police, but it sounds positively fishy.

Technically, Vasey could still be charged sometime over the next five months according to the Star, but that would probably require someone who wants to draw out this G20 mess even longer. From Queen’s Park to police HQ to the mayor’s office, it’s safe to say we aren’t going to see any hands raised.

Too bad. We’ve been dying to dub this “fencegate.”

Charge mysteriously disappears for G20 accused [Toronto Star]
• Charges dropped against man who got too close to G20 fence [Toronto Sun]
• Man shows up to face G20 ‘five-metre’ charges, discovers they don’t exist [Globe and Mail]