Fallout continues after Conrad Black’s contentious appeals hearing
The fallout from Lord Black’s contentious appeals hearing included the now-familiar bumptious rebuttal from his Lordship, backed up by the usual ventriloquism offered up by George Jonas of the National Post. In all this, there was the assertion that judges Posner and Sykes were, as Black put it, “essentially part of the prosecution.” Whatever his motivation throughout the hearing, Posner was by turns caustic, sarcastic, incredulous and dismissive. Afterwards, Andrew Frey noted that it’s an appeals judge’s job to be skeptical and that it was unlikely that Posner would come off the bench and give him a hug.
In listening to the hearing several times, I was particularly struck by Frey’s opening remark regarding Black’s conviction for obstructing justice:
I have to say that I think this is the weakest case I’ve seen in 45 years of law practice. The judge and the jury both seem to have lost sight of the fact that in order to convict Mr. Black of obstruction it was necessary to find an intent to remove, conceal or destroy documents.
Remember, Frey is making this argument after a four-month trial that included hundreds of hours of argument and hundreds of pages of legal briefs to a justice of an appeals court (Posner) before whom St. Eve had appeared (at least indirectly) as a government attorney. Essentially, Frey is suggesting that a team of monkeys could have done a better job than St. Eve and the jury in this case.
There’s an old saying that it’s best not to shit where you eat. My guess is that Frey must have been absent the day that bit of wisdom was handed down from the gods.
• Judges don’t understand case, Black says [Globe and Mail]• The evidence was never there [National Post]