B.C. dangerous offender loses sex-assault appeal – BC

VANCOUVER – A dangerous offender who posed as a gynecologist and convinced one victim to tattoo a name across her stomach has lost an appeal of several sexual-assault convictions in British Columbia’s highest court.

Kolten Mastronardi was convicted in November 2006 on 12 counts of sexual assault, as well as other charges related to assault, threats, fraud and extortion. He was declared a dangerous offender in June 2012 and given an indeterminate sentence.

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Mastronardi appealed four of the sexual-assault convictions, arguing the trial judge erred in law by convicting him of four counts for fraudulent gynecological examinations.

He also argued the trial judge shouldn’t have dismissed an application to sever counts of fraud and extortion and one count of sexual assault from the other charges.

B.C. Court of Appeal Justice Daphne Smith, writing for the three-member panel, dismissed the appeal in a ruling posted online Thursday.

“Irrefutably his admitted non-consensual touching of their genitals necessarily violated their sexual integrity and constitutes a sexual assault,” she said.

Smith also said it was irrelevant that the “examinations” were consistent with medical exams.

“A fraudulent skill cannot legitimize non-consensual sexual activity.”

Smith said the trial judge did not err in principle or fail to consider relevant factors when dismissing Mastronardi’s severance application. She said the trial judge fairly weighed the risk of prejudice and considered the interests of justice.

“In all of the circumstance, it cannot be said that the ruling resulted in an injustice,” she wrote.

Smith’s ruling laid bare the details of Mastronardi’s “fantasy world.”

She said with slight variations he presented himself as a member of a Sicilian family that was organized in a Mafia-like manner, a medical doctor and widower seeking a wife. Mastronardi also told his victims his family required submissive wives and the amalgamation of finances, said Smith.

Her ruling said he broke the nose of one victim, sexually assaulted her with the butt end of a knife, and convinced her to tattoo the sentence, “Property of Nicolo Mastronardi,” across her stomach, and in large black letters.

Mastronardi also accused his victims of giving him sexually transmitted infections after examinations and false diagnoses.

Smith said Mastronardi extorted intercourse from a young naive foreign student by threatening to inform her parents and reporting “her ‘crime’ of ‘sexual teasing’ to the immigration authorities and have her deported.”

Mastronardi also defrauded his victims of money and credit, and one lost as much as $55,000, said Smith.

Continue reading B.C. dangerous offender loses sex-assault appeal – BC

New St. Lawrence swimming hole proposed – Montreal

MONTREAL – How does a harbor pool built in the waters of the Old Port strike you?

Like it or not, that’s the idea being pitched by city opposition leader Richard Bergeron. The councillor wants a swimming area bordered by piers and docks to be built and opened in the harbor by next summer.

Bergeron is basing his model on harbor pools that already exist in Copenhagen.

He says the time has come for politicians to open the St. Lawrence river to swimming in the old port.

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But as Global News walked around the harbor, there were plenty of visible signs of water pollution. A slick oily film covers part of the water surface in some areas. And garbage floats in other areas of the port.

Bergeron downplays these signs, arguing recent tests show the level of bacteria in the water is low enough for swimming. But others disagree.

Daniel Green of SVP, an environmental organization that does extensive water quality testing, argues Montreal’s standard for measuring pollution levels is antiquated.

He says results of tests need to be known within hours and not days as is often the case.

“Politicians love to open beaches but hate to close them,” he said Thursday afternoon.

Green argues discharge from ships and storm drain overflows can quickly rise pollution levels in the port.

Many Montrealers like the idea of opening up the harbor for swimming but some say more clean up is required.

Continue reading New St. Lawrence swimming hole proposed – Montreal

Parcel ‘Y’: Victory Majors developer asking for patience – Saskatoon

Watch above: what happened to the River Landing mega project?

SASKATOON – The 2014 construction season is well under way. Cranes are a common sight in the downtown skyline.

Parcel ‘Y’, east of Persephone Theatre and south of 19th Street remains untouched. The fenced-off and weed-ridden lot is waiting to realize its full potential.

Thursday afternoon, John Nasser with Victory Majors, came to the site for a discussion.

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  • No sign of construction at Parcel Y in River Landing

“We would have liked to have started by now but honestly, it has been a roller coaster,” said Nasser.

Victory Majors has owned the land since 2010. It was originally sold to Calgary’s Lake Placid Developments but failing to meet financial deadlines, the deal fell through.

The history of the site dates back to the 1980’s when SaskPower’s old A.L Cole electrical plant shut down. In 2004 the federal and provincial governments committed a cash injection of $30 million to develop River Landing.

The following year, city council began brainstorming a mega project which would bundle several varieties of development.

The preliminary design for Parcel ‘Y’ contemplates a 10-storey hotel, a 27-storey condominium and a 17-storey office building with the addition of restaurants and retail shops at ground level.

According to Ryan Walker, the associate professor of regional and urban planning at the University of Saskatchewan, bundling several development lines together may have been a critical mistake.

“Any one of those individual projects – a hotel, an office building, residential – has its own sub market in Saskatoon and so a development company will come along typically and develop one of those projects.”

Walker says most companies specialize in one realm, not several.

Victory Majors is asking for patience.

“It is the largest commercial private development in the province which of course takes a lot of time for all the variables to come together” Nasser said. “We’re progressing to a point where we’re not ready to start digging however we are making progress and we are committed to the project.”

Hesitating to give a fixed date Nasser said only that the company hopes to begin construction within the next couple years.

The project was originally pegged to cost around $200 million. Nasser says it’s now likely to ring in between $300 and $400 million, admitting the cost to build continues to rise with the passage of time.

In the meantime, Parcel ‘Y’ functions as a parking lot. Victory Majors donates all money generated from the site to local charities.

Continue reading Parcel ‘Y’: Victory Majors developer asking for patience – Saskatoon

Rosetown performer Scott Freethy remembered with special performance – Saskatoon

Watch above: Performers from as far away as New York City have gathered in small town Saskatchewan to pay tribute to Scott Freethy

ROSETOWN, Sask. – Have you ever met someone with such enormous talent and a love of life, you just knew they were going big places? For many people in Rosetown, Sask. and across the country that person was musical actor Scott Freethy.

“He was that guy, you meet him for 30 seconds and that was it…you were hooked,” said Brenda Longhurst.

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The pair, described as a real-life Will & Grace, were inseparable. Longhurst was by Freethy’s bedside when he passed away on June 5, 2013 after a three-year battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“It’s been really difficult to kind of try to find my own way now,” explained Longhurst as stage lights flickered behind her.

“But he would want me to go for it, be happy and do the things I need to do so that’s what keeps me going.”

What’s been keeping her going is preparing for the performance of a life-time, a tribute to her friend.

“When I was here for the funeral last year I  had his iPod and I was just going through, checking things out, seeing what he had on there and I found a set list and it was called the “Comeback Show” so he wanted to do this show when he got better and when I found that I was like I have to make sure this happens so that’s way we’re all here now.”

Gathering at his old high school in Rosetown, friends and fellow performers from across the country and United States have flown in to help bring his production to life.

“Yesterday it was difficult watching everyone come in the door and meet Scott’s family, be in the town he grow up in, it was really emotional for me to see that at first but I think that was probably going to be the height of the emotion and now it’s just go time,” laughed Longhurst.

“He was such an amazing person and he did so much and he gave back so much and it only seems right to do the same and celebrate him and his life and the amazing person he was,” said Toronto-based performer Julia Juhas, who performed in Beauty and the Beast with Freethy.

With at least a dozen performers involved in the production, rehearsals have taken place by any means possible. Choreography has been disseminated through DropBox and practiced at times over Skype.

“Even when we did the shows with Scott, it was like quick and it always works out,” said Juhas.

“The only thing is he would want to be the lead in every song, he’d be up there telling us what to do and which foot comes next but I truly believe that he would have been just honoured by this type of commitment to him and everything that he’s done,” said Lance Green.

This would have been the fifth production put on by Freethy and friends, an idea that Freethy originated in 2000 after his mom passed away from breast cancer.

“It’s tough but it but you just keep going,” said Ken Freethy, Scott’s dad.

“We’re coming back because we can, we can perform and we should celebrate that it’s a great opportunity to do it,” said Jennie Ford, a now New York City-based performer who is from Humboldt and meet Freethy in his final year of life.

Proceeds from the performance will be donated to three different organization: The Canadian Cancer Society Saskatchewan division, the Odette Cancer Centre at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and the Actors’ Fund of Canada.

This show may also be the final one.

“If something does happen it might be a couple years from now but right now this is the fifth one and it feels like everything’s is full circle and yeah,” said Longhurst.

So what can audiences expect?

“They can expect, high energy, lots of dancing, lots of singing and probably some tears,” said Ford.

At this point, there are still tickets available to both shows scheduled for Friday, July 25 and Saturday, July 26. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at the door at Athlete’s Haven, Wild Oats, Moore & Associates or online at 杭州桑拿按摩论坛杭州夜生活scottfreethysfriends杭州夜网

Continue reading Rosetown performer Scott Freethy remembered with special performance – Saskatoon

‘Psychiatrists in blue’: How police forces deal with people in crisis

Police officers are increasingly on the front lines of mental health in Canada.

And Sammy Yatim’s shooting death at the hands of a Toronto Police officer last year prompted public outrage and renewed scrutiny of the way police officers deal with people in crisis.

In all cases, officers have to be satisfied that the person is a danger to themselves or others before they can take any action under the Mental Health Act.

Each service determines its own intervention models. These are the three most common:

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Mobile Crisis Teams (MCT) or Mobile Crisis Intervention Team (MCIT)

These include trained police officers accompanied by a mental health professional responding on-site to a crisis. The team only arrives after first responders decided the situation is safe and stable.

Crisis Outreach Assessment and Support Team (COAST)

Team of officers and mental health professionals that assess people over the phone and respond on-site. Provides follow-up care and referrals.

Crisis Intervention Team (CIT)

Trains first responders in crisis intervention. Although the specifics change depending on the police force, it’s often voluntary. All calls related to mental health crises will be diverted to the CIT.

The difference between the CIT and other models is that it trains first responders, says Randolph Dupont a University of Memphis professor and clinical psychologist who helped develop the model.

This means officers don’t have to wait for another team to come before they can help the person in crisis: They’re trained to do it themselves.

Toronto Police Service

Uses a Mobile Crisis Intervention Team to assess the person in crisis and connect him or her to follow-up services.

All officers are trained in communication and de-escalation techniques, which includes: continuously assessing the threat, being professional, modeling composure, being aware of body language, providing physical space as appropriate, using names and engaging, using calm and clear language, validating the person’s feelings/situation, encouraging relaxation, providing realistic assurances and remaining patient.

Officers at a scene decide whether to call in the unit.

Retired Justice Iacobucci’s report suggested these teams be available 24/7 in all parts of the city, not just in certain areas for part of the day, as they are now.

Calgary Police Service

The CPS has five Police and Crisis Teams (PACT), each of which has one constable and one mental health professional. The teams are called into crisis situations but establishes a long-term relationship with clients. It provides continuity of care and referrals to other services. The main goal is to divert people from the justice system to the health-care system.

Calgary Police doesn’t require existing members of the service to undergo additional mental health training once they join, but the force is trying to determine other ways – such as adding a Crisis Intervention Team or changing its protocol – to deal with crisis intervention, says Sgt. Erin Partridge of the Vulnerable Persons Team and the Police in Crisis Team.

Vancouver Police Department

Uses both MCIT and COAST models. “Car 87” is part of the Police and Community Response Unit and provides on-site assessments and intervention. But it lacks the resources for extended follow-up.

Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) is meant to help health-care professionals, when needed, during field visits to clients. ACT consists of psychiatrists, nurses, addictions counsellors and police.

Doctors are able to share information regarding the patient’s release and treatment with officers who are a part of ACT. In a crisis situation the officers can obtain the person’s medical information to decide on the best course of action.

Hamilton Police Service

The only police force in Canada to combine MCIT, COAST and CIT. The Hamilton Police instituted the Crisis Intervention Team as a way to bridge to gap created by COAST. The Crisis Intervention Team  is called in when COAST is unable to respond because the situation is unsafe for mental health professionals, when COAST cannot get to the site on time, or when the situation occurs after-hours.  The Mobile Crisis Rapid Response Team consists of an officer and a mental health worker and provides follow-up support where CIT officers do not.

CIT was developed in response to situation when a man suffering from mental illness was killed by police in Memphis, Tennessee. Community members called on police to change their methods in dealing with people in crisis.

The emphasis in CIT is on partnerships between every service available, says Dupont. It’s meant to be a collaborative effort to help people in crisis.

Continue reading ‘Psychiatrists in blue’: How police forces deal with people in crisis

Customer compensated after being denied access to cruise line while pregnant – Toronto

WATCH ABOVE: Michelle Ligori answered an unusual question honestly before boarding a cruise ship. As Sean O’Shea reports her early pregnancy made her unable to get on the ship.

TORONTO – Five months after Michelle Ligori and her family took a cruise aboard the ‘Oasis of the Seas’,  she still can’t believe the question asked by a Royal Caribbean representative when she tried to board.

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“She said, ‘are you pregnant?’ And I said ‘well, actually, yes,’” Ligori told Global News.

The question – and Ligori’s admission – turned the family’s cruise plans upside down. Although she had paid in full for the cruise, Ligori was told she could not board.

The cruise line company insisted Ligori provide medical proof of fitness to travel, something required of all pregnant travellers.

She did not have such a letter. The company’s website states that no woman more than 24 weeks along in her term may board the ship. But Ligori was only five weeks pregnant.

She had taken a home pregnancy test just before leaving home in Hamilton, Ont. She had not yet been to her doctor to confirm she was expecting a third child.

In Osoyoos, British Columbia, Marnie Boers said the same thing happened to her earlier this year when she tried to board the ‘Oasis of the Seas’.

“The pit boss of customer service said: ‘any chance you’re pregnant?” and I said “yes,” after which Boers says the Royal Caribbean representative demanded a letter. Boers, who was 17 weeks pregnant at the time (less than half of a full-term pregnancy) was able to telephone her midwife at home who faxed the letter to the ship and she was allowed to board.

Royal Caribbean is among the few carriers to demand medical evidence of fitness to travel for every pregnant woman. A Royal Caribbean representative told Global News the purpose of the policy is to ensure the safety of the unborn child. .

“I can’t understand why they would have that policy,” said Dr. Jon Barrett, Chief of Maternal Fetal Medicine at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto.

“There’s no increased risk of travel, no matter what week you are,” said Barrett, an obstetrician and professor.

Many woman say it’s offensive for a company to inquire about pregnancy, especially in public.

“I think it’s a breach of privacy; it’s sensitive, it’s a personal thing,” said Karen Judd, who owns Moms to be and More, a Toronto store catering to new mothers.

Ali Johnson, who’s 38 weeks pregnant, agrees.”If you choose to share (the news of pregnancy) with family and friends you can but it shouldn’t be anyone’s business.”

Lauren Bull, clutching her newborn daughter Verity inside the store, says a cruise ship isn’t owed that information.

“We didn’t tell anyone until three months because you never know,” Bull said.

Royal Caribbean excludes pregnant women from traveling on ships entirely after their 24th week of pregnancy, but the company doesn’t limit travel for other passengers.

“Are they going to ask people   – are you going to have a stroke, a heart attack? How far do you go?” said Judd.

Boers says it’s wrong to single out pregnant women.

“I’m healthy, I’m young and pregnant – it’s not an illness at all,” she said.

A day after our first story on Michelle Ligori, who paid more than $1,200 for additional hotels, taxi fares and a flight for her family to catch the cruise in the Bahamas two days late, Royal Caribbean contacted her to offer an apology.

“They would like to refund us two days of our trip (for all four of us) as well as our additional expenses incurred. (They) also indicated they would look into revising the wording of their policy and training their customer service representatives,” said Ligori.

“My husband and I are satisfied with this outcome. Thank you for hearing and airing our story. Because of you we were able to get a response that was otherwise going unheard,” she said.

Continue reading Customer compensated after being denied access to cruise line while pregnant – Toronto

Mass murderer forgoes parole hearing

The mass murder who mercilessly wiped out a West Kelowna family more than 30 years ago will remain behind bars for at least the next two years.

David Ennis, formerly known as David Shearing, shot to death six members of the Bentley-Johnson family in an ambush attack in August 1982. He was set to go before the parole board in September, but has now waived his right to a full parole hearing, which automatically happens every two years. Ennis had also applied for day parole, but according to Gary Sears at the Parole Board of Canada, Ennis also withdrew that application.

Previous parole applications by Ennis have been fiercely opposed by relatives and friends of the Bentley-Johnson family, and all have been rejected by the parole board.

WATCH: Petition to keep killer David Shearing locked up

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Tammy Arishenkoff spearheaded a petition protesting Shearing’s bid for parole and started a facebook page called “Justice for Johnson-Bentley families.”

She posted this on the page after hearing the news:

“Got the call this morning and David Ennis (Shearing) has waived his right to a full parole review as well as withdrawn his application for day parole! Considering he hasn’t even seen our impact statements yet, this is a testament to the power of the people. THANK YOU to everyone who signed a petition, got signatures, sent in a letter and supported us. With hope, our legislation will change and we will not have to do this for another 5 – 7 years.”

Continue reading Mass murderer forgoes parole hearing

South Hamptons condo residents return to suites for first time since fire – Edmonton

Watch above: For the first time since Monday’s fire, residents of the Park Place South Hamptons condo complex were allowed back inside briefly to grab some belongings. Fletcher Kent has more.

EDMONTON – Three days after a massive blaze tore through their homes, residents of the Park Place South Hamptons condo complex were allowed back in their suites Thursday.

Homeowners were given 20 minutes to go inside, assess the damage and grab their personal belongings.

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    Fire Chief Ken Block

“We were both pretty anxious to get in and to see,” said Bethany Erickson, who lives in the building with her husband Tim. “But when we stepped in, and the smell, that’s when I started to get pretty worried.”

Erickson and her husband were lucky; their unit was spared by the fire.

Not everyone was quite as lucky, though. Monika and Steve St. Jean say it’s been an emotional week waiting to see what was left of their home after fire ripped through the west Edmonton condo building early Monday morning.

“We tried to cut the emotion out. It wasn’t until I got to my son’s nursery and the ceiling was down,” said Monika, holding back tears, “with your first born, there’s baby things… you don’t have as much attachment to your own things as you do baby things.”

READ MORE: Residents displaced by west Edmonton condo blaze looking for answers

The St. Jeans’ suite is below the burned out floor. They didn’t even need their full 20 minutes to grab their belongings.

“When you walk in with gumboots into standing water, into everything that you owned, you just shut down,” said Monika.

“You have to realize that pretty much everything left behind after today will be pretty much unrecoverable due to water.”

Fire investigators have since determined the blaze – which caused an estimated $10 million in damages – was started by a cigarette that was improperly extinguished in a flower pot.

READ MORE: Improperly disposed of cigarette likely cause of Edmonton condo fire

Residents are now trying to figure out what to do next. According to the condo board, “longer blocks of time to allow residents to recover larger items will be scheduled over the next several weeks.”

At this time it’s not known exactly when residents will be allowed to return home for good, which is frustrating to many.

“Right now I’m in the situation where I don’t have a home,” said Renols Dehari, who lives in the building with his wife and daughter. The couple also has another baby on the way.

“This is ridiculous. I’m going from hotel to hotel and I don’t know. I don’t know what to say, I’m just basically in the middle of nowhere.”

While frustrating, the St. Jeans say they’ll start looking for a place to rent, adding they’re happy they were able to make it out of the fire with the things that matter most.

“We got our son out and we got our cats out,” said Monkia. “And we have each other.”

Follow @CaleyRamsay

With files from Fletcher Kent, Global News.

Continue reading South Hamptons condo residents return to suites for first time since fire – Edmonton

Critics sound off about Alberta’s long term care troubles

CALGARY- The story of an Airdrie family who can’t move their father from Ontario due to the cost of long-term care is touching a nerve with Canadians.

Legislation states that anyone moving from out of province must live in Alberta for 12 months before being eligible for any kind of continuing care subsidy. If the Hirons family  were to move to Airdrie, they would be on the hook for $7,500 per month for an entire year.

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It turns out they’re far from alone in their struggle.

“We have a member of our family who is in a vulnerable state, who we can’t look after the way we would like to,” complains Rob McNaughton.

His sister-in-law suffered a brain injury eight years ago while living in Saskatchewan, and was eventually admitted to a long-term care facility. Her family tried to get her moved to Calgary to be with them, but they also would have been forced to pay for her care on their own.

“We’re all here,” McNaughton says. “We go back and visit her for a week at a time or so, but really we need to bring her here because this is where our lives are.”

Critics are miffed at the legislation.

“Other provinces don’t have this issue, other provinces can make this work for families, because they understand keeping the family whole is a priority,” says Kerry Tole from the Wildrose Party. “The reality of it is that anyone else who is coming to this province can get health services, and it’s billed back to the province in which they came.

“Even then it’s only a three month wait, not a 12 month wait.”

Alberta’s health minister declined Global News’ requests for comment.

Continue reading Critics sound off about Alberta’s long term care troubles

416: People spending a lot of money to get original Toronto area code – Toronto

TORONTO –  People are paying a lot of money to get a hold of a 416 number.

Bill Pollock is one of those people. He won’t say how much he spent but admits to buying his 416 number.

“We wanted to have a centrally located number that anybody can call from any part of the city and not have a long-distance fee,” said Pollock.

But Pollock says the area code holds status above Toronto’s other area codes.

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“416 is identified as Toronto. Toronto, and in fact it’s referred to often as the 416,” he said.

Pollock obtained his number through vip416numbers杭州夜网, a website which distributes 416 numbers for a fee ranging from $99 to $2000.

And the website may be the only way to get a 416 number, because the Canadian Numbering Association doesn’t distribute 416 numbers anymore.

“The last large group of CO codes, the first 3 digits of the phone number, we handed out would have been 2006.” said Glen Brown, a project manager with the Canadian Numbering Administrator.

The 416 area code has been used since 1947. The area code 647 was introduced in 2001. Some people are not even aware of a third area code, 437, which was introduced in March, 2013.

And of course 905, a Toronto area code Brown says, people forget about.

“What they now associate as the 905 area code was also originally part of the 416 area code and it was sort of split off at one point,” he said.

Many former Torontonians keep their 416 number when they move away. Chris Butryn did when he moved to Durham in 2006.

“It helps you keep in touch with your friends from the old region and makes it easy for them,” Butryn said.

Now a realtor in the Durham Region, Butryn said he is glad he still has the number because it helps connect him to his clients.

“I think it lets people know that you know them. I did live in the city. I have a 416 numbers. I know areas, I know people in the city,” he said.

Continue reading 416: People spending a lot of money to get original Toronto area code – Toronto