Trial, Week 7: Summary - September 3


WEEK 7: SEPTEMBER 3 - 6, 1996

   * Monday, September 2 - holiday (no court)   * Day 32: Thursday, September 5
   * Day 30: Tuesday, September 3               * Day 33: Friday, September 6 
   * Day 31: Wednesday, September 4


Posted by FreeMedia


Abbreviations used in notes:

DC = Don Campbell (Defense)
SF = Shelagh Franklin (Defense)
GW = George Wool (Defense)
ST = Sheldon Tate (Defense)
MA = Manuel Azevedo (Defense)
HR = Harry Rankin (Defense)

LB = Lance Bernard (Crown)
JF = Jennifer Fawcus (Crown)

J = Judge

ST tells J that DC is at doctor's and ST will cover for him.

LB says that Cpl. Callander isn't available because of former commitments. ST wasn't ready to cross-examine anyway until he saw more disclosures, so Callander will be available when ST is ready. LB asks for jury to leave regarding next witness.

Jury out.

LB says the next witness is Staff Sgt. Greening who is an ex-RCMP pilot who claims he was fired upon. LB wants to play video of camp members firing upwards towards a helicopter. LB says that he wants to play this because Greening will say that his flight pattern on Aug. 24/95 was similar to that of the one in the video. Greening will clarify that he never flew this close to the camp. GW - Doesn't think we should be asking this witness to make comment on a news journalist generated item. Suggests that the journalist asked camp members to point the rifle upwards. Will Thomas not in this jurisdiction. Also, no disclosures made of this incident other than a note by Olfert who claims that Greening heard 25 shots. Counsel hasn't had a chance to show video to their clients and would prefer a voirdire because it's not fair.

LB - Says voirdire is fine, but Will Thomas was not media - he was in the camp. Also, Thomas has been subpoenaed by the Crown. J wonders what help it would be to have Greening look at footage taken from the ground. LB explains that Defense has done this before to show video to a witness.

ST - Objects too.

MA - Objects because this witness is not an expert witness. J would like to view the tape and will then hear submissions.

Voirdire begins - Without jury.

LB - Next witness (#25): Gerald David Greening (GG) - 17 years for RCMP as pilot. Seven years previous as a regular member. Got involved in August 1995 as a pilot. He and Dave McCullagh were the two RCMP pilots. The two alternated. Aug. 19/95 was his first flight. Went to Williams Lake with Olfert to do a press release dealing with weapons found on the Fraser River. Afterwards, Olfert wanted to see the Gustafsen Lake site, so they flew from Williams Lake to the camp area. Aug. 24 was his next flight accompanied by Cst. Leatherdale who was using FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared System). GG circled camp three times, flew to Percy's lease and when they returned to camp area, they were fired on. In afternoon, flew again to area using different route to stay away from camp. This time he flew at 2000 feet. In morning he was flying at 1500 feet. He thought he heard gunfire on afternoon flight, but isn't absolutely sure. Since incident, he has viewed a videotape. At Gustafsen Lake, four helicopters in use. On Aug. 24th, there was only one helicopter flying. Says he didn't fly close to camp anymore after the 24th because of gunfire.

Will Thomas video shown. Helicopter seen flying directly overhead. Man raises gun upwards, but there is no fire. Gun shots heard elsewhere. Old man and younger man seen later walking out of the forest with weapons. End. GG flew in area about eight times. Says he recognized fence and camp in video. Says flight pattern in video would be similar to those in video. He was doing an S pattern.

He would have been east of the camp heading in a SE direction. After Aug. 24th, he didn't repeat pattern. On the 24th, he says speed and direction was same as helicopter in video - 50-60 knots at 2000 feet. Flew this slow for FLIR operator. Flew a dozen times more afterwards and never repeated patterns.

GW - Aug. 19th was his first flight over camp. Olfert in helicopter along with Staff Sgt. Porter. Doesn't recall media on board up to Williams Lake. Admits that as pilot, he should know who's on board. GW says he has seen media footage taken while flying over lake, but GG denies any knowledge of media flying with him or on any other RCMP helicopters. Agrees that all he can say is that helicopter in video is flying above. He can't rule out that media also chartered helicopters. Says there is one helicopter pilot in 100 Mile House, but several in Williams Lake. Says that commercial pilots usually file flight plans. Best he can say about video is that helicopter looks like one he flies. Says he heard of media reports about a helicopter shooting, but never saw any media himself.

Says he reported shooting as soon as he returned. Says he spoke to Montague later, but claims he didn't discuss shooting incident. Agrees that if he made statement to media, other pilots would also stay clear. Admits that he didn't tell anyone on radio that he was fired on. Didn't mention it until he got back to Kamloops until 9:00 or 10:30 a.m. when he told Olfert. Admits that news could have gotten around helicopter fraternity by the time of his afternoon flight. Says it's possible that CBC could have hired helicopter to fly over. When suggested that CBC asked camp member to point weapons up, he agrees that they ask for some strange things. Agrees that it's possible that CBC could have staged all this.

At time of incident, he was under no counselling or taking medication. Denies having an alcohol or drug problem. On morning of Aug. 24, he says he was fit and capable to fly a helicopter. During flight he wore regulation helmet which covers ears. Inside, are earphones. He can hear radio and passenger in back. Helmet required when flying for RCMP. Says he made a statement. GW shows him message statement written by Olfert. Says he hadn't seen this one, but it is consistent with his own statement. He doesn't have original statement. He gave statement to Olfert.

No statement was written up about afternoon flight because he wasn't certain if he was fired upon. Just had a feeling. Flew near camp 18:00 hours and arrived shortly after. Sun was still up. Made several passes using FLIR at 2000 feet. Admits that he asked Leatherdale if he had made a noise consistent with being fired at, but never said to him "I suspect that we're being fired at." Says that in the morning incident, he did tell Leatherdale, but in both incidents, Leatherdale didn't respond. After afternoon flight, he never said anything to Leatherdale. Says that next day, he went to Olfert and reported that he "felt" that he had been fired at "because I wasn't certain that we were fired at." He wasn't absolutely certain. Says he could have been mistaken during afternoon and admits he wouldn't want to tell jury that he was fired at. No more questions from Defense.

GG stood down.

LB says that this is the testimony that he expected and there's not evidence to suggest that this incident was staged.

GW - notes that this is just speculative that the helicopter in the video was RCMP and could be more prejudicial than probative. Also, no one is charged with this incident and GW feels this is only being led as a backdrop. Who is the victim here? What is the charge? GW says you can't defend against something like this that is only inference.

This witness should not give editorial while the video is played. And disclosures aren't complete again. We don't have his original report. And we also need the CBC reporter (Thomas) to testify where he was and when. J reiterates evidence noting that the person that took the video has yet to be questioned. Don't know what other helicopters were in the area. Agrees that video is very prejudicial and would require that the videographer would have to clarify what staging, editing and instruction was given when making the video. J says the tape will only be marked as identification, but will not be shown to the jury.

ST wants to make sure that Greening doesn't testify about the other pilots' flight patterns. J agrees.

MB/ MA says these further delays in disclosures are unacceptable. Wants J to show displeasure of disclosure and doesn't want to have any witnesses up until Defense has complete disclosures. Wants to prohibit Greening from testifying until all notes are disclosed.

GW - Further to MA's complaint, on March 22/96, he asked LB specifically for Greening's reports and was told this single page report by Olfert was all there was. Now we learn in a voirdire that there are more reports.

LB - explains that there is a difference between notes and reports, and notes aren't always put forward. LB claims he was never told of other notes by Greening. Report by Olfert of Greening's flight is claimed by GG to be essentially the same as his own report. J wonders about report GG made and LB doesn't know where it is. Says it is common for RCMP to type up reports.

HR - says that GG said twice that he left his "report" on Olfert's desk. Says that when an officer is shot at, the whole force will know of it in ten minutes. The best way to deal with this is to produce his original report. "If report is the same, fine, but if it's not, then we've got trouble."

MA - says that GW asked for these notes in March. GW - says he asked for notes or records of the incident and he got the answer there were none. Just because he didn't use a magic word, doesn't make his request any less clear. J - reiterates request to prohibit Greening from testifying. Won't prohibit witness from testifying, but will ask Crown to attempt to round up his original report. Wonders if Greening could testify and cross-examine later when the reports are made available.

HR - doesn't want to break up testimony. J - agrees, but when LB says that there are no other witnesses available today, J decides to not waste time and calls Greening for initial testimony.

Greening and Jury back in.

LB - Gerald Greening (GG) - he retired April '96. Took helicopter training in Niagara Falls. Had 2000 hours before returning to RCMP. Had been regular member for seven years before taking his helicopter training. Flown for last 17 years. Pilots used for support - search and rescue, transportation, surveillance. Left RCMP as a Staff Sgt.

Became involved in Gustafsen Lake in Aug. '95. On Aug. 19th, he flew Olfert and Porter to Williams Lake to make a news release of weapons found on two fishermen on the Fraser River. On return, they flew past Gustafsen Lake. On Aug. 24, he was requested by Olfert to do a surveillance on Gustafsen Lake with Forward Looking Infrared System (FLIR). This picks up heat differences and you can see people on the ground. This is also videotaped. Cst. Leatherdale operated the FLIR. Purpose of flight was to gather intelligence about the number of people in the camp and vehicles. Difference between FLIR and regular video is that black and white monitor picks up these heat images and is then recorded on a VCR.

Left at 6:30 in the morning from Kamloops. 45 minute flight to Gustafsen Lake. Only plan was to do surveillance and to head back to Kamloops. Says the closer you get to subjects, the better. That day, they flew at 1500 feet. Aircraft was Bell Longranger - seats seven people. GG wore flight suit and helmet. Suit was fire retardant, but not bulletproof. Purpose of helmet is for safety. Leatherdale didn't wear helmet. There is a headset inside the helmet for communications. Headset cuts down on high pitched sounds, but allows you to hear other voices and sounds outside. Says he was only familiar with camp from flight on Aug. 19th.

Leatherdale began operating FLIR five minutes before getting to camp. Came from the East. Circled camp three times counterclockwise. Then went to farmhouse known as Percy's lease. They then returned to camp. He knew people were in camp, but concentrated on flying. First three passes at 1800 feet. After Percy's lease, went over east end of Gustafsen Lake and headed for main encampment area. Eighth of a mile away, he says there was gunfire from the ground. He told Leatherdale that they were taking fire and then headed out of the area. Familiar with gunfire from hunting as a kid, plus working in the RCMP. He has also flown over ERT squads firing below, as well as when he has taken shooters out to kill wounded animals.

Says gunfire he heard was similar to when he has flown over ERT firing. Estimates 20-25 rounds fired. Weapons appeared to be semi-automatic fire because of rate of fire. Figures there was more than one weapon firing. Both weapons sounded the same. Says after he heard fire, he turned and climbed and when he got away, the firing stopped. Says that the firing was coming from beneath him. Says the helmet didn't deter from being able to hear the gunfire and in fact assisted because it took away the high-pitched sound of the helicopter engine and transmission.

Upon hearing fire, he increased the pitch of the blades to speed up blades and to climb.

Travelling at 60 knots (75 mph) at 1500 feet. This was quite slow. Normally they cruise at 110 knots, but this was too slow to get a good look around. He didn't hear any rounds hit his fuselage. He thinks he was definitely in range. Says that all of the parts of the helicopter are vulnerable. Hits to the engine, transmission or controls would have caused it to crash. He says he and Leatherdale were completely vulnerable. Exterior made up of thin aluminum and fibreglass.

After they veered away, they flew over Gustafsen Lake and looked back to see where the gunfire came from. Couldn't see anyone, but could see blue smoke in the area at the edge of the trees. Landed near Green Lake and checked for holes. Upon finding nothing, he continued his flight back to Kamloops. GG points out flight path on large aerial photograph. He shows that they flew rightalong roads to Percy's lease. From lease, he flew directly over lake to camp. In clearing south of camp he heard gunfire and then turned back towards lake. LB asks GG to go over a diagram he drew to show flight path. Diagram made exhibit and handed out to jury. GG outlines the features of the diagram. When he returned to Kamloops, he reported incident to Olfert. In the afternoon, around 5 or 6 p.m., he returned to camp, but this time he didn't circle camp. He did a figure-8 to the north of the camp. This time he was at 2000 feet because of morning gunfire. Chose different flight pattern because he thought he could get a better look at camp from the north than by going to the south. This time he thought he heard something that sounded like gunfire, but wasn't sure because of the extra altitude. Only heard three or four noises this time. He didn't alter his flight path though. A diagram of this flight made Ex. 198 and distributed to jury. GG describes flight path and marks diagram where he thought he heard gunfire. Wasn't below 2000 feet now and flying at about 60 knots.

Following flight, he returned to Kamloops, but didn't report suspected shooting until the next day. He gave verbal report to Olfert. Flew 8-10 times in the Gustafsen Lake area, but this time not over camp because they already had information from there and were now checking the outer perimeter of camp area. LB asks if GG has viewed a videotape and he says he has. J explains to jury that the video will be marked for identification, but it will not be made an exhibit at this time. GG explains that the flight of the helicopter that he viewed on the video was consistent with the flight he took on Aug. 24th. Says general area and fence were consistent with what he saw. So was speed and altitude.

L/ Without jury. LB says that Olfert's report was identical to GG's notes. MA states that for the record, Defense hasn't seen GG's original notes. Jury in. J tells jury that GW will be the designated hitter for the Defense. GW says "let's play ball."

GW - GG says that in first seven years with RCMP, he has had a lot of firearms training. GG is 52 years old. Agrees that being exposed to a lot of firing reduces your hearing ability but isn't aware of RCMP tending to have a hearing problem in the right ear. Agrees that he fired a lot of rifles on the force as well as from hunting. He had a hearing test to be able to fly.

Admits that he never saw anyone pointing a rifle at him during the morning incident. Agrees that at 1500 feet, you can see people, but not necessarily a rifle in their hands. He never did see a rifle, during either the morning or the afternoon flight.

On morning of Aug. 19, he flew to Williams Lake with Porter, Olfert and other RCMP members. Purpose was to have a news conference. Left just before noon. Went directly to Williams Lake, just past 100 Mile House to the west. In afternoon, Olfert told him to fly over Gustafsen Lake. He wasn't afraid. They flew just to the side of the camp. Didn't know that Fisheries had just flown over camp that day. Only has contact with Fisheries when they call police or police need them. He didn't see any roadblocks or any police presence in the area.

On Aug. 24, Olfert asked him to fly to Gustafsen Lake. Satisfied that order came from Olfert or someone close to him. He was directed to fly with FLIR to detect persons on the ground. GG isn't an expert, but understands that it detects heat. Can detect wild animals or people. Understands that FLIR works better in the morning when the ground is cool. He left Kamloops at 6:30 a.m., but admits it may have been 6:15. He disagrees that he left at 5:30. He has no notes to support this. Says that he filed a plan with Department of Transport so this time could be confirmed. Says it was a nice day. Clear day for flying. The sun was out. Says there was no mist in the Gustafsen Lake area. No one ordered him to circle three times. He knew that there was an encampment there and he knew that a shooting had been reported earlier. When he flew over, he saw people moving around the log cabin. Before the shots, he disagrees that the FLIR operator told him of two people on the ground. He says he learned this when he got back and reviewed the tapes. He says he didn't see any evidence of him being shot at on the tape. He admits that he spoke to Arthur Leatherdale right after he heard gunfire. Told him they were taking fire from the ground. When he heard gunfire, he hadn't seen anyone on the ground with weapons. He won't admit that he assumed that the gunfire was coming at him. He admits he saw no one firing at him or anyone with weapons pointing at him. "There is no assumption at all." He can't deny that someone on the ground was having target practice. He sees no reason why people would fire when he came near and stopped when he left. GW: "You can say no more than that you heard gunfire and reacted." GG: "Yes." Denies that Olfert and others had told him that the place was dangerous.

Agrees that he had trained with ERT members firing in St. John, Newfoundland in the 1980s about once a month. Can't think of any names of people he trained with. GW: "Is that because it didn't happen?" GG: "No, it's because it did happen." He never trained with the ERT from Kamloops. Denies that he heard a sound and reacted. Says he knew it was gunfire. Denies telling Leatherdale that he saw two people on the ground. Says he only saw two people when he reviewed tapes. GG asked Leatherdale if he had picked up anyone on the FLIR monitor, but Leatherdale told him he had circled too fast to notice. Saw enough blue smoke to fill half of the courtroom. Says that 308s and handguns will give off smoke. GW suggests that the last weapons to give off smoke was an old blunderblast. GG denies this saying that modern weapons will do the same.

GW asks J if he can read GG his statement, but J prefers that GW only suggest things. GG disagrees that he told Leatherdale that he saw two people on the ground. GG agrees that he has access to Kamloops communications, but says he didn't radio it in because he didn't want other people to know. GW asks why he didn't warn 100 Mile House. Says he had no reason. When he landed at Green Lake, he says there were no phones where he landed. He checked out the helicopter and flew back to Kamloops SubDivision. Landed around 9:30 a.m. Says he wasn't aware of shooting being aired on regional TV. Denies speaking to Montague. When asked if he can detect a gunshot at 1500 feet, he says very easily. Confirms that Bell Longranger isn't a unique helicopter and some models were used in Vietnam.

During afternoon of Aug. 24, he says he never saw any media footage of a helicopter incident. Agrees that there are a number of helicopter companies in the region. Knows that media isn't restricted from using helicopters. Can't deny that helicopter he saw on video wasn't a media helicopter.

Says that helicopter he saw on video flew in similar fashion that he flew. GW points out that how you fly depends on your intended purpose and GG agrees that if media wanted to get aerial footage of the camp, they'd need to fly in a similar pattern as the helicopter on the video. Doesn't know why media would be there after report of a helicopter being shot at. He's sure the helicopter he saw in the video was his despite not seeing any markings on aircraft. ST - GG says that the last experience he had with semi-auto fire was in the late 1960s. Has never shot a weapon directly up. Agrees that someone firing from across a lake would have to point upwards somewhat to hit a target. Thinks that 308s, 30-30s could fire accurately upwards 1500 feet. ST figures out mathematically that bullet would have to travel 500 metres to hit the aircraft.

During afternoon, he didn't report shooting nor did he review FLIR footage because he wasn't "absolutely certain." He conversed a lot with Leatherdale, but conversations not recorded. Says he didn't call Kamloops because he didn't want people on scanners to hear of shooting.

GG says he was told of Aug. 19 press conference issues by someone, but was certain that it wasn't Olfert. He says he didn't hear of Aug. 18 "shooting" of police officer. He says he wasn't aware of danger of flying over camp. "You're always in danger." When he flew on Aug. 24, he wasn't aware that an officer had claimed he had been shot at on Aug. 18th. Had used FLIR only weeks before for search and rescue missions. Says when he flew from Percy's lease to camp in morning, he flew north.

AB/ ST cont'd with Greening - Says this is the first time that he knowingly came under fire being on the RCMP. Clarifies that the training he had in Newfoundland with ERT was not to test what it sounded like to be fired at. Finally admits that this is the first time he was fired on in 25 years. Agrees that he was excited when he heard shots. Says that he was over the land mass when he heard shots. Says two people were about 500 feet ahead of him and 1500 feet below when he began turning. Since this was a mission for Olfert, he agrees that he had to pay attention to detail of events.

He says he had the advantage of seeing the FLIR footage after the flight, but didn't discuss it with Leatherdale. No investigator ever came to him after the 24th to take a statement. Neither he nor Leatherdale were certain that there were two people on the ground until they looked at the FLIR footage.

He agrees he was surprised to see no heat source coming from two persons to indicate that they were shooting. Agrees that the time from hearing the sound of gunfire to taking evasive action was about three seconds. He says that FLIR doesn't necessarily indicate heat source of weapon because heat of body would cancel it out. GG says that he only said 25 shots were fired because he was being conservative.

He reviewed Aug. 24 statement with Crown Counsel this morning. ST notes that Olfert's initials are on copy. ST asks GG to read what it says about his approach. GG reads that he had stated that he was coming from the east. When asked about why there is a 90 degree difference, he says it's because he was heading in an easterly direction, not what his compass was saying. ST notes that there is no indication that GG's estimate of 20-25 shots was a conservative estimate. Figures it was closer to 35 shots. When asked if he wouldn't want to be accurate when reporting to a Supt., GG says the 10 shot difference wasn't important.

DC - In afternoon of Aug. 24, GG heard noises that were the same that he heard in the morning. Agrees that there is a lot of noise inside a helicopter. He says that external noises are increased in an RCMP helicopter because noise baffles are removed to increase the payload. GG claims that you can hear a passenger in the next seat fine. Denies that you need an intercom to hear people inside. Says he only uses the helmet to protect his head, not his ears. He was convinced he heard gunfire, but smoke wasn't crucial to this conviction. He is convinced that the two people seen were captured by the FLIR, but there was no muzzle flash or heat. Regarding search and rescue missions, he didn't expect gunfire in those conditions. At Gustafsen Lake, he was aware that there might be gunfire in his direction because of reports of weapons in the camp. When it is suggested that he was overly sensitive to gunfire knowing this, he says, "no sir."

JF - Next witness (#26): Cst. Arthur Raymond Leatherdale (AL) - on force for 12 years, working in Vancouver for support services. In Aug. '95, he was asked to go to Gustafsen Lake to be a FLIR operator. Says this is a thermal imaging system that detects heat in various degradations. People or animals would stand out on the black screen making them easy to identify. He watches it like a TV in the back of the helicopter. The sensor is mounted underneath the helicopter. He has a joystick to direct sensor. You can record this on VHS tape. Usual purpose is for search and rescue because it's easy to see people in the bush. He's taken several courses on operating FLIR. He's had about 100 hours in the last year.

First at Gustafsen Lake area a few days before Aug. 24. That day he was with Greening. He was to survey campsite early in the morning. Monitor like a 12" TV with a metal hood to keep sunlight out. No other special equipment except headsets he wears. Says it's noisier in rear than up front because of transmission above. Says if he yelled directly behind Greening's head, he might be heard. Left at 5:30 a.m. or so. Flew directly to Gustafsen Lake. Took him 40-45 minutes. Clear conditions. Cool conditions ideal because body would show up better because of vast temperature difference. Says there is a pre-cooling period required before operating, which is what he did. They got to Gustafsen Lake and circled the lake. Observed some people in the camp, a dog, cattle and horses. After they circled a few times, he could see people moving away from the camp area. Then they checked out log cabin (Percy's lease) across lake as well as a parked pick-up truck. Says he isn't totally sure of flight path of aircraft because he can point sensor all over the place. There are two views available. They leave it at wide until they spot something, then they zoom in if they see anything. During this he would occasionally turn away from monitor, but tended to keep to monitor. Says on the screen, there are indicators to show which direction he is pointing and what elevation they are at.

   * Monday, September 2 - holiday (no court)   * Day 32: Thursday, September 5
   * Day 30: Tuesday, September 3               * Day 33: Friday, September 6 
   * Day 31: Wednesday, September 4