(This column was published in the North
Shore News on Mar. 29, 2000)
heroes in distraught man's crash
By Leo Knight
happens to a physician who fondles and masturbates two young
boys in his care?
no-brainer you'd think.
convicted, defrocked and locked up would seem to be the
week in Nova Scotia, a judge of the provincial court dismissed
charges of sexual interference against Dr. William Michael
Christie using some pretty incredible logic. The judge said the
doctor had explained that masturbation of the two brothers was
actually part of the medical treatment, albeit unconventional,
and so, who was he to suggest that wasn't so.
his ruling, Judge John MacDougall said, "If Dr. Christie
conducted his examination for medical purposes, regardless of
whether it conformed in every respect with the procedures and
protocols, then it is not an assault."
Well, yes, but unfortunately true.
about the ramifications of MacDougall's decision. A doctor, any
doctor, who wants to take advantage of his position and sexually
abuse a patient need only claim it is part of the medical
treatment and he's off scot-free.
Crown prosecutors chose to ignore the judge's decision in the
preliminary hearing and have since refiled the charges by way of
direct indictment against the doctor. Christie will get his day
in court to try to explain his thinking in defence of the
the meantime the College of Physicians and Surgeons is examining
the case to try to decide what their reaction should be.
Let me give them a hint. Suspend him immediately from the rolls. He admitted masturbating the boys (in one case repeatedly) and claimed it was merely unconventional medical treatment. A claim, I might add, absolutely refuted by the head of family medicine at the University of Dalhousie, who testified at the preliminary.
said there was absolutely no medical justification to touch the
boys' genitals in the manner described.
wonders what they have to consider.
by cop" is not a new phenomenon, but last week's chase
through the streets of West Vancouver brought an apparent new
it's most common, a distraught person will force a confrontation
with the police and ultimately, his death at the hands of a cop
with no other choice.
individual who chose to entice the police into a high-speed
pursuit to apparently achieve the same aim caused the events of
the early hours of the morning, at least three attempts were
made by the driver to get the West Van officers to chase him.
The red Ford Probe was a familiar vehicle to the officers and
the decision was made not to chase the vehicle.
his behaviour became more and more dangerous and they had to try
to stop him before some innocent bystander was killed. They
enlisted the assistance of North Vancouver RCMP and tried to
corral the man in the parking lot of Park Royal shopping centre.
they didn't anticipate was his determination to kill himself.
Just prior to the Mounties arriving on the scene, they were
advised the vehicle had crashed into a pole. With both the
Mounties and West Van cops on the scene, the man was still
alive, but trapped in the twisted metal of what was left of the
the car erupted in fire. The police officers leapt into action.
Some deploying fire extinguishers to try to control the blaze
while North Van Sgt. Colin Worth and his crew, ignoring their
own safety, worked to extricate the badly injured man from the
police report describes the events and the officers' heroism:
driver was pinned underneath the dashboard, with his torso
across the dash towards the passenger side. He was not wearing a
seat belt and the steering wheel had been crushed in a manner
that would indicate his chest took the brunt of the impact. The
driver's mouth was open and only one tooth was visible amidst a
large amount of blood and tissue."
doors of the vehicle had been jammed shut on impact and the
window on the driver's side was open. Members were able to reach
inside and release the seat back of the driver's seat in order
to provide room to remove him. The rear window of the hatchback
was smashed out and members crawled into the car and were then
able to remove the driver through the rear area."
driver was carried to the sidewalk some distance from the still
burning car and stabilized for the arrival of the ambulance
are a few important things to note about all this. In the first
place, contrary to what Premier Ujjal Dosanjh thinks, the police
do not head off looking to get into a high-speed pursuit. The
officers on duty on March 19 in West Vancouver did everything
they could not to get involved in a chase with this man.
he was contained in the parkade he drove his vehicle directly
into a cement pillar at a high rate of speed. There were no skid
marks and no attempt to evade the collision was made.
police officers involved risked their very lives to prevent one
man's death despite his apparent desire to die. To date he is
still alive, thanks in no small part to the efforts of a few
brave police officers.
when (and if) he recovers, he'll get the help he needs and make
good on the second chance Sgt. Worth and his squad gave him.
maybe Premier Dosanjh will finally recognize that it is the
people who instigate the chases, putting themselves and others
at risk when they decide to run from law enforcement, who
deserve to be held accountable for their actions.
The police are not the bad guys.