Snyder says His Investigation was Thorough

May 16, 2008

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A criminal probe into allegations a retired Cornwall police chief obstructed his son's sexual abuse investigation was designed to exonerate the man, a lawyer at the Cornwall Public Inquiry put to the city officer who headed the probe.

Dallas Lee, an attorney for the Victims Group, suggested that Staff Sgt. Brian Snyder "took it easy" on the Cornwall Police Service officers who investigated allegations against Earl Landry Jr. in 1985.

"Is it possible you took it easy on them, sir?" asked Lee. "Is it possible you just went through the motions a little bit on this investigation?"

Snyder's seven-month investigation in 2000 and 2001 uncovered no evidence that Earl Landry Sr. tried to interfere with the case against his son, a custodian at King George Park.

Police arrested Landry Jr. in 1985 after a pre-teen boy, known as C-51, accused him of fondling him at the park. Landry Jr. had originally been wiling to take a polygraph test - until his father called police the next day and said the offer was off the table.

Without a confession, and facing concerns about the boy's intellectual ability to testify, police released Landry Jr. without laying a charge.

Landry Jr. confessed 12 years later to abusing five boys, including C-51.

He pleaded guilty in 1999.

Snyder denied Lee's arguments that his investigation was neither "complete" nor "thorough." He testified both yesterday and Wednesday that he never found direct evidence that Landry Sr. - who was chief from 1974 to 1984 - obstructed justice.

Lee suggested Snyder should have looked closer at the CPS officers in charge of the Landry Jr. investigation, and whether they might have voluntarily mishandled the case without a direct order from Landry Sr.

He asked Snyder if he showed lead investigator Ron Lefebvre a letter from an Ottawa doctor that seemed to show C-51 talking clearly about his abuse.

There was nothing in the letter, said Lee, that suggested C-51 was mentally incapable of telling his story.

"I didn't put this letter to (Lefebvre), if that's what you're asking," Snyder told Lee.

"Then why not?" asked commissioner Normand Glaude.

"I don't know, sir," said Snyder.

Lee also asked if Snyder thought Anthony Repa, the CPS chief in 2000, should have approached an outside force to investigate Landry Sr.

"The chief got it wrong, sir, is going to be the position we take at the end of the day," said Lee. "I want to know what you think."

"I felt comfortable doing it," Snyder responded.

In addition to investigating Landry Sr., Snyder also laid the sexual abuse charges in 1997 that led to his son's conviction. Snyder also investigated and charged former teacher Marcel Lalonde, another convicted abuser who has been frequently brought up at the inquiry.

CPS attorney John Callaghan took Snyder step-by-step through those two investigations in an attempt to show the thoroughness of the 29-year veteran's police work.

The time-consuming process - as Callaghan willingly admitted - led to objections from commission counsel that no one was doubting Snyder performed "excellent" work during the two investigations.

Callaghan said the exercise was necessary so the public would know Snyder didn't take his job lightly.

"I'm going to suggest at the end of the day - and maybe you should close your ears, officer - that this is a good officer that was diligent," Callaghan told Glaude.

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