WARNING: This story contains disturbing content. Discretion is strongly advised.
The words of a Grade 12 student who was kidnapped and repeatedly raped by Calgary brothers Cody and Corey Manyshots will not be heard—at least not in open court.
The Crown prosecutor made the request to read the statement on behalf of the victim Tuesday. One defence lawyer took no position, while the other objected.
The judge’s denial of the request has prompted backlash against the decision.
“That is so upsetting,” executive director of Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse Danielle Aubry said.
“It is so concerning that a judge would have that lack of consideration for someone who has been victimized in this way. That is just so disgraceful and totally, totally insensitive.”
In November 2014, the brothers kidnapped the 17-year-old girl from a northeast Calgary bus stop. For the next eight hours, they took turns raping and sodomizing her.
Watch below: Global’s past coverage of the Manyshots brothers’ case
Calgary judge refuses to hear victim impact statement at hearing for Manyshots brothers
Calgary judge refuses to hear victim impact statement at hearing for Manyshots brothers
Manyshots brothers admit to kidnap and repeated rape of Calgary teen
Bail denied for Manyshots brothers
Bail hearing rescheduled for Manyshots brothers
Manyshots brothers’ sentencing delayed for kidnap, rape of Calgary teen
Manyshots brothers admit to kidnap and repeated rape of Calgary teen
The impact on the girl has been devastating, life-changing.
READ MORE: Manyshots brothers admit to kidnap and repeated rape of Calgary teen
For those who have been sexually abused themselves, and know firsthand the importance of victim impact statements, the ruling was a shock.
“It gave me a voice. I can tell you I was 28 and I was very scared,” sexual abuse victim Sheldon Kennedy said. “That fear is real and that impact is real, and we wonder why sometimes the victim may not want to read their impact statement and it’s because they can’t.”
READ MORE: Bail denied for Manyshots brothers accused of kidnapping and sexual assault
Hundreds of people have taken to social media to express their disgust with the decision.
Many are wondering why the common practice of having the Crown read the victim’s statement was denied in this case.
The law allows victim impact statements to be read by someone else, including the prosecution, but it is at the judge’s discretion.
Defence lawyer Balfour Der says provincial court Judge Terry Semenuk did nothing wrong.
“The purpose, and I repeat, the purpose of this victim impact statement is to allow the judge to know how this has impacted the victim. The judge in this case knows it because it’s been marked as an exhibit…the important thing is not that you all in the public get to hear what the victim has to say, that’s not what the Criminal Code section is for,” Der said.
He added the point of the statements isn’t to punish the accused.
But victim’s advocates say it’s critical the statements are read out and are calling on increased accountability for judges.
“The victim has a right to tell a person or people how they were impacted by this crime. That’s why we have victim impact statements,” Aubry said.
Alberta Justice declined to comment on the matter Wednesday as it remains before the court.
A date has yet to be set for the continuation of the sentencing hearing.
A simple act of random kindness has inspired a Halifax man to encourage others to be kind to one another.
Paul LeBlanc runs an advertising firm. On his way into work one day he heard the story about Matthew Jackson. LeBlanc says it motivated him to pay it forward.
“This man who lived the life the way he did, and did so many nice things for so many people, affected people all around the world and not just hearsay, not just with a nice rant. I actually built a company out of it because I believe the world needs it,” LeBlanc tells Global News.
READ MORE: Man dies 24 hours after paying $200 grocery bill for stranger
In honour of Jackson’s memory, LeBlanc along with his business partner launched the Be Human Campaign, a clothing company that fashions t-shirts, hats, and sweatshirt with the slogan “behuman” to encourage people to engage in acts of kindness towards one another.
“It’s not always about spending money, hold the door and say please and thank you… send an unsolicited note to somebody you know is going through a hard time and just tell them you are thinking about them. The hope is that when people are wearing this brand they will feel some responsibility or obligation to it.”
Jackson just wanted to help others. Last year, Global News brought you Jackson’s story about how he helped an Ontario woman living in California by paying for her $200 grocery bill. He tragically died in a car accident one day later, and the brief encounter sparked a social media movement.
Matthew Jackson died less than 24 hours after paying a $200-plus grocery bill for a complete stranger. Handout
Matthew Jackson died less than 24 hours after paying a $200-plus grocery bill for a complete stranger.
Jamie-Lynne Knighten says all he asked her to do in return was pay it forward.
It’s a request she has kept alive and strong to this day. Sadly, the same afternoon Knighten met Matthew he was killed in the accident. To honour his memory and to keep paying it forward, Knighten started a Facebook page called Matthew’s Legacy.
“There is a lot of negativity so to see just tiny little bits of positivity come through via his story and on the Facebook page it is just amazing,” Knighten says.
Since LeBlanc launched the Be Human Campaign, he, Knighten, and Jackson’s family have all connected. They carry the same purpose —; to bring more good to the world the same way Jackson did.
“He loved to express his love for me and for his friends and let everybody know how much he loved me, and so he was special, he was very special. He was full of so much joy and I imagine him just laughing and just saying oh my gosh this is awesome, this is so awesome,” LeeAnn Krymow, Jackson’s mother, tells Global News.
Krymow says Jackson used to tell his friends who were going through hard times, “there is purpose in your pain, you are going to use this for good.” Krymow says since her son’s death she has received dozens of messages from people telling her how Jackson’s story has inspired them to help others, making the pain of his loss a little more bearable.
“People would tell me how they live life differently now, they see things differently, and they look opportunity, to express kindness… where they maybe would not have done that before.”
A portion of the proceeds from the Be Human Campaign clothing will go towards what is being referred to as a “random act of love” given to any one or organization who has paid it forward —; keeping Matthew’s legacy alive and perhaps allowing people to focus more on the good.
WATCH: The mother of Matthew Jackson tells Global News her son wanted everyone to know they were loved. She said the global reaction to her son’s act of kindness before his untimely death has been “bittersweet.” Angie Seth reports.
The Saskatoon Health Region announced plans to cut $34 million in costs by implementing a hiring freeze and by allowing current employees to apply for vacant positions.
The region ended the 2015-16 fiscal year with a $35.7 million deficit.
READ MORE: Many concerned about upcoming Saskatoon Health Region cuts
How to avoid medical errors by becoming your own health advocate
Saskatchewan’s high First Nations HIV numbers in the global spotlight
“The only target is balanced,” said the health region’s CEO, Dan Florizone. “What we’re saying today is, it’s going to be a big challenge.”
The hiring freeze would be specific to external job applicants with the exception of “hard to recruit areas,” Florizone said.
Last November, officials warned of possible layoffs to balance the health region’s budget.
“Our objectives are to minimize layoffs and if we could avoid them altogether, we will be doing that,” Florizone said.
READ MORE: Saskatoon Health Region to slash jobs to offset $45 million deficit
About 78 per cent of the region’s expenses are related to salaries and benefits, according to a news release.
The health region reported a $2.7 million average monthly gap between expenses and revenues in the first quarter of the 2016-17 fiscal year.
The average monthly gap in the first three quarters of 2015-16 was $5 million.
Officials will present the budget for the Saskatoon Health Region at a board meeting in September.
View this document on Scribd
On a hot summer day, public fountains provide a perfect way for parched Edmontonians to rehydrate and recharge while they’re on the go.
But it turns out, the city has capped off 20 of Edmonton’s 78 water fountains this summer.
According to the city, the reason for fountains going dry is concern about the safety of the water.
A photo of a closed public water fountain in Edmonton’s Victoria Park on July 27, 2016. Global News
A photo of a closed public water fountain in Edmonton’s Victoria Park on July 27, 2016.
In an email to Global News, a City of Edmonton spokesperson said the water quality concerns came about as a result of “infrequent use of the fountains” that results in stagnant water. They also said the stagnant water makes it difficult to maintain “an acceptable level of chlorine in the water.”
Officials said fountains near Victoria Park, Rundle Park and Hawrelak Park are most vulnerable to the stagnant water issue.
Another city official told Global News the problem is compounded by ongoing construction in Edmonton’s River Valley. There is concern about pipes that fill the fountains sitting stagnant as well as rust in the infrastructure.
According to the city, the issue is being addressed by installing new fountains, aiming to put water sources closer to fountains, or putting fountains in public buildings near problem fountains.
A public water fountain is drained in Hawrelak Park so it can be filled with clean water in time for the Heritage Festival. July 27, 2016. Global News
A public water fountain is drained in Hawrelak Park so it can be filled with clean water in time for the Heritage Festival. July 27, 2016.
On Wednesday, the city was draining serveral water fountains in Hawrelak Park so they could be filled with clean water in time for the Heritage Festival this weekend.
The city said some fountains may have to remain out of service indefinitely.
A public water fountain in Hawrelak Park is shown. Global News
A public water fountain in Hawrelak Park is shown.
-With files from Kent Morrison & Ted Bauer, Global News
Water worries: why Edmonton’s tap water seems a bit ‘off’
Chlorine shuts off Edmonton waterfall
Edmonton city council scraps plan for Hawrelak Park water feature
A new car-sharing app has come to Calgary in an effort to put parked cars to good use and allow residents to make some extra cash.
Dubbed the AirBnB of car rentals, the U.S.-based app Turo started business in the city April 19.
READ MORE: Turo launches in Canada, lets people rent out their vehicles
The app allows owners of vehicles to lend out their cars to pre-approved travelers.
It’s something that’s made a difference for one Calgary driver who recently lost his job.
“It’s bringing in about $600 a month,” said Calgary driver Ryan McCourt. “So that more or less covers the cost of the car, and being laid off, any extra bit helps.”
READ MORE: Does Canada need a women-only ride-share service?
The average price to rent a vehicle through Turo is typically 30 per cent cheaper than traditional car rentals, with some options in Calgary currently as low as $28 a day.
“To make sure that the experience is a safe experience we screen every traveller on the platform,” said Cedric Mathieu, head of Canadian operations for Turo. “We verify people’s identity, we verify their age, their driver’s licence. We also analyze the risk, and based on that we make an eligibility decision.”
Turo also covers the cars with their own commercial insurance through Intact Insurance and belairdirect. The insurance includes $2-million third party liability, up to $75,000 in physical damage repair, and 24-hour roadside assistance.
If an accident happens while the car is being rented out, Turo’s commercial insurance will cover the claim instead of the personal insurance of the car owner.
Turo is still working on bringing other Canadian insurance companies on board with the car-sharing app, so vehicle owners won’t have to deal with increased premiums to stay covered.
Membership is free for all travelers and car owners.
Currently Turo is in Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec, and will continue to expand nationwide. Founded in 2009, it now operates in over 2,500 cities across the continent.
NEW YORK – Florida health officials are investigating two more mysterious cases of Zika infection that do not appear to be related to travel, bringing the total to four.
The cases have raised the possibility that mosquitoes in the U.S. have begun to spread the virus. Florida officials say they are still looking into the cases and have not come to a conclusion.
The four cases are in neighbouring Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
Florida health officials probe 1st possible Zika case from Miami mosquito bite
Zika virus: Any kind of unprotected sex can spread the disease, health officials warn
How does Zika spread? Utah infection raises new questions
Zika virus: Scientists map mom to fetus transmission in 1st detailed explanation
The cases fit a similar pattern seen when mosquito-borne clusters of two other tropical infections, dengue fever and chikungunya, occurred in Florida in the past, according to Tom Skinner, a spokesman for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
READ MORE: These are the tell-tale symptoms of Zika virus, according to a new case study
“Evidence is mounting which points to local transmission via mosquitoes,” he said of the Florida cases.
The virus is mainly spread by mosquitoes, as well as sex. So far, the 1,400 infections reported in the U.S. have been linked to travel to countries with Zika outbreaks in Latin America or the Caribbean.
Zika causes only a mild illness in most people. But scientists recently confirmed that infection during pregnancy can lead to severe brain-related birth defects.
READ MORE: Here’s what Zika virus symptoms look like in pregnant women
The tropical mosquito that spreads Zika and other viruses is also found in the southern U.S. Health officials have predicted that mosquitoes in the U.S. would begin spreading Zika this summer and have mobilized to keep it from spreading beyond isolated clusters.
A Penticton widow is sharing her devastating story in hopes it will warn drivers not to text behind the wheel.
Linda Ruby’s husband of 44 years, Eric, was just five weeks shy of retiring when he was killed by a distracted driver.
On March 11, 2016, the pair was cycling in Mazatlan, Mexico when both the driver and passenger had their eyes glued to their phones.
“I watched him getting killed and I could count the seconds. It was so slow. When he was in the air, I knew he was dead,” she said.
“[He] didn’t brake. [He] didn’t swerve. He did not know we were there. He was too busy texting.”
Ruby held onto her husband’s hand for five hours, sitting in devastation on the pavement as officials took evidence.
“I didn’t want to let go because it would be the last time I’d feel him warm,” she said.
The young man who killed her husband won’t be sent behind bars because in Mexico, the victim and their family can choose to pursue charges.
Ruby said the driver had stopped and eventually returned to the scene, admitting his guilt.
She said neither she nor her husband would want to ruin another life.
Eric was a founding member of the Rotary Club in Penticton. Last summer, the pair walked along Main Street informing people of the nearby car show.
On Saturday, instead of directing passersby to the show and shine, she’ll be informing people about the fatal consequences of driver inattention.
“Nobody has the right to take another life. When my kids were learning to drive a car, Eric and I taught them it was a loaded gun and it’s still a loaded gun, only now it has more ammunition in it.”
Lethbridge police have charged a 40-year-old man in connection to the death of a nine-month-old boy earlier this year.
EMS were called to a home in the 600 block of 17 Street North on April 28 for reports of a baby in medical distress. When they arrived, paramedics found nine-month-old Austin Wright in cardiac arrest. The child was rushed to hospital where he later died.
On Monday, nearly three months after he died, Wright’s death was declared a homicide.
Nine-month-old Austin Lucas Wright died in April 2016. Credit: gonebutnotforgotten长沙夜网
Nine-month-old Austin Lucas Wright died in April 2016.
Lethbridge police investigate homicide of 9-month-old baby
Lethbridge baby died at 9 months of blunt force trauma ‘not consistent with a fall’
Police said Wright had been left in the care of his mother’s boyfriend while she went to work.
“While in the man’s care the baby began crying and was subsequently assaulted sustaining extensive, life-threatening injuries,” Lethbridge police said in a news release.
“The male initially reported to police that Austin had just stopped breathing but an autopsy determined the little boy died as a result of blunt force trauma not consistent with a fall.”
READ MORE: Lethbridge baby died at 9 months of blunt force trauma ‘not consistent with a fall’
On Thursday, police announced Tyler Brian Hogan was charged with one count of second-degree murder. He was arrested without incident on Wednesday.
OTTAWA – Calls for changes to police training are getting louder after Abdirahman Abdi, a mentally-ill Ottawa man, died in the wake of a confrontation with police this week.
Abdi, 37, died on Monday after an arrest that witnesses described as violent.
Abdirahman Abdi depressed, unemployed before confrontation with Ottawa police: former boss
Muslim group wants to know if racism played role in death of Ottawa man after arrest
Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the province’s police watchdog, is now probing the actions of two Ottawa Police officers. Global News has learned the officers are Const. David Weir and Const. Daniel Montsion.
READ MORE: New video shows aftermath of Abdirahman Abdi arrest
Neither officer is has been charged. Ottawa Police Service confirmed to Global News the two officers are still on the job and there has been “no change to their status.”
But Kash Heed, a former B.C. police chief, said the incident underscores that police forces need to start doing what they are saying when it comes to crisis intervention.
“We have police leaders all across Canada, and elsewhere in North America, talking about crisis intervention,” said Heed, who also served as B.C.’s solicitor-general.
“Unfortunately, at times, those are just words that don’t necessarily lead to action or training. So, the officers still resort to their use of force.”
There are several videos online showing the aftermath of the confrontation, including a bloodied and unconscious Abdi lying on the ground.
WATCH: Graphic footage shows aftermath of Ottawa Police confrontation with Abdirahman Abdi
Heed called those images concerning.
“I don’t see any weapon utilized by the suspect. I don’t know if there was a weapon. We’ll find out later,” he said. “But given what I’ve read on this particular incident and what I’ve reviewed, I don’t see the circumstances where the officers safety was in jeopardy.”
Heed said it’s time training is updated to say the number one priority is crisis intervention, followed by the safety for the officers and the individual, not the use of force.
And he’s not alone in calling for changes.
Ontario ombudsman Paul Dube launched a probe into provincial guidelines on police use of force after Toronto teenager Sammy Yatim was shot by an officer on a streetcar in 2013.
His scathing report, released just weeks ago, called for more training on de-escalating tense situations.
“The more skills, the better training that police have on de-escalation, when they come into contact with a person in crisis, I think the better odds are that the outcome will not be fatal,” Dube told Global News Wednesday.
Dube said yelling commands and drawing weapons won’t work when dealing with someone in a crisis stemming from mental illness or drugs.
WATCH: Video shows paramedics attending to man who died following Ottawa police arrest
But the police union defends the use of force as necessary to ensure public safety.
Back in 2014, Ottawa police implemented new training for de-escalating crisis cases, a program developed in B.C.
Whether the officers involved in this incident received that training is still unclear.
READ MORE: Muslim group wants to know if racism played role in death of Ottawa man after arrest
The police union has also been calling for body cameras for their members, something that could help piece together what happened, but the force is not considering that.
Probing questions permeated an emotional vigil for Abdi held Wednesday night, where the anger and grief was still raw.
“He couldn’t speak for himself. It’s just sad and we want to support the family,” said one mourner.
“What happened? How did that altercation turn out the way it did?” Ottawa City Coucillor Jeff Lieper asked at the vigil. “Right now, I don’t have nearly enough facts to know.”
Abdi will be laid to rest in a funeral on Friday, as the SIU continues its search for the answers still haunting the community.
Nearly 100 people gathered Wednesday afternoon for the third-annual memorial walk to remember children who died at a Regina residential school.
The yearly walk was organized by the three groups, the Regina Indian Industrial School (R.I.I.S) Commemorative Association, Saskatchewan Missing and RIIS Media Project.
Nearly 100 ppl partake in 3rd annual Memorial Walk for children who died @ the Regina Indian Industrial School #yqr pic.twitter长沙桑拿/AosdO4nTg2
— Brandon Gonez (@brandongonez) July 27, 2016
According to R.I.I.S., the Regina Indian Industrial School was shut down in 1910 after operating for 20 years.
READ MORE: Residential schools subjected students to disease, abuse, experiments: TRC report
Janine Windolph, president of the association, said upwards of 40 children may be buried in unmarked graves on the site located on the western edge of the city.
Windolph said this year’s walk has been the largest yet, but also said the next goal is to get a historical designation.
“We really need the community letters to come in to show that this is something coming from the community,” she explained.
“Part of what we wanted to do with this walk was to make sure that we remind people that they have a position and a place that they can contribute to the larger story.”
Also in attendance was federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Mayor Michael Fougere.
Both men highlighted the significance of the site and its symbol in reference to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s report.
Fougere also said the city is working to grant the site a municipal heritage designation.
“We are participating in the committee that is overseeing this and we are pleased to do that and we look forward to making this more of a sacred ground.”