January 16, 2001
Thank heaven for tape recordersBy LICIA CORBELLA -- Calgary Sun
So now, apparently, I "attacked" Clayton Giles.
That's what it says on the 14-year-old hunger striker's website.
Many of you who e-mailed me (210 and counting) believed this account.
All I can say is, thank heavens for tape recorders.
I taped my entire conversation on Friday with Clayton's father, Eric Giles, and his son because after I more fully read through the three boxes of court documents regarding Eric Giles' divorce from his wife Marnie Harrison, I recognized what kind of a person I was dealing with.
On Friday, I spent hours going over the court files pertaining to Eric Giles.
What I saw there was very disturbing. It's important to point out that the stuff I thought was so disturbing was not written by others but by Eric Giles himself.
So, after writing two columns on Wednesday and Thursday last week for their "side," as Eric Giles called it, I realized my columns painted an incorrect picture of this sad debacle.
On Saturday, I corrected that.
I still do believe that some of the concerns of Clayton Giles are valid. I do think children should be listened to more by the courts. I also do believe that a bias exists against fathers in family court, but I know that's definitely not the case here.
This is what happened.
On Friday, I first spoke with Eric, 54.
I asked him to remove a lie they had on their website referring to me, and he said that he would.
Then I asked him about some of the things I saw in the files -- really disgusting claims he made in his own writing which he filed with the courts -- things so hurtful and damaging to the children, that I would never write them. He did, though, and what's more, in one case, he had hoped that he was going to receive national media attention on this claim.
After speaking to Eric Giles for a while, way down the block and away from Clayton, I walked over to Clayton, who knew me from the times I had interviewed him before.
He smiled at me as I approached, because, as he said on his website, he really liked me and I was "really nice."
I asked him how he was feeling.
I told him how his dad had agreed to take the untruth about me and the Sun off their website and Clayton said, "no problem."
Then I told him I had done some more research on this case and my views had changed 180 degrees.
I gave him a copy of a Reasons for Judgment that I thought he should read.
It had nothing in it that would be harmful to him, but I thought it would help him get a better understanding of this sad case.
I told him that my guess was his father wouldn't let him read it.
And I was right.
His dad took it away from him.
I also told Clayton that I hoped when he was older, he would go through his parents' court files, like I had done, and then he would have a more full understanding of the truth.
"Don't be so hard on your mom," I said to him. "She's been through a lot."
He nodded at me.
I wished Clayton well. I told him that I hope he ends his hunger strike soon and that I wish him every blessing in his life.
I then went back and asked his father how much child support he has paid for the maintenance of his two children in the past 11 years. I already knew the answer from the files.
He said a couple of thousands of dollars and something about a $200 dress he once bought his daughter Lindsay -- the equivalent of about 25 cents a day per child. I then left.
Later that night, I phoned Clayton, chatted with him again, and he removed the item that was untrue from the website.
His parting words were: "See you later."
The next day my corrective column appeared in the Sun.
Clayton now says in his journal, that: He "was very cold and hungry" and that I "scared" him badly.
"I was very upset by the time she finished attacking me even though I didn't understand what she wanted."
Licia Corbella, editor of the Calgary Sun, can be reached at 403-250-4129 or by e-mail at email@example.com. Her columns appear Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
Letters to the editor should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2001, Canoe Limited Partnership.