Toronto Sun

Friday, November 9, 2001

'System failed Gillian'

'Hopefully, someone would have seen what I saw,' inquest told

By SARAH GREEN, TORONTO SUN

A vigilant justice system could have prevented Gillian Hadley's death at the hands of her estranged husband, a coroner's inquest heard yesterday.

Durham Police Const. Cheryl Carter said Hadley should not have been released on bail Feb. 28, 2000 after his second arrest in two months for assaulting, then stalking his wife.

"I think Ralph Hadley should have been detained -- a (psychiatric) assessment made," Carter said during cross-examination by Geri Sanson, lawyer for the Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Housing. "Hopefully, someone would have seen what I saw."

"Would you agree the justice system seriously failed Gillian Hadley and her family in this case?" Sanson later asked.

"Yes," Carter replied.

In court documents prepared for Hadley's bail hearing on charges of criminal harassment and breaching court orders, Carter warned "he will absolutely reoffend and possibly with dire consequences."

There was evidence in Hadley's court brief to show this domestic violence case was "potentially lethal," Carter agreed.

Hadley, 34, murdered Gillian, 34, in her Pickering home on June 20, 2000 before taking his own life.

Hadley was charged with assaulting Gillian on Jan. 7 and ordered to stay away from his wife. At the time, Hadley was on a peace bond after a charge of injuring his disabled stepson was withdrawn.

During earlier questioning by Tom Marshall, lawyer for the attorney general, Carter said Hadley would have likely received little jail time because he had no criminal record and the case would have had the same tragic outcome.

"There was an inevitability to this case," Marshall asked.

"To this specific case, yes," Carter said.

"Could it have been prevented?" Marshall asked.

"Yes," Carter said.

"He needed to get serious intervention for his distorted behaviour."

Copyright © 2001, Canoe Limited Partnership.