Will justice be done?

STEVE SIMMONS -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 12:44 AM ET

NAPANEE -- The disturbing case against David Frost has turned into a legal game of political hot potato with his case being passed from Crown Attorney to Crown Attorney -- its status again in limbo.

At issue now, the matter to be determined by Mr. Justice G. Jeffrey Griffin, is whether the multiple sexual exploitation cases against Frost ever will get to court at all.

"I've never been involved with a case that took so long to determine whether there was a reasonable possibility of conviction," Justice Griffin said in a near-empty court room yesterday. "... Something's rotten in the State of Denmark."

Something always seems wrong when it involves Frost, the eerie hockey coach turned player agent, who seems forever mired in controversy. This time, though, the controversy may involve the justice system -- and it may result in justice for no one.

Since Frost was first charged in August of 2006, after a lengthy OPP investigation, the Crown Attorney's office in varying jurisdictions has treated this case uncomfortably. In all, six different attorneys have been lead prosecutor in the case in less than two years, the matter passing from small-town Napanee to large offices in Toronto, with opinions diverse and divided as to how to proceed.

Yesterday, two of Frost's former attorneys testified that one Crown Attorney, Lee Burgess, had concluded there was no reasonable prospect of conviction in this case and recommended that all charges be dropped.

Instead, after putting his views in writing, Burgess was dropped from the case in November of 2007. The matter was then moved out of Eastern Ontario to a Senior Crown in Toronto, where Ken Campbell has taken an opposing view of the multiple charges against Frost.

"We think the case is dead in the water," said Michael Edelson, who represented Frost from 2001 to last November and won't say why he doesn't represent him anymore.

Edelson, and his colleague Vincent Clifford, both testified yesterday that all the Crown substitutions and permutations resulted in the case being delayed beyond a reasonable time frame. Crown Attorney Jay Naster made sharp points in cross examination, blaming the delays as much on Edelson, Crawford and their busy schedules as on anything to do with the way the Crowns have played musical chairs with the case.

That is the difficulty for Mr. Justice Griffin. There almost certainly will be some kind of public outcry if the charges against Frost are dropped. Four years have passed since Mike Danton was arrested for his clumsy attempted murder on Frost, who he couldn't live with, couldn't live without. Danton, the former Mike Jefferson, has been in jail every day since.

The public, having read the papers, followed the Danton trial, watched The Fifth Estate's frightening profile of Frost, wants justice here. But if the Crowns don't believe there is a case to be made -- and with dubious witnesses it will be difficult -- why proceed?

And why proceed if Frost's rights have been violated, as sickening as that concept may seem? He does have them.

Maybe the best thing Mr. Justice Griffin could do is order the trial to take place. At least then, the evidence will unfold on its own and there will be a sense of justice done, even if Frost isn't convicted. But if he rules the other way -- and clearly he is unhappy by the Crown's treatment of this matter -- Frost will again escape with only his reputation in ruins.

Some will argue that's too good for him.

If the case does go to trial, Sandy Tse, the sixth person to have command of the Frost file, will prosecute for the Crown.

Marie Henein, a former Eddie Greenspan sidekick, now represents Frost.

"My sense is that the integrity of the process has been compromised," Mr. Justice Griffin said of all the delays. Today there will be further testimony. A ruling is expected shortly.

"We have a lot of cases where we see a lot of monkeys," said Griffin, "but don't see a lot of organ grinders."

The judge, at least, is amusing. Soon, we'll find out how amusing.


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