Ferguson, Fred

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                                    FRED FERGUSON

On Jan. 10, 2002 – in his role as 2001-2002 Calgary Bar Association Milvain Chair in Advocacy – Judge Fred Ferguson gave a speech talking about his years as a lawyer in Miramichi. This is part one of that speech…

What is it about the small place they call Miramichi that has kept it in the spotlight over the past several decades regionally, in matters of criminal law? I don’t, unfortunately, have the answer to that question.

The community has very deep Scottish, Irish and to some extent Acadian roots. Its people are fiercely independent and take orders from few. Among those who considered it home were Lord Beaverbrook, the English press baron, Prime Minister R.B. Bennett, David Adams Richards, the acclaimed Canadian author and, more recently, Frank McKenna, the author of the only shut-out ever recorded in New Brunswick politics. It has also the dubious distinction of being home to Allan Legere, one of Canada’s most notorious serial killers.

                                     Arrived in 1976

I arrived in Miramichi from Unbars Law School in 1976, at that time, the thirteenth prosecutor in eleven years to take the post.

My predecessor, who held the record at that time, as the longest serving Crown in the county, promptly told me upon my arrival that I was his ticket out! When I made the mistake of asking how long he had been there, he pointed to a Royal Bank calendar hanging limply on the wall and asked, “What is the penciled number under today’s date?” I replied, “514.” He looked at me and said, “That’s how long I’ve been here! See you later!” With that, he picked up his coat and left.

I should have known that there were problems ahead for me before I said yes to the job. I had been recruited by probably the fastest-talking Director of Public Prosecutions in the country’s history, a man by the name of Haze Strange QC, or, as he was known to his friends, of which he had many, “Strange Haze.” He would later go on to become Chief Provincial Court Judge of our province.

At the time, however, he passed his time recruiting young lawyers to his shop, and gambling his evenings, and income, away at late night poker games in the city of Fredericton.

He became my mentor almost immediately and, in my view, created a Public Prosecution service filled with formidable advocates, many of who are now respected judges in my province. His hand is still felt in the courts of the province through the voices of many of the best advocates the Crown has at its disposal.

When I took the job, Haze offered me the choice of eight different communities in which to work. I chose Miramichi as it had been the site of a particularly brutal unsolved murder of an elderly woman two years before my admission to the bar. She had been robbed walking home, and stabbed over 80 times.

Strange QC attempted to dissuade me from taking the Miramichi post. He said it was an awful place to work and that, as a single young lawyer, I should look at the openings I had in Moncton or Bathurst. When I asked why, he told me that it was his considered opinion that the women were better looking in those places! I responded that women were not the priority at the time. I was more interested in getting this murder solved, and prosecuting it, so that I could establish a reputation and move into private practice, where I expected to make a lot of money. In any event, he finally relented and agreed to let me go to Miramichi.

I must say that using the case as a possible springboard to success was a huge error. To this day, the case remains the only unsolved murder in the quarter-century that I have worked there as a Crown. At times I have felt as though it was my ‘ball and chain’.

Times began to change in the 1980s. My skills as an advocate were being brutally beaten into shape, sometimes by a sledgehammer it felt, at the hands of many, including one of New Brunswick’s most able advocates of the time, Frank McKenna. He was, and still stands today, as the most formidable opponent I have faced.

                                 Challenging times

However, it was the time from the mid ‘80s to the early ‘90s that produced the most challenging times for me and the other two lawyers who I had recruited from the private bar at the that time, Jack Walsh QC and Bill Morrissey.

Murder cases began arriving at our door at a rate that was disturbing to us all. These were not simply murders; they were terrible murders.

There was an axe murder so brutal that I could only prove identity by overlaying the x-ray of the deceased to a hospital file X-ray of the victim that showed a stainless steel staple at the opening to the stomach. There was a nun shot in the Cathedral, and a priest brutally beaten to death in a rectory.

At times, we seemed beset by murder. In fact, in 1990, for a time, our per capita murder rate exceeded that of the city of Detroit! As fast as we could put one file to bed, others would spring up to replace it. In a three-person office, we rarely were home with our young families.

In 1989, Mr. Legere, who had been convicted of his first brutal murder of shopkeeper John Glendenning in 1987, escaped while awaiting word from the Supreme Court on his Leave Application. I had prosecuted his case along with classmate Bill Crosby just before the Supreme Court’s decision in Vaillancourt, advancing it as a case of destructive murder.

Legere’s case was part of a large number of Leave Applications that some of you may recall in early 1989. The Supreme Court was in transition from a practice of live-leave-hearings to paper-based ones. It had about 60 leaves on reserve that spring. One of them was Legere’s.

In early summer, without any notice, the Supreme Court issued an order notifying parties that Mr. Legere had until Oct. 1 to turn himself in to authorities. I imagined that he would, if he found out about the order; take it to be the cheese in the trap to catch him. He did not surrender.

I recall shortly after the deadline was announced in July, I was walking back to the residence at Dollhouse University with my teaching partner at the National Criminal Law program, Marc Rosenberg. I told him of the High Noon Ultimatum from the court. He was startled. As an advocate with a long and successful history of Supreme Court practice, he told me that it was the first time he ever heard of the Court not dismissing a Leave Application when the accused had escaped. It was not a good sign! In the end, as you probably know, Legere missed the deadline. The Leave Application was dismissed.

Mr. Legere, for his part, had other things on his mind. All of you are familiar with at least some of what happened during his 1989 rampage in Miramichi. The streets were filled with Mounties for months while helicopters flew over the city at night attempting to stop his murderous spree. As the body count mounted, guards were stationed at my home in the lighthouse we had on the bank of the river to watch over my young family.

                                     Chilling words

When Father Smith was murdered late in November, my wife and our twins, a boy and girl aged seven, were forced by police to leave. Bluntly, I was told, “At this point, you do not have a vote; we would never be able to explain your death at an inquest.”

The words had a chilling but sobering effect. Fortunately, he was captured soon after.

The second Legere trial became the first test-case for the protocols the RCMP had developed for the forensic use of DNA in Canadian courts. In that trial, Dr. Kenneth Kudo, the Yale professor known worldwide as the leading authority on DNA profiling, came to our courtroom to endorse the RCMP process.

At the end of the Legere murder spree a local citizen’s support group set up to help the community through the difficult period asked me to speak at a symposium to be held at a local high school.

The theme of my speech was that if we were to ever break the cycle of violence around us, we would have to do a better job at identifying and treating the needs of ‘at risk’ kids and their parents.

Source: Miramichi Leader – September 6, 2003

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                                   FRED FERGUSON

The provincial government announced last week that Crown prosecutor Fred Ferguson will be named a provincial court judge based in Miramichi.

On Jan. 10, 2002 – while in Calgary in his role as the 2001-2002 Calgary Bar Association Milvain Chair in Advocacy – Ferguson gave an after-dinner speech talking about his years as lawyer in Miramichi.

(The law faculty at the University of Calgary invites a leading lawyer each year to speak to its students and to members both the practising and the academic legal communities.)

This is the part two of excerpts from Ferguson’s speech. In it, he recounts some of the more unusual things that have happened during his years as prosecutor…

The first of these involved a murder case I did with a fellow named Earl Lewis.

Earl was a giant of a man, generally well-mannered, but with an explosive temper. He engineered the infamous Dorchester Penitentiary riots of 1972 while serving time for a brutal manslaughter and was considered to be the toughest inmate in the Federal system.

Paroled in the mid-80s, he soon after killed one of his drinking buddies. He was charged with murder and it fell to me to prosecute him and Gary Miller, an able lawyer from Fredericton, to defend him. Earl was convicted of second degree murder at trial.

At the sentence hearing, I asked that the maximum 25-year parole ineligibility order be imposed. His counsel argued that this was not the worst case and Earl not the worst accused, even if it was his second homicide.

The judge then asked Earl if he had anything to say before sentence was imposed. He stood up in the square oak dock, his body shackles and chains clanging as he did so. Towering over the end of the counsel table, with his ball cap in his hands, he pointed handcuffed index fingers directly at me and said, “I agree with him!”

Needless to say, the trial judge, Justice Paul Creaghan, was put in a bad spot. The defence lawyers turned white. The unflappable judge soldiered on and imposed a 20-year parole ineligibility period as the sentence he felt fit.

The case against Earl had been a strong one for the Crown and his appeal to the Court of Appeal fell on deaf ears. On the last day the Supreme Court rules allowed for him to file an appeal from the Court of Appeal judgement, I happened to be in the upriver area of Miramichi prosecuting cases in a satellite court held periodically in a Legion hall. During a trial an urgent message came for me to call Atlantic Institution to speak to Earl Lewis. The court recessed. I made the call. Earl was brought to the phone. I asked him what the problem was. He told me that his lawyers had quit and today was the last day to file an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

I asked him what I possibly had to do with that. He said, “Freddy I was wondering if you’d file the appeal for me.”

“Geez Earl” I said, “I was the one who put you away.”

He said, “I know that, but you’re the only friend I have left.”

I thought about it for a moment, and then agreed saying, “Earl, here’s what I’ll do. I’ll draft a notice, but, with no grounds of appeal. You can add them later once you find a lawyer. I’ll have one of our part-time agents from the private bar sign it, and then I’ll courier it to Ottawa today.”

Shortly after that, Earl came down with cancer – and died within the year. The Appeal may still be sitting in Ottawa waiting for the next step to be taken.

The other story I’ve selected happened in the axe-murder trial I spoke about at the outset of these remarks. The case was one of the most brutal homicides a person could imagine. The body had been struck a maximum of 130 times. The whole of Atlantic Canada was riveted on the trial because of the brutality, and partly because the accused was only 18. The judge assigned to the case was a kind and gentle man who abhorred violence.

The trial was a forensic bloodbath with blood-splatter experts, pathologists, identification experts and the like recounting the grisly details of their work on the case.

Within hours of starting the trial, it was obvious we were going to have our hands full keeping the judge from jumping ship. He stopped writing notes after the first witness and seemed to be in a state of semi-shock. Often, when especially gruesome details were being discussed, he would look at the accused with the queerest of looks on his face, as though he could not believe this had really happened. After three days of testimony, some of it very technical in nature, it was obvious that we were headed for disaster. The judge had not taken a single note since the first few hours of the trial.

Our position was made worse by the fact that counsel for the accused was a formidable opponent: ‘Dunc’ Hughes of Fredericton, the son of the Chief of Justice of New Brunswick at the time, Charlie Hughes. We knew that if the judge missed the mark badly on the evidence in his charge, Dunc would chortle all the way back to Fredericton and to the Court of Appeal. Everyone in the courtroom knew of the problem.

The case was being widely covered in the media. The Moncton Times, a newspaper with province-wide circulation, was using as its reporter a local stringer who had done several stints in the provincial psychiatric hospital. When he wasn’t picking his nose at the back of the courtroom, he was busy scribbling undecipherable notes of the evidence that, when published, made those present in the courtroom wonder what trial he had been watching.

Early into the trial, we were called into chambers to discuss a contentious issue. On the corner of the judge’s desk, neatly piled off to one side, I noticed the Moncton Times accounts of the trial, obviously cut from the paper each day of the trial.

When we emerged, I decided to attempt to stave of disaster. Each day I would have to meet with the reporter to correct the errors we perceived had occurred the day before and ask that the retractions be printed the following day along with the regular account of the previous day.

That seemed to work for about a week. Then, as we entered the final week of the trial, the judge called us into chambers on a Monday morning. He was completely unglued. His voice cracking with emotion, he told both sides what we already knew, that he had planned to use the newspaper clippings to address the jury, but had inadvertently left them on the desk the Friday past. Apparently the janitor had come in over the weekend and thrown them into the garbage. He was due to give his closing remarks the next day.

We were without any recourse. The judge would wing it.

Needless to say, the charge was a disaster. As he recited the names of 60 or so witnesses to the jury, he would repeat that each witness’s evidence had been rehashed by the counsel – end of story.

The jury retired. Fourteen hours later, at 2 a.m., they returned a verdict of guilty of second degree murder.

As Hughes sped back to Fredericton, I knew we were done for in the Court of Appeal. Nevertheless, we filed a brief and appeared, to argue the impossible. Right off the mark the court pounced. There was only one issue here, said the justices. The trial judge failed to apprehend any of the evidence! “What was he using for notes?” the barked.

The case was ordered back for a retrial, from the bench, 20 minutes into the appeal. No written reasons were needed.

The next trial proved to be a much smoother ride. The accused was convicted of manslaughter.

Source: Miramichi Leader – September 16, 2003

                              John Ryan Turner

Little did I know that at that very moment across the street on the military base at CFB, Chatham, three-year-old John Ryan Turner was being unimaginably neglected and abused to death by his military parents.

His case became the next one of national focus as the country heard the horrific story of his life and death unfold at the trial of his parents. In the end, the 16-year sentence they received seemed somehow incidental to me for causing the death of that child who had really been ‘unloved’ to death.

                                Sullivan case

And then there was Sullivan, the trial that my partner Jack Walsh prosecuted. It has been dubbed by my good friend Earl Wilson QC of Calgary as the ‘Stain of Sullivan’ on Jack Walsh’s career. Part of my duty here tonight on behalf of Mr. Walsh is to eradicate the stain.

After conviction, the Supreme Court ordered a new trial of the accused, rejecting the conscripted evidence of teeth impressions taken from Sullivan by police. In advance of the retrial, and at the request of the Crown, Parliament moved ahead the scheduled passing of the bodily impression warrant scheme to force Sullivan to give a new teeth impression. He refused to comply with the warrant granted under the new scheme. The defense Charter motion to strike down the legislation was rejected.

The Crown regrouped and began building a record of noncompliance. A second warrant was obtained and a civil injunction was issued ordering compliance. He refused again. The Court of Appeal was enlisted by the defense, but it refused to hear an appeal of the ‘in trial’ ruling.

Why is this significant, you ask? It is because the Crown then moved to have the teeth impression that had been the subject of what is now the leading exclusion case from the Supreme Court admitted as evidence on the basis of the Supreme Court’s judgement in Calder. That decision, as we know, had held that evidence that had been rejected owing to some Charter violation, might in rare cases be reconsidered as if it could be shown that circumstances had changed so significantly that the continued rejection of the evidence would bring the administration of justice into disrepute.

The trial judge, Madam Justice Larlee, as she then was, accepted the argument, finding that Stillman’s refusals to comply with lawful orders had reinvigorated the very evidence the Supreme Court had used to craft its now-famous decision. This may be the one and only time that Calder has found such favor.

I trust the Stain of Sullivan, by this revelation, has been removed. The ownership of this particular nifty bit of strategy is still a matter of some dispute. I claim to have given the ‘Calder’ idea to Walsh, complete with strategy-execution details. Sadly, Walsh, for his part, refused to acknowledge the claim, shrugging it off by saying, “Da Vinci did not give credit to his paint suppliers!”

Times were somewhat better in the late ‘90s. But the dawn of the new millennium brought a gaggle of million-dollar riots at our penitentiary, the Atlantic Institution, which saw our office prosecuting prison riots like breathalyzer cases. It has also seen us ‘kiss the goal post’, as it were, with the violent confrontations at Burnt Church that are still largely unresolved.

                               Milvain Chair in Advocacy

The chair was founded in 1979 by the Calgary Bar Association in honour of Chief Justice Valentine Milvain of the Trial Division, Supreme Court of Alberta, who retired at the beginning of that year.

“The purpose of this chair is to enable the law faculty to invite a leading counsel to the faculty each year to participate in the faculty’s trial advocacy course and to present a special lecture to students and to members of both the practising and the academic legal communities,” the University of Calgary law faculty says on its Website.

The first chair was Canadian legal legend J.J. Robinette of Toronto. He gained public renown for his work as a defense lawyer in a number of high-profile criminal cases.

“He became the best known counsel in Canada, frequently appearing in the Supreme Court of Canada in several leading constitutional and civil cases,” says the Website for Osgoode Hall Law School in the Toronto area. Last holders of the chair include nationally known criminal lawyer Edward Greenspan of Toronto, who at one time acted as the host of CBC TV series The Scales of Justice.

Source: Miramichi Leader – September 16, 2003

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                               JUDGE FRED FERGUSON
                                  By Dan Benoit

The following is an edited version of a feature story about Judge Fred Ferguson’s life as a Miramichi crown prosecutor. It was written in October 2002 and was first published in January 2003 in the Journal Pioneer in Summerside, P.E.I., as part of a student project.

It’s 9 a.m. on a Wednesday morning at the Crown prosecutor’s office in Miramichi and the workday has long since begun. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the outer office, the voice of Crown prosecutor Fred Ferguson drifts through the open door of his office.

Hanging up the phone a short time later, he emerges into the main office area, where phones ring, documents are moved from desk to desk and the wheels of justice turn a little bit more every day. Introductions follow. Ferguson smiles, almost shyly, and leads the way into his office.

The ink on Ferguson’s diploma from the University of New Brunswick’s law school was still wet when he landed a job in Miramichi in 1976.

A front-line soldier in the war on crime, Ferguson has watched society and its criminal patterns change over the decades, producing men and women who commit crimes for no good reason, or no reason at all. He’s seen the criminal justice system go from a point in the 1980s where a homicide case wouldn’t hold water without a motive, to motive-less crime almost being the rule in the 1990s. “It used to be if you had a major case and you didn’t have a motive, you had a problem. We used to always look around for a reason,” he said.

Ferguson worries about ‘at-risk-kids’ who come from families prone to crime or violence with no real sense of parental control. On the other hand, he doesn’t agree with people who claim children from poorer families are more prone to crime. “We have as many problems in this country with kids who come from rich families as from kids who come from poor families.”

A lack of time spent with children can be one of the factors in their development,” he said. “You can’t have parents commuting 90 minutes each way in this country and not pay a price for that,” he said.

He remembers the day when one of his seven-year-old twins hung onto his pant leg as he was going out the door to work. “This is the canary in the mine. When you’ve got a seven-year-old hanging onto your pant leg, there’s something wrong,” he said.

So he took the time he needed with his kids, he said. More than that, he started to spend time with other kids and was instrumental in starting – and coaching – the White Caps swim team in the community.

He never meant to stay here so long. In 1976, Ferguson planned to spend a few months in Miramichi, polish his legal skills, then move to greener pastures, possibly a private practice. “I tried to leave after six months and they wouldn’t let me,” he said laughing.

But in the quarter century since he first came to the banks of the Miramichi River, Ferguson found more than just a career. He found a home. “I love this place. There’s only one class of people here,” he said. “If you get respect here, you have to earn it.”

Ferguson says he has tried to make a fundamental change in the community, only to do his job. “Everybody thought of us as crime-ridden. I wanted to take the good people of the community and try to help them.” But he’s not a crusader, at least not anymore, he said.

People have a certain fear of the law, but he said he wants people to understand the job the Crown office has to do. “Quality assurance is a big part of what we do. We try to be consistent on sentences too… so that people know, day in and day out, this is where the line is,” he said. “There are no ‘sweet-heart deals’ in this office.”

Two cases which Ferguson has worked on stand out.

Allan Legere, known as the ‘Monster of the Miramichi’, was prosecuted by Ferguson for the 1986 murder of storekeeper John Glendenning. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 18 years. People thought his life of crime was over.

But Legere escaped from the Atlantic Institution in Renous in May of 1989. During the next seven months, in the midst of the largest manhunt in Canadian history, a female storekeeper, two sisters, and an elderly Roman Catholic priest were murdered.

Legere was recaptured and found guilty of all four murders in 1991. He’s now an inmate in St. Anne de Plaines’s super-maximum security prison, just north of Montreal. The prison houses the worst of Canada’s worst. Legere is held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day every day.

Just after his recapture, in a nine-page handwritten letter to the Telegraph Journal, dated Dec. 1, 1989, Legere made his feelings about Ferguson perfectly clear.

“The people who were scared were scared because of a guilty conscience, including local newspapers, who always condemn me, or prosecutor (Fred) Ferguson whom I despise for what he did,” Legere wrote. “At my Dec. 1986 change of venue in Moncton Court, chief Allen and prosecutor Ferguson told ‘Judge Godin’ that I’d get a ‘fair trial’ in Newcastle (now part of the city of Miramichi). Sure, right where prosecutor Ferguson has been trying to jail me for 15 years and prior to my being charged in 1986 for murder, people (500) yelled for my hanging!!! Fair trial my ass! Like a cop said, we give you a fair trial Al, then hang you.”

While Legere was on the loose, Ferguson and his family were under RCMP guard. One day an officer arrived and told them to pack some bags and get ready to roll. He didn’t want to have to explain Ferguson’s death at an inquest, he said. After Legere’s capture, it was revealed the serial killer had been plotting to kill Ferguson, a newspaper editor, and a judge.

Looking back to those dark days, Ferguson is philosophical about Legere and the danger his duty carries. “You can’t worry about that. When it comes time for me to go, I’ll go.”

Fear turned to relief after Legere’s capture and Ferguson put his mind to prosecuting Legere again. It wasn’t in the cards. Bob Murray, New Brunswick’s director of public prosecutions from 1981 until his retirement in 1996, would not allow it. “He’s an excellent lawyer and he’s a great fellow,” Murray said. “I felt it was time for someone else to bear the load.” The threats made by Legere to Ferguson were also a factor in his decision to resign the case. “He wanted to prosecute it originally, but I think he realized it was the right decision as time wore on. In fact, he and his family were put through an awful ordeal when Legere was on the loose.” Through it all, Ferguson forged ahead. “It’s in his blood. He just loves what he’s doing. He’d probably make a very able defence counsel as well, but he just happens to like the other side of the table,” Murray said.

Five years after Legere was jailed for the second time, another case came up that would leave all involved shaken and disturbed, including Ferguson.

In May, 1994, three-year-old John Ryan turner died of starvation in Miramichi after a lifetime of abuse. Several doctors, public health nurses and other professionals saw the child between 1991 and 1993, but nobody raised the alarm.

According to Bonnie Sweeney, a reporter at the Miramichi Leader for 23 years, Ferguson, with his deep love of children, had an exceptionally tough time. “The murder of that little boy that starved to death – that hurt him awfully bad. He could hardly talk about it, you know?” Sweeney said. “He got through it well. But it was draining everybody,” she said.

In her position as a reporter, Sweeney watched Ferguson work for years and she has nothing but praise for the man. Ferguson was always a willing source and always helpful, realizing the importance of a close relationship between the Crown office and the press, she said. “As a journalist, I knew information from him was correct. You were sure of it.”

There were many times when she was bogged down by the jargon of a complicated case and didn’t know how to write the story, she said. “He explained it out. Then I understood it.”

She spoke of his high standards. “I have respect [for him] because he’d never reveal anything he wasn’t supposed to. On the other hand, he was very open about his work,” she said. “He would never refuse anything with us that was reasonable.”

There’s more to him than just a prosecutor,” she said. “He can have fun, too. A wonderful joke teller. A great family man, too. Always with the kids.”

It’s 10 after one in the afternoon and Ferguson is in a court room, across the street from his office. Today, he’ll be prosecuting a routine threat charge. He acts differently here, like a quarterback who’s just walked onto the field.

A 20-something Bailiff brings in the accused. She’s a young, native woman, tall and thin with shackles on her feet. A young woman accuses her of uttering death threats to her at a local bar.

After some initial formalities, the Crown calls its first witness. She tells the court her story. She was at a Miramichi night club several months before when the accused approached her around closing time and made a death threat, she said. “Her exact words were, ‘You’re going to die, bitch,’ I was afraid and I wanted to leave.”

Standing next to his chair, Ferguson nods. How many beer did she have that night? “Two or three, she replies.

“Did you have less?” “No,” she said.

“Was it loud?”

It all seems rather dull and routine. Finally, Ferguson sits down and slips off his loafers.

Calver goes through the same questions.

At the end of five hours the accused is found guilty. She’s crying as they take her away, her shackles clinking. The wheels of justice roll on.

Being a prosecutor is no picnic, said Jack Walsh, one of Ferguson’s colleagues in the office. “The longer you’re at it, the more difficult it is, because it’s such a challenge. And part of the reason why we continue to do it is because of the challenge,” Walsh said. “It’s a very important aspect of the criminal justice system – what we do – and we’re very proud of it. There’s a sense of unity in the office,” he said.

But Walsh switches gears and talks about Ferguson’s lighter side. “One thing that you have to understand between us, we’re always teasing each other, pulling jokes on each other… and it’s only to keep you sane.”

Catherine Sullivan has been an assistant in the regional office for 10 years. Her fondness of Ferguson is evident. “He’s a real good guy. He really is,” Sullivan said. She had a story about her boss. “I don’t know how many years ago it was, there was a Halloween party. All the proceeds went to the food bank,” she said. Ferguson and Debbie went to the party dressed as Robin Hood and Maid Marion. “So, on the way home, Fred was speeding – he says he wasn’t, but must have been – and the police haul him over. He’s still in costume. It’s a rookie that hauls him over. Anyway, Fred hauls over, gets out of the vehicle, and of course the police officer gets on his radio saying he’s stopping such-and-such a vehicle. And he says, ‘there’s a man getting out of it, he has tights on and he has a cape.’ When the description of the driver was broadcast, it didn’t take long for the rookie officer to realize he had hauled over the prosecutor,” she said. “In the end, the officer gave him a warning for speeding,” she said, laughing.

Ferguson leaves the courthouse at about 6:30 p.m. He surveys the city he serves from the steps. “What a beautiful night on the river,” Ferguson said, smiling.

He crosses the street and heads toward the Crown office, puts his files in order and turns out the lights. Then he heads to his 4x4 and waves as he pulls away. He still has a two-hour drive to Fredericton ahead of him. He has a meeting in the morning.

Source: Miramichi Leader – September 16, 2003

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