Denying Bail To The Coutts Four Is a Political Decision and Act

Clockwise from top left: Jerry Morin, Tony Olienick, Chris Carbert, Chris Lysak.

Jerry Morin, Anthony Olienick, Christopher Carbert, and Christopher Lysak are political prisoners in Canada. Their wives and children are also being punished.

Five hundred and ten days ago just after midnight on February 14, 2022 – heavily armed RCMP squads raided three trailer-homes in the border town of Coutts, Alberta and started arresting people for Conspiracy to Murder Police Officers in Support of a Plot to Overthrow the Government during the Freedom Convoy protests in Alberta.

After a series of court appearances, four men remain in jail – denied bail for reasons of… well, we don’t know why they were denied bail. A court order prohibits publishing most details of the ongoing case and hearings.

Everybody makes bail in Canada

Constable Northrup’s accused killer is out on bail

Canada is a country that releases just about any accused on bail – including Umar Zameer who is currently accused of the first degree murder of Toronto Police officer Jeffrey Northrup. Also out on bail are several persons charged with setting multiple forest fires, and probably hundreds of violent armed robbers and drive-by shooters.

Sure, the courts often require the released accused to stay in their home, wear a tracking bracelet, not contact certain persons, and comply with various other release conditions set by the courts on a case-by-case basis.

All this is in place to protect the public, and to ensure that the accused appears in court, while acknowledging that in Canada persons are ‘innocent until proven guilty’.

But no bail for the Coutts Four. Why?

I really hadn’t paid attention to the Coutts Four case until a few weeks ago. I don’t know why I didn’t notice the case, except that life is busy and each of us can only care about so many external issues before we go into overload.

I did not know that these men were still being held without bail. When I learned of their situation I was surprised and then a bit confused. Everybody makes bail in Canada.

Most Canadians don’t know that these men are being held without bail, and that by the time they go to trial they will have been sitting in remand center jails for over two years.

“No Bail? Must be Guilty!”

When we hear that the courts denied bail to the Coutts Four, our natural reaction is to believe that the evidence must be overwhelming, and that these men are evil monsters locked up to protect society.

That is what I initially believed. Hey… I’m a former Toronto Police Sergeant Detective who has spent his professional life locking up bad guys. Twice I’ve said the words “I am arresting you for murder…”

I live for evidence… and until a few years ago was an unquestioning supporter of Canadian law enforcement and intelligence organizations. For decades my natural tendency was to accept the public declarations of the police as gospel.

“As a result of examining the information and evidence available to us in the Coutts Four case, I have grave doubts about the quality of the RCMP investigation. Further, I believe that the investigation, charges, and denial of bail to the Coutts Four were motivated or impacted by a political agenda.”  Donald Best

Staged RCMP Photo released morning of February 14, 2022 – Weapons Seized at Coutts, Alberta

When a Staged PR Photo is More Important than Professional Evidence Handling and an Ongoing Investigation

The above photo was part of a RCMP news release on the morning of February 14, 2022 – that can still be found at the RCMP website here.

To any trained investigator the photo shows substandard, even suspect, evidence handling. It also indicates a surprising sloppiness in the investigation – especially considering the serious nature of the charges against the Coutts Four, and the fact that a conspiracy is alleged.

“In addition to the sloppy police work though, we can deduce that the staging of the photo was intended to have a political impact on public discourse about the Freedom Convoy.”

Some police officer in authority – perhaps even acting on advice or request from the government – made a decision that the political / PR use of the photo was so important that it didn’t matter if its public distribution could interfere with the ongoing investigation and also weaken the legal case against the Coutts Four.

First let’s consider the lead charge “Conspiracy to Murder”…

Conspiracy investigations and trials are among the most complex cases that police and prosecutors handle. Conspiracy charges can be difficult to prove especially if the intended ‘unlawful objective offence’ (in this case murder of police) was not actually committed.

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of books and papers have been written about the law of Conspiracy as it applies in the various jurisdictions, and I do not intend to explain even the basics in this article. An excellent primer on Canadian Conspiracy Law can be found at The Criminal Law Notebook here.

Why no Fingerprinting or DNA Testing of the Seized Firearms and Other Items?

Given that this is a major case involving a complex charge with multiple accused, I would expect that investigators would be meticulous in collecting evidence – especially in circumstances where if evidence is not collected, protected, and preserved immediately, it cannot be collected later.

RCMP officers briefing the news media on the morning of the raids and arrests indicated that there were other unknown members of the purported criminal organization that the accused allegedly belonged to – and that they would continue the efforts to learn the identity of the ‘other’ suspects.

In the next few days the RCMP executed additional search warrants to find weapons. The redacted ‘Informations to Obtain’ the search warrants indicated that there were other ‘unknown’ members of this group of conspirators – and thus the warrants had to be obtained and executed on an urgent basis.

Given that the RCMP appeared so concerned that there were other involved but unidentified co-conspirators – the question must be asked… Why didn’t the RCMP fingerprint and DNA test the seized firearms and other items that theoretically could have originated with ‘other unknown’ suspects?

How Do We Know the RCMP Did Not Fingerprint or DNA Test the Seized Items?

If the RCMP intended to fingerprint and DNA-test the seized items, they would have bagged each item at the scene where it was found – both to protect the item from contamination and to secure and protect the item during transport to the police facility and then to the forensic lab.

Police would NEVER have placed and displayed the items together on a table without individual protection. They would NEVER have placed items touching each other or in proximity so that hairs, skin flakes, or other DNA bearing evidence could be transferred from one item to another.

Had this been a competent investigation into the serious crime of Conspiracy to Murder Police Officers – seized evidence would have been professionally collected, protected, preserved, and forensically examined.

Forensic Examination of the Seized Firearms Could Also Have Produced Exculpatory Evidence – supporting the innocence of one or more of the Coutts Four.

Failure of police officers to adhere to the fundamentals of exhibits collection and protection doesn’t just potentially weaken the prosecution’s case – it can also deny important exculpatory evidence to the defense.

Many times I have seen otherwise good officers get ‘tunnel vision’ about a suspect or an investigation, and begin to pay attention only to evidence that supports their theory of the case and the crime. These officers become so focused that they will even deliberately exclude evidence that doesn’t support their vision of events.

‘Tunnel Vision’ police officers sometimes get blindsided at trial because they assume that they have ‘enough evidence’ and fail to take simple steps that would have solidified their case.

For instance, when a ‘tunnel vision’ officer discovers drugs or stolen goods in the trunk of a suspect’s car, they assume they have a solid case and don’t fingerprint the contraband or otherwise attempt to connect it to the suspect.

Then in court when some friend of the accused testifies that he borrowed the car from the accused – and the accused knew nothing of the drugs – the police have no contrary evidence. I have seen that exact scenario happen.

A Photo Created and Used for Propaganda and Political Purposes

RCMP Feb 14, 2022 Media Release

It is undeniable that the photo of seized firearms included in the RCMP’s February 14, 2022 morning Press Release was staged for the primary purpose of propaganda – and not as evidence for use in court.

The tables are set up on a diagonal in what appears to be a police garage or prisoner receiving area – not in a secure evidence room or office for processing.

A marked RCMP patrol vehicle is staged at an angle behind the tables to let the audience know which policing organization achieved this magnificent result. Items have been arranged on the floor with five of the long-guns rather precariously leaning against the table for display. No person would normally position or store firearms in such a manner where a bump of the table might cause them to fall.

The vests have been arranged standing up, with the grey vest on the table having a box placed inside to keep the vest standing for display. The other vests are similarly standing in positions indicating that they may have unseen internal supports. The ammunition boxes are open to display the contents, with the large box on the table staged at an unnatural angle.

This display of seized weapons and equipment was intended, designed, and staged as a propaganda photo to be distributed to the press in the morning of February 14, 2022 just a few hours after the raids.

The photo and press release were also used in negotiations with protestors to convince them to leave the area. The photo had a national impact and was used by both the news media and the government as a justification for the invoking of the Emergencies Act and the police operations to arrest and clear Freedom Convoy protestors in Ottawa.

The RCMP Compromised Their Ongoing Investigation By Releasing The Photo

The RCMP’s almost immediate release of the propaganda photo on the morning of February 14, 2022 was a decision that placed RCMP public relations and Federal Politics ahead of professional investigation procedures.

The investigation of Conspiracy to Murder Police Officers was ongoing on the morning of February 14, 2022. The RCMP was purportedly looking for other yet-to-be-identified co-conspirators.

Despite this ongoing investigation, the RCMP released a large-size detailed photo of the seized firearms and other items that would have allowed the ‘unidentified suspects’ to know if any of the firearms or equipment they supplied had been seized. This photo could have alerted suspects that the police were coming for them and that they should dispose of any other evidence before the police arrived.

The decisions to publish the photograph and to not perform forensic investigations of the firearms put politics before professional policing.

When Political Agendas Enter Police Investigations – Justice Suffers

My examination of the information we have access to thus far convinces me that politics played a major role:

  • in the conduct of the police investigation,
  • in the less than professional handling of evidence,
  • in the staging and release of the photo on February 14, 2022, and,
  • in the denial of bail to the Coutts Four.

Given all of the above circumstances, I now believe that the decision to lay criminal charges against all or some of the Coutts Four was also politically motivated.

Don’t get me wrong here… I’m not saying that each of the Coutts Four is innocent of every charge. We won’t know that until we hear the evidence at trial.

What I am saying is that in context, the denial of bail is a political decision and act – intended to achieve three purposes…

1/ To act as public ‘evidence’ that the accused persons were so dangerous that it justified the use of the Emergencies Act,

2/ To influence potential jury members to be more likely to convict the accused,

3/ To deter other protesters and protests by teaching all Canadians a good lesson about what happens to people and families who oppose the Liberal Government.


Additional Information about the Coutts Four and the case against them

Jason Lavigne

Independent Federal Candidate Jason Lavigne has been following the Coutts Four case on his morning show – where I sometimes appear as a guest.

Twitter: @JasonLavigneMP




Margaret ‘Granny’ Mackay

‘Granny’ Mackay has been fundraising for the Coutts Four and their families, and working to tirelessly to raise awareness that the four are being held without bail.

Twitter: @CalmTheFear



Have you ever defended someone who actually was framed?

My answer to the question – originally published at…

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

I was framed by corrupt lawyers and police – and was forced to self-represent and act as my own lawyer. I can freely tell you everything because what happened to me is a matter of public record – widely published and supported in court records and news media articles available on the internet since 2014.

My website has all the documents, recordings and other evidence available for public scrutiny – as well as a list of my supporters including lawyers, organizations and a former Commissioner of Police and Canadian Federal Cabinet Minister who filed sworn affidavits in my support.

This is the true story of how several corrupt lawyers from some of Canada’s largest law firms fabricated false evidence, bribed police and lied to the courts to convict me of Contempt of Court in a civil lawsuit costs hearing that I was unaware of and not present for as I was not in Canada.

This is also the true story of how the Canadian legal profession and courts, when confronted with forensically certified telephone recordings and other irrefutable evidence proving the lawyers fabricated evidence and lied to the court to convict me – closed ranks to save the corrupt lawyers, even when that meant knowingly sending an innocent man to prison.

But first a little background…

As a Sergeant (Detective) with the Toronto Police and later in private industry, for over thirty years I hunted organized crime members and their enablers including corrupt police, politicians and members of the legal profession.

Now I’m an independent journalist, documentary filmmaker and an anti-corruption advocate.

I am the sole recipient of the 2018 Ontario Civil Liberties Award for my work in exposing and fighting corruption of the police, the legal profession and the judiciary.

Oh… I also served 63 days incarcerated in a Canadian prison; spending every day in solitary confinement.

Senior Ontario lawyers Gerald Ranking (center), Lorne Silver (right) and junior Sebastien Kwidzinski (left) lied to the courts to convict Donald Best.

The Frame Job

In November of 2009, I was traveling in Asia – but this didn’t stop a group of corrupt Bay Street lawyers from falsely swearing to the court that they had served me in Canada with a certain civil court order and that during a subsequent telephone call with them I admitted to receiving that court order.

Twelve times during that telephone call, I denied receiving the court order and asked that it be sent to me. After the call, the lawyers immediately created a formal ‘Statement for the Record’ document that falsely indicated I had informed them during the call that I had indeed received the court order the day before. This was a deliberate fabrication of evidence, a lie – but they submitted their false statement as evidence to court.

Later, during a hearing that I was not notified of, and was therefore not present for, the lawyers doubled down on their false Statement for the Record by confirming it orally on the court transcript. Further, they submitted a sworn affidavit – falsely stating that they had couriered the order to me at an address in Canada. The judge convicted me of contempt of court upon the lawyers’ false evidence, sentenced me to three months in prison and issued a warrant for my arrest.

The Secret Telephone Recording

The corrupt lawyers didn’t know that I had secretly and legally recorded my telephone conversation with them.

The recording proved they fabricated evidence and lied to the court to convict me.

Evidence from the courier company showed that – contrary to their sworn affidavit – the lawyers had never sent the court order to me in Canada or anywhere else and they couldn’t produce any courier record, tracking number, invoice or receipt for delivery.

They lied to convict me, a self-represented person who did not have a lawyer. They lied because they knew they could, because they had the power, authority and credibility as Officers of the Court and as senior partners of large and respected law firms. They did it because they were corrupt and wanted to win a civil case so badly that they would commit criminal offenses to do so.

Senior Ontario lawyers Gerald Ranking, Lorne Silver and junior Sebastien Kwidzinski placed their false evidence before the court, swore it was true both in writing and orally on the transcript record, convicted me of Contempt of Court and obtained hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs against me based on their false evidence.

Ah… but I had my secret recording of the telephone call that irrefutably proved the lawyers lied to the court in writing and orally on the record. ‘No problem’ I said to myself – I’ll just return to Canada and play the recording for the court, who will overturn my conviction and justly imprison these corrupt lawyers for perjury, obstruct justice and fabricating evidence.

Abandoned by the legal profession and the Law Society of Ontario

When I voluntarily returned to Canada from Asia to appeal my conviction and present my evidence, over one hundred Ontario lawyers refused to represent me even as they acknowledged the veracity and power of my evidence. Many told me that while they personally sympathized with my situation facing injustice and corruption, they feared backlash and opprobrium from the profession if they harmed or even challenged the involved senior lawyers and their large Bay Street law firms.

Even the Law Society of Ontario refused to assist in finding a lawyer to represent me and chose to not investigate the wrongdoing that I reported in writing. The Law Society chose to not seize and preserve evidence from the corrupt lawyers and their law firms. Some Law Society senior benchers actively covered up for their fellow Bay Street cabal members at the highest levels.

So I was forced to represent myself before the court.

Self-Represented in the Ontario Courts

The judges did not allow me to appeal my conviction that was obtained while I was not in court. I was not even allowed to cross-examine the lawyers and other witnesses that the courts relied upon to convict and imprison me.

I was not allowed to cross-examine the corrupt Ontario Provincial Police officer, Jim Van Allen, who worked illegally for the lawyers as an unlicensed private investigator, and whose ‘expert’ evidence was also used to convict and sentence me.

Not Allowed to Cross-Examine Witnesses against me

As a Canadian facing prison, I was not allowed to cross-examine the witnesses who provided the evidence the court used to convict and sentence me.

Let me repeat that: As a Canadian facing prison, I was not allowed to cross- examine the very witnesses who provided the evidence the court used to convict and sentence me.

Right now, many of you are thinking, “That can’t be true. No way. Not in Canada.”

How naïve you are.

Ontario Superior Court Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy

A Corrupt Judge takes his Revenge

On May 3, 2013 after refusing to even consider my recordings and other new evidence that proved my innocence, and after sending me off to prison and ending court for the day, Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy went to a backroom.

There in that backroom, off the court record and without a hearing, trial or transcript, Justice Shaughnessy secretly and illegally increased my prison sentence by fifty percent without notifying me. He secretly created a new warrant of committal that he gave only to the prison authorities. He did not file the new secret warrant with the courts or make mention of it anywhere in the records.

Several senior lawyers and a retired Crown Attorney describe the Judge’s misconduct as “despotic”, “disgusting”, “reprehensible”, “malicious” and “worthy of his removal from the bench.”

Later, I was denied the right to appeal my conviction and Justice Shaughnessy’s actions to a higher court because I could not pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in court costs earlier awarded to the other side on the basis of their provably fabricated and false evidence.

Solitary Confinement prison cell very much like the one Donald Best spent 63 days in. Lights on 24 hours a day and the screams of other prisoners never stop.

Solitary Confinement

I spent 63 days in prison – every day in solitary confinement as I am a former Toronto Police Officer. The prison authorities told me that solitary was the only place they could keep me alive – and from what I saw, they spoke the truth. In my solitary cell I had to clean the faeces and blood of previous occupants from the floor and walls. The lights in the cell were on 24 hours a day – but the screams and moans of my fellow prisoners didn’t allow for much sleep anyway.

All this is still celebrated online as a victory by the group of corrupt Bay Street lawyers and their large law firms who wanted to win, and did win, a high-value civil case by any means possible – including fabrication of evidence, perjury, obstructing justice and bribery of police to illegally obtain confidential police records.

How the Courts protect fellow members of The Legal Club

But as disgusting as all that is, there is much worse. The Canadian legal profession, the Law Society of Ontario and the Courts themselves, when confronted with legally made certified voice recordings and other irrefutable evidence proving that the Bay Street lawyers deliberately fabricated false evidence and lied to the court to convict me while I was out of the country…

… when confronted with that irrefutable evidence, the legal profession, the Law Society and the Courts closed ranks to save the corrupt Bay Street lawyers – even when that meant knowingly sending an innocent man – a self-represented person in a civil case – to prison.

In response to my solid evidence of criminal wrongdoing by senior Law Society of Ontario lawyers, the courts refused to consider my evidence, my exhibits and refused to even listen to the voice recordings. In all these years before various levels of courts, no judge has ever listened to the voice recordings – at least officially.

When faced with a choice of ignoring irrefutable evidence of lawyers’ corrupt activities – or of receiving that evidence and then holding accountable senior partners from some of Bay Street’s largest legal firms – the Law Society of Upper Canada, the legal profession and the courts betrayed their duty to Canadians.

Canada’s Legal Profession & Courts cover-up legal system corruption

The worst though, is that my personal story is just one small part of a much larger disaster involving thousands upon thousands of Canadians who have been denied access to justice and justice itself because of systemic failings in our justice system.

Those systemic failings in our justice system include a Canada-wide tolerance by judges and lawyers for corruption in the legal profession.

There is an unwillingness in the Canadian legal profession to even talk about corrupt acts by lawyers and judges. When a lawyer actually presents evidence of corruption in specific terms, naming names… look out! The rest of the pack will turn and attack as my current lawyer and so many other Canadians have discovered.

My false conviction and imprisonment was possible only because there is a level of tolerance by judges and lawyers for corruption in the legal profession and in the courts. There is strong reluctance to damage the careers of fellow lawyers and judges – or to tarnish the profession itself by acknowledging serious deliberate wrongdoing.

Tolerance of corruption in our justice system is systemic and deep-rooted. It is fed by the low integrity of some individuals in positions of influence and authority, who are empowered by the total lack of courage and the unwillingness of our legal profession to hold fellow Club Members accountable in any meaningful manner.

Not a week goes by that I do not hear from five or ten other Canadians (totalling many hundreds in the past few years) who write to tell me their own stories of lawyers and judges committing serious acts of misconduct with impunity; confident that they will never be held accountable.

Many of the writers are desperate because they cannot afford a lawyer and must represent themselves in court – knowing as they do that the courts are set up to overwhelmingly favour and benefit the legal profession, not to provide justice to ordinary Canadians as purported.

Losing Faith in the Justice System

For a variety of well-founded reasons, ordinary Canadians are fast losing their faith in our justice system. Many believe that justice is now simply unattainable through the courts. This is a dangerous situation, the extent and seriousness of which has yet to be acknowledged by those entrusted with operating our justice system.

Unless individual police officers, lawyers and judges start to act with courage, integrity and a sense of duty towards ordinary Canadians and the Rule of Law – this situation will continue to deteriorate.

Much of the unrest, protests and violent flareups that we see in our cities has origin in the fact that people have lost faith in the professions and institutions charged with upholding the rule of law.

When the police, lawyers and courts are not to be trusted – anything goes.

Donald Best

Barrie, Ontario Canada

Supporting court evidence, documents, news media articles and much more can be found online at DonaldBest.CA | Access to Justice. Anti-corruption.

Twitter: @DonaldBestCA

Read Donald Best’s original answer on Quora.

Canadians respond to my Globe and Mail article about solitary confinement and Adam Capay


Last Tuesday I was sitting in an examination room as a new doctor looked at my chart. (Like airline pilots, doctors seem to get younger every day.) When he flipped the pages to read my name again, he stopped, trying to remember something, and then said, “Donald Best… Donald Best. Did you write that column in the Globe and Mail yesterday?”

When I confirmed that I was the author, he called in a nurse, made introductions and the three of us spent the next 15 minutes discussing solitary confinement, my column and how a ‘nice man’ like me came to be housed with some of Canada’s most dangerous prisoners.

It is apparent that my Globe and Mail article ‘Solitary confinement is pure torture. I know, I was there“ touched many of my fellow Canadians who were unware of the horrors of solitary confinement in our prisons.

Prior to my own incarceration for 63 days, I too hadn’t thought much about solitary confinement, and when I did I had no idea about the reality – this despite three decades of service in public and private law enforcement.

But my article resonated with ordinary people, for which I am grateful – because solitary confinement is torture, nothing less. It is not what my Canada is about – or should be about.

In the last week, I received over one hundred emails and other messages of encouragement from all across Canada. My website saw an increase of several thousand additional visitors, and many journalists opened communication with me. I made guest appearances on two ‘talk-radio’ shows in Ottawa and Montreal. Several lawyers contacted me to inquire whether I would provide testimony to assist their clients who are incarcerated in solitary confinement.

(Sure I’ll testify to the truth about what I saw and experienced in solitary confinement. The truth does not have an agenda – it is just the truth.)

The catalyst for all this is, of course, Adam Capay, an indigenous 24-year-old man horrifically kept in solitary confinement for almost five years. His story splashed across the news media for a few days, but has disappeared now that Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne made some promises and moved Capay to a cell with a television.

Such is the fleeting attention of the public as new stories come and go.

17 Years in Solitary Confinement

Yet, as bad as Adam Capay’s case is – somewhere in Canada, if he is still alive, there is a prisoner who has spent over 17 years in ‘administrative segregation’.

Seventeen years.

This is not the Canada that I believe in. WE, you and I, need to make some changes happen.

Donald Best

Donald Best guest on Tommy Schnurmacher Show – CJAD 800 AM Montreal talk radio


On Wednesday I was a guest on the Tommy Schnurmacher Show in Montreal. Producer Matt Guite contacted me after the Globe and Mail published my article ‘Solitary confinement is pure torture. I know, I was there

Yes, I was a little nervous about appearing live on air – it’s not something I have much experience with – but Tommy made me feel as if I was just having a conversation with an old friend. At least he seemed like an old friend from my Montreal days so long ago.

Sure, he’s a pro, but what I love about Schnurmacher is that he doesn’t care about convention. Fearless is the one word that defines him.

An honour to be on Tommy’s show.

You can have a listen to our conversation at CJAD’s website here.

Or, you can listen at my website…