Welcome to my Crime and Justice blog! I am a 19 year old criminal justice student at the University of Winnipeg. I advocate for prisoners' rights, human rights, equality and criminal justice/prison system reforms.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Victim granted a restraining order

The man named in a recently expired restraining order Catherine Gastador had obtained because of fears for her personal safety was living in the same apartment block in which her bloodied body was found Tuesday afternoon.
The Free Press has also learned police arrested the man on an unrelated matter the day after her slaying and, even though the Crown fought to keep him behind bars, he was released Thursday.
Gastador, 23, was found stabbed to death Tuesday afternoon inside her suite at 828 Preston Ave. Police haven't announced any arrests.
Court documents obtained Thursday by the Free Press show Gastador went to court in February 2007 and was granted a three-year order against the 33-year-old brother of her adopted mother. The order stated the man could not follow or communicate with her and had to stay more than 100 metres from where she lived.
She cited a series of violent incidents that left her fearing for her safety in a case that was eventually red-flagged by justice officials and referred to a provincial victim's services agency for follow-up investigation.
"I am concerned that he is able to use anything around him as a weapon. Especially if he had been drinking," Gastador wrote in her affidavit to a provincial magistrate. "I truly fear him. He is very violent, he has no respect for any of the family members... and he does not fear anyone. He has emotionally and physically hurt me and I want it to stop."
The granting of a protective order is not proof all allegations made in the affidavit are true, although it does mean the court found she had reasonable grounds to be concerned he was a risk to her safety.
The Free Press has learned the subject of the restraining order -- which expired in February 2010 -- was arrested Wednesday inside the same Wolseley complex where he'd been living with his 13-year-old son.
The now 36-year-old man had been wanted since last October on an outstanding warrant for assault causing bodily harm against a co-worker at a construction job site. Sources say it was only discovered and executed by police as part of the ongoing homicide investigation. The Crown fought to keep the man behind bars Thursday, citing other convictions for weapons and violence, but provincial court Judge Brian Corrin agreed to released him on several bail conditions. There was no mention by either Crown or defence lawyers about Gastador's slaying.
A resident of the building told the Free Press the man had been going around claiming he was in a relationship with Gastador, who is not a blood relative but would usually refer to him as her uncle. The pair were often spotted together. This came as news to Ed and Charito Gastador, who told the Free Press they had no idea the man was living so close to their daughter. They were equally shocked to learn Catherine had actually filed an affidavit in June 2007 in which she seemed to recant all of the earlier statements they helped her put down on paper about being afraid of the man.
"I'm thinking she got brainwashed," Ed Gastador said of his daughter, whom they adopted as a baby in the Philippines and brought to Canada at the age of eight. He said the family has lost touch with the man and haven't spoken to him in ages.
The Free Press obtained copies of both affidavits Catherine Gastador filed. In the original affidavit to obtain the order, Gastador said her uncle began beating her and pulling her hair following an argument that began inside a car after leaving her mother's birthday party. She said he had launched a similar attack weeks earlier while both were working inside the Merchant's Hotel on Selkirk; he as a bartender, she as a waitress. She said her uncle was drunk on the job and shoved her to the ground, choking her, when she asked him to fill a drink order.
Gastador then did a complete reversal with her follow-up affidavit.
"It was a mistake. I was also a bit intoxicated and I've recently learned that I too become a bit violent when I've had a few to drink. I believe that he was just holding me down from making violent moves towards him," she wrote.
She also cited concern the restraining order would prevent her uncle from attending an upcoming family wedding.
"He is my favourite uncle. He is a very giving and generous family member. He has helped each of us individually and because of my mistake, the people he has helped cannot even thank him in person on their wedding day," she wrote. She said her uncle is more "like one of my friends" who has played an important role in her life.
"He still acts young and cool but he also has taught me how to be responsible with a lot of things in my life. And more importantly he has taken time to help me grow up," she said.
A magistrate refused to rescind the original restraining order and instead referred the entire case to the provincial victim's services. It's not clear what, if anything, happened with the case from there. However, it never did return to court and the restraining order remained in place until it expired three months ago. Gastador was studying to advance her career in law and began working at Fillmore Riley this spring as a legal assistant.

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