Regina vs. Pieckenhagen
Pieckenhagaens and Police Power
The Crown charged the Pieckenhagens with stealing $3 million from his father-in-law who had, over time, liquidated his European assets and transferred the money to Ontario through a Liechtenstein company. The Pieckenhagens wired the money to Panama City, Florida, then flew down, picked up the money and went off to Brazil.
This looked bad! And this time their defense counsel, Clay Powell retained me.
I offer a couple of observations from the 1977 trial:
It was the first time I had seen an expert accounting witness cross-examined and destroyed – – yet in a way that had the expert leaving the witness box in the belief he had performed very well.
The defense side is actually a lot of fun, as counsel works to identify the other expert’s omissions or biased interpretations. I also experienced the negative effect of police power and to this day appreciate the need for the prosecution to be held always to the task of establishing evidence beyond a reasonable doubt in order to secure a conviction. It was also a learning experience to spend time with the accused who were acquitted – – as a useful reminder of the human element in any case.