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James Regan is accused of being a gentleman con artist, talking his way into Toronto's high society. But he is not violent, his lawyer says
James Regan, the man who allegedly talked his way into Toronto’s high society – using private clubs, cars and luxury apartments all without paying — was cleared of assaulting his former landlord.
An Ontario court judge acquitted Regan of the assault charge in September after finding inconsistencies in witness testimony. Now, Regan’s lawyer is on a campaign to rehabilitate his client’s image. “Mr. Regan, although a man with an awful reputation, is not a danger to anyone,” the lawyer, Michael Fairney, wrote in a letter to the National Post this week.
Since 2016, Regan – a bespectacled older gentleman with fine white hair – has been beset by multiple news reports detailing allegations of deception that spanned more than a decade. Landlords claimed he owed them tens of thousands of dollars in rent arrears. Private clubs banned him, so did the Air Canada Centre after Regan allegedly approached players and executives with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the National Post reported in an October 2016 feature, “The Society Crasher.”
In September, 2016, Regan ‘s former landlord Lucy Chik said she saw a report about him on CBC News. She said she went to warn his current landlord only to find Regan entering his apartment at a house in a posh neighbourhood on Avenue Road. When she confronted him about the money he owed her, she said Regan punched and kicked her.
Regan was charged with assault in November. While he was initially granted bail, he was jailed after he was twice accused of breaching the conditions of his bail that forbid him from making contact with both his former and current landlord – both of whom were called as witnesses.
A photo of James Francis Regan, 62, released by police.
Fairney said Regan refused the prospect of a guilty plea, preferring instead to stay in jail for months while awaiting trial. At trial in September, Judge Ford Clements said issues with the testimony of two witnesses called by the crown.
One inconsistency, he said, was Chik’s claim that after she was assaulted, Regan entered his apartment and she pursued, banging on the door. But a witness, Robin Ennis, said she heard a scream and looked to find Chik on the ground, not at the door. “(Ennis) comes around the corner and Ms. Chik is on the ground, but she’s already been banging on the door. How does she get to the ground at that point?”
“I can’t say beyond a reasonable doubt that I’m persuaded that the assault exactly happened in the way it was described to me or at all. Accordingly, Mr. Regan you’re acquitted.”
Of the two charges for failing to comply with bail, one was dropped. In the other, Regan was found guilty and recieved a conditional discharge, his lawyer said.
Regan is still facing three charges for allegedly defrauding three landlords, including Chik and Ennis, between 2014 and 2016. Fairney said Regan denies the allegations and plans to contest them in court.
Meantime, Fairney said it is “impossible” for Regan to find a job or a place to live, taking issue with the fact that there was widespread media coverage of Regan’s assault charge, but none on his acquittal.
“People are afraid of him now,” Fairney said in an interview. “It’s been very difficult because what happens is landlords, real estate agents they Google his name and they want nothing to do with him.”
http://nationalpost.com/news/toronto/ja ... r-landlord
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