The Regina Leader-Post reported Monday that the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench reduced the banishment condition of a peace bond issued to Gerald Klein in August 2010. The banishment from the city of Regina was the result of a Saskatchewan Provincial Court decision regarding the Crown’s request for a renewal of peace bond ordering Klein to stay away from Cathy Kaip, the woman he has harassed for over 35 years. After this week’s decision, Klein can return to Regina but his movement is limited to certain areas of the city.
At first glance, the use of banishment as part of a peace bond seems to be, if not cruel— then certainly unusual—punishment. Regina Provincial Court Judge Dennis Fenwick admitted as much in his decision, but pointed to the fact that there is precedent for such an order. However, when Klein’s history of harassing Ms. Kaip is taken into consideration the use of banishment was an appropriate measure for such an unusual case. This week’s Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench decision is a mistake and is tantamount to the state sanctioning Klein’s continuing harassment of Ms. Kaip.
In order to understand the necessity for banishment in this case, Gerald Klein’s 35-year harassment of Cathy Kaip must be taken into account. This is a case so unusual that it could not have been foreseen by lawmakers; it is singular enough to warrant such an usual judicial measure.
Gerald Klein and Cathy Kaip met at a wedding in 1974 and went for coffee once afterward. Unfortunately for Ms. Kaip, this encounter led to Klein’s belief that she had promised to marry him and started his obsession with her. Over the last 36 years, Klein has stalked Ms. Kaip and harangued her with 4 frivolous lawsuits claiming breach of promise and even perjury. His civil suits only stopped once a court order was issued preventing him from bringing any more without the leave of the court.
In 2003, Klein was finally convicted of criminal harassment and breaching a 1998 order not to contact Kaip. He was imprisoned and released in 2006, subject to a peace bond to stay away from Ms. Kaip.
Throughout the course of his harassment Klein has expressed no remorse and considers himself the victim. His behaviour was described in a 2006 Saskatchewan Court of Appeal decision as “self-rightous, God-is-on-my-side, aggressiveness.” He has shown no willingness to cease his harassment of Ms. Kaip and has consistently breached court orders for him to stay away from her and her family.
Thus, the context of Justice Fenwick’s decision to impose a one-year banishment on Mr. Klein is one of last resort. In that decision, Fenwick called Ms. Kaip “a shattered woman” and asked “Hasn’t the time come that the worry should fall on him and not her?”
Considering that even incarceration didn’t quell Mr. Klein’s harassment of Ms. Kaip, what more could to courts do to protect her safety?
The lack of respect Mr. Klein has shown for past court orders makes this week’s decision to allow him back into Regina all the more troubling. Regina Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Frank Gerein allowed Klein’s appeal because Justice Fenwick expanded the boundaries beyond the smaller area that had been jointly requested by Crown and defence lawyers.
Considering the risk to Ms. Kaip created by allowing Mr. Klein back into the city, this seems a little feeble. Justice Gerein called the banishment “excessive and unduly harsh,” which would be true in most cases. However, it is arguable that this case is so unique that it justifies such unusual measures. It is simply impossible for the law to be crafted in such a way that it encompasses circumstances such as these and, as such, a little judicial creativity is warranted.
Moreover, what message does this decision send to Ms. Kaip about the justice system’s willingness to protect her?
Because this case is so unusual, it is unlikely that it opens the door to an increased use of banishment as a punishment. With this week’s decision, the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench has ensured that Gerald Klein’s harassment of Cathy Kaip will continue.