Jun. 21, 2002. 01:00 AM
Spanking case pastor testifies
Child agency seeks supervision
By Kate Harries
ST. THOMAS, Ont. — A key witness in a trial over a fundamentalist Christian family's use of corporal punishment took the stand yesterday.
The pastor of the Aylmer Church of God Restoration played a central role in the events of July 4, 2001, when seven children from his congregation were dragged kicking and screaming from their home by police and social workers. The pastor, who cannot be named until he has finished testifying, was questioned for nearly two hours by Michael Menear, lawyer for the father in the case.
It's expected he'll spend most of the day on the stand when the trial resumes next Wednesday; he is to be cross-examined by Alfred Mamo, acting for Family and Children's Services of St. Thomas and Elgin County.
Speaking so fast that interpreters and court reporters had a hard time keeping up, the pastor talked of his feelings that day and his subsequent actions in relation to the family, the child welfare agency and the media.
Earlier, the father completed his testimony.
The agency is seeking a 12-month supervision order of the children, who were returned home July 26 under court-sanctioned conditions. Lawyers for the parents and the children oppose any supervision order.