In February 2011, newspapers across Canada boasted an article on the expertise of the ITV Consulting team.
ITV is a private outfit made up of two retired Saanich, B.C. police officers, Don Wiebe and Robert Wall, together with an active Saanich Police Det. Sgt. Craig Sampson, (lead investigator in the Lindsay Buziak murder case), and an American counterpart D. Glenn Foster.
Credit for the article’s given to Katie De Rosa of the Victoria, British Columbia-based Times Colonist newspaper (see “Detection Deception: Sniffing Out Liars – Part I“). De Rosa explains how the ITV team’s techniques help other officers solve cases across North America and cites two recent high-profile cases:
1) Russell Williams – a sociopathic killer whose horrific crimes – fresh in the minds of many Canadians – include the break-enter and sexual assaults of Laurie Massicotte, a woman identified as Jane Doe, and the slayings of Marie-France Comeau and Jessica Lloyd
2) Munawar Toha – who murdered his wife, Surya Sari Prihatin Toha, and made headlines from Coral Springs, Florida across the USA
De Rosa’s article dedicates hundreds of words to describing these cases and associating them with ITV.
ITV, however, which promotes a generic “detection deception method” and a discredited “truth verification” device known as the CVSA (Computerized Voice Stress Analyzer) had no involvement in either case.
Police profilers and others working on the Ontario case involving Russell Williams carried out their investigation and interrogation without any input from ITV. OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) Detective Sergeant Jim Smyth, who obtained a confession from the killer Williams over the course of a ten-hour session (on February 7, 2010), and the team around him have developed their own expertise over many, collective, years.
Since 1952, when the study of non-verbal “body language” was coined “Kinesics” and introduced by Ray Birdwhistell, kinesic interview techniques have become standard in police interviews and interrogations and for some businesses in screening prospective employees.
When it comes to the case of Munawar Toha, the leap to linking ITV appears even more obviously misleading.
De Rosa posits the Toha case as an example of the ITV team’s expertise aiding homicide investigators in the USA – explaining how Wiebe and Wall were asked to look at a TV video-tape of Toha in which the Florida man expressed grief over his wife’s disappearance and claimed: “To tell the truth, I don’t have a clue where she is”. Detectives Wiebe and Wall told De Rosa that “to tell the truth” is a tell-tale phrase. By studying clues in the tape they were able to conclude that Toha was lying.
“Toha was eventually charged with his wife’s murder”, notes De Rosa.
The reality is that Florida investigators intensively collected evidence after the 41-year-old Surya and her 2001 Silver Daewoo car were last seen on March 23, 2010. On Monday, April 5, 2010 Surya’s husband Munawar made his televised plea for her return. He actually said: “The truth is, I have no clue where she is at the moment.”
Mere hours after this televised plea, police recovered Surya’s body from her car submerged in Crystal Lake. They’d been led to the discovery by surveillance tape from a CCTV camera which shows a man, apparently Toha, pushing the Daewoo containing Surya’s body through a gap in a fence and into the watery grave.
Munawar Toha was arrested and charged with Surya’s murder on Tuesday, April 6, 2010 – only 24 hours after his TV plea.
Thus, at some undetermined date after Toha was charged with murdering his wife, Wiebe and Wall were able to conclude he’s a liar.
In rustic North American parlance: “No shit, Sherlock!”
Is Katie De Rosa’s puff-piece on ITV bad journalism? Undoubtedly. But, who fed the reporter the information for publication? And, once it appeared in newspapers across the country of Canada, did ITV make an effort to correct the public record? Did they write a letter to the editor saying it’s not right that we get any credit by association with cases in which we had no actual involvement?
Or, did they post the misleading coverage on their website? In multiple form.
To be continued…