Wednesday night Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale was confronted by Mayor Rob Ford behind Ford's home. During the incident Dale's Blackberry was left at the scene with Ford retrieving it.
That cell phone was used prior to being handed over to the police after it left Dale's possession.
Daniel Dale says he was on public land researching a story about Ford's request to buy park land when the mayor approached him Wednesday night around 8:00 p.m. He said that the mayor was threatening and demanded that Dale drop his Blackberry and recorder. Dale has said that the cell phone's battery had died at about 7:50 p.m.
Ford has stated that he was alerted by neighbours that someone was taking photos of his backyard and that he went to investigate finding Daniel Dale. Dale was known to Ford from his work as a City Hall reporter at the Toronto Star. Ford says he never demanded that Dale hand over his cell phone and that the reporter dropped his Blackberry on his own accord. Police were called to the scene at 8:10 p.m.
The police are currently investigating this case of "he said, he said" but in the end Daniel Dale left the area after dropping his Blackberry. At about 8:45 p.m. the Blackberry was handed over to the Toronto Police, who currently have the device as part of the current investigation.
Between the time that the Blackberry was dropped and then turned over to at least one phone call was made using the device at 8:37 p.m.
Toronto Star spokesperson Bob Hepburn said Friday during a phone interview that he is not certain if the Blackberry is the property of the Toronto Star but that the Star does provide Blackberrys and iPhones to their reporters who need them. He confirmed that the police currently have possession of the device.
Hepburn said that the Toronto Star is cooperating fully with the Toronto Police on this case. On Wednesday night the police interviewed Daniel Dale at the Toronto Star about the incident. Hepburn was not present for that meeting but a lawyer from the Star was present with Dale.
"Dale answered all questions asked of him by the police as far as I know," Hepburn said. Dale was under oath during the questioning session and stated he was not on cinder blocks looking into the backyard of Mayor Ford. He also told police under oath that Ford's fist was drawn and that he was scared during the encounter. There are no charges at this point being laid against the reporter.
"Daniel told me he was scared," Hepburn said adding that "Daniel is not a big guy and well Ford is significantly larger."
Daniel Dale was and is assigned to the City Hall desk Hepburn said and that his position remains as it always has.
When asked if the Star plans on pressing charges of their own Hepburn firmly stated, "We are not pressing charges."
It is thought that Ford could have used Dale's phone prior to handing it over to the police. According to Dale the device was without power at the time of the confrontation which means that Ford would have had to have charged the device on his own. It takes just a few minutes to charge up a Blackberry so this is a possibility.
If Dale's story is correct and Ford used force or intimidation to obtain the phone the Blackberry in question would be considered to be property obtained by crime.
The real story of the Blackberry will not be known until the investigation has been completed. There is no time frame on the investigation.