Former Vic High teacher found guilty of criminal harassment

Provincial court judge calls Frank Canacari's testimony ridiculous, contrived and unbelievable

A former school teacher and administrator, who most recently worked at Vic High, has been found guilty on one count of criminal harassment and two counts of being unlawfully in a dwelling-house relating to incidents involving two women he briefly dated.

Francesco (Frank) Canacari was also acquitted of a second criminal harassment charge.

Provincial court Judge Lorna-Jeanne Harvey’s decision Friday stemmed heavily on her finding that Canacari’s testimony was “untrustworthy.” She didn’t mince words for Canacari, calling his perception of the events “ridiculous,” “contradictory,” “contrived and unbelievable.”

“I reject his evidence in its entirety,” Harvey said.

During his trial in June, Canacari’s former roommate, Terry Bogue, told the court he knew the allegations to be true because Canacari openly talked about breaking into the two women’s apartments, taking items and sending harassing phone calls and emails.

Canacari, during cross-examination, suggested Bogue was the one who had broken into the apartments and was harassing the women. Harvey said Bogue’s testimony was credible.

The single guilty count of criminal harassment stems from Canacari’s correspondence with Erin Meyer, a woman who wanted to be just friends.

When Meyer began dating another man, Canacari created an email account and began sending anonymous emails to Meyer, which suggested the author was watching and following her at her house and her new boyfriend’s house.

The first count of being unlawfully in a dwelling-house relates to Canacari entering Meyer’s home without her consent. Crown said Canacari entered the home to access Meyer’s personal email account, while Canacari said the front door was left open and he was there to retrieve a sentimental card and a sweater.

“The accused’s explanation of why (he was there) is nothing more than a fabrication concocted to the evidence,” Harvey said.

The second count of being unlawfully in a dwelling-house relates to Canacari entering the home of Tracy Gershman and taking photos of the inside of her apartment. The photos were taken with his personal camera.

Canacari said Bogue had access to his camera and was likely the one who went to Gershman’s home and took the photos.

After Harvey read her decision, defence lawyer Jeff Johnston declined to comment on the ruling.

Phil Saunders, a friend of Canacari, spoke afterwards on behalf of Canacari.

“This is a good guy who made some mistakes,” Saunders said. “I’ve known Frank a long time and I don’t see him like that; I just don’t. So there’s no question, hearing the evidence, that mistakes were made. We’re all human.”

Crown prosecutor Chandra Fisher requested a risk assessment be completed on Canacari before he is sentenced. A date to fix his sentencing hearing will be scheduled later this month.

Canacari, 46, has been on unpaid medical leave from the Greater Victoria School District since June 2010, and he no longer holds a teaching certificate. Prior to coming to Victoria, Canacari

worked as a school administrator in Ontario.

kslavin@saanichnews.com