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The Judicial Manslaughter of Mark Edward Dexel


2 February 2003

Dead Men Can't Cry ... Any More

The Judicial Manslaughter of Mark Edward Dexel

BC Father Blames Biased 'Family' Court for His Suicide

On Thursday, January 23, 2003, another BC father committed suicide. Mark Edward Dexel, 42, took the only exit some fathers can find when tortured by the most prejudicially biased judicial system ever known to Canada.

In despair of never seeing his son again, he hung himself in a Kamloops motel.

The day before, Mark had told his girlfriend, and other friends among the local support group, Parents of Broken Families, that he was going to Vancouver to visit his parents. This unexpected tragedy has been a bitter blow to his girl, his family, and his friends from Parents of Broken Families. It has shocked and outraged non-custodial parents groups across Canada.

It is a haunting echo of the death of Darren White in Prince George two years ago.

On Friday, the RCMP found Mark's body with a note in which he blamed the judges and lawyers in particular, and the injustice of the 'Family Court' system in general. On that Wednesday, Mark had also told to a friend in the group that it was the one-year anniversary since he had last seen his 3-year old son. Mark added that he would again have to appear in court on January the 29th. His series of court appearances had spanned a full year, and in all those appearances Mark had gained no relief at all from his acute pain at being maliciously shut out of his son's life.

The stresses of the adversarial system of justice, the humiliation of his abuse in court, and the helpless longing for his missing son combined to form a lethal depression that led Mark to take his leave of the torture.

It's an experience many non-custodial parents are put through at the hands of the divorce industry, but Mark's experience was particularly brutal and relentless.

Mark was aware of the introduction of Bill C-22, a projected legislation that makes the family law system even more adversarial, and offers no hope for the future of split families. He had hope that the 1998 bi-partisan joint Parliamentary report on Reform of the Divorce Act might have offered a more equitable status to fathers in family court. The betrayal of this promise by the Federal government was on his mind at the time he despaired of the struggle.

Mark was a loving father of five children and had all reason to live. He was actively involved in the lives of his children from previous relationships. He had amicable arrangements with their mothers to see them.

He made his living running his own business building log furniture, and also as a computer salesman. However, the stresses and time demands of the litigation forced him to give up his work in the effort to to get his baby boy back into his life.

All who knew Mark described him as an affable man who frequently showed up in court to support others. He was crushed by an irresponsible comment from a judge in a previous hearing, who told Mark that any access was up to his ex-wife and her lawyer. Mark considered that man an unscrupulous solicitor who had managed to have all his access suspended. Even if the judge may have been legally allowed to make such a comment, it is a reflection of how insensitive and out of touch with the needs of children and their parents the court system really is. Nevertheless, Mark seemed to hold on to hope, and he was still going back to court to have it rectified.

The rate of suicide increases 4-fold for fathers following separation or divorce. It can be easily understood how this stressful experience was particularly devastating for this devoted father, who had committed no crime and done no harm, and yet ...

Parents, grandparents and children rights advocates are blaming the government for this, and all those other deaths by suicide that have occurred as a result of the refusal to reform the present system.

Separated parents groups are bitter in the belief that if the proposed reforms had been implemented in 1998, when they were defined and recommended by the Joint Senate Committees report [whose title is] "For the Sake of the Children", Mark's life would not have been wasted and five children would still be enjoying the love and care of their adoring father.

Furthermore, after the death of Darren White, the government has already been presented with studies linking the adversarial system of justice to suicides by parents being abused by it. It is inexcusable for the government not to stop this bloodshed and the subsequent pain and irreparable loss to the children, especially since these tragedies are being repeated daily across Canada.

Bill C-22 is understood among non-custodial parents as a fraud perpetrated by vested interests within the government, and it is the source of great anger against the Minister of Justice for his betrayal. On this tragic but predictably inevitable occasion, groups across Canada may rally behind the grief experienced by Mark's family, his children and friends, and express their renewed anger at the complicity of the Federal government in perpetuating this inequity at law.

To Mr. Cauchon, Attorney General of Canada: We, as grandparents, parents, second wives and children's rights organizations all across Canada say:

Stop playing politics with the hearts, souls and minds of our children, and stop ruining their parents. Stop the divorce industry from exploiting our kids! Look to their welfare; that is your duty.

For further information, please contact:

Todd Eckert (250) 554-1418 or 250-314-7722

President Parent and Child Advocacy Coalition
Past President of Parents Coalition of British Columbia
Member Parents of Broken Families
Spokesman for the Dexel family (by their permission), and
Personal Friend of the late Mark Edward Dexel

"We will miss you always."


I would urge you to drop a few lines to those responsible for marks demise.

The Federal Minister of Justice
The Honourable Martin Cauchon

The Premier of British Columbia

Of British Columbia

And of course the Judges.  I know the name of one.

Judge Blair
The Supreme Court of British Columbia
223 - 455 Columbia Street,
Kamloops, B.C. V2C 6K4

Kamloops This Week - Letters To The Editor

February 12, 2003



Thank you for the article you printed on the death of my son, Mark Dexel.

I had given permission that his name and story could be used if it could call attention to the terrible pain inflicted by the injustice of access to a father’s children being denied him.

My son only wanted an hour a week (or less) to see his son and maintain some kind of a paternal relationship with his little boy. The suggestion he might in any way harm his boy was ludicrous. He loved his son and I loved mine.

However, the justice system cared nothing for his pain and he felt ridiculed because he was unable to afford a lawyer and sought to represent himself in court.

If his story could ever result in moving forward the seeking of equal rights for both parents and leave room for a child to have and know both of them, then I am glad that it was published.

Thank You.

Rev. Irvin Dexel



February 12, 2003


I applaud your newspaper for the courage to report the unfortunate death of Mark Dexel.

My heart goes out to the family and friends of Mark.

I live in Prince George and the death of Mark has brought back painful memories of Darin White’s (whom I knew) suicide. I will never forget the totally defeated look Darin had in the days just preceding his death.

As a mother and grandmother, I have lived through indescribable worry when my son and his ex-wife split. Parents and anyone close to someone who has gone through family court know the horrors which can occur.

It is time more information of these situations is brought forward.

Hopefully, things will change in the court system and soon there will be no need to have articles such as the one you have written.

Donna Casacove

Prince George

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Posted 2003 02 03
2003 02 13 (added two letters to the editor)
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