Monday, January 6, 2014

Judiciary not up for debate

   Have you ever attended a day in court, or seen how cases are routinely handled by the court?
I have, and I must say, the process is much more involved than reading the outcome of a court case in a newspaper.
The whole notion of seeing justice done, has a connotation as to administering justice to whom?
Remember, justice for a victim, an accused, and those that represent their clients respectively-are varied.
Of course in all of this melée we have a federal government who enacts popular laws without thinking about its consequences...
    Again, I am of the view that the judicial system, including the Supreme Court of Canada are “victims” if I may be so bold to use the term, to whatever lunacy may be introduced and legislated by a majority government.
In this instance the use of the Red Chamber would be most appropriate and should be used as a template; to negate rules of law that are not designed to assist all those who abide within Canadian society.
    Some exclaim that it is not the purview of the judiciary to “pick and choose’ which law they’ll enforce”.
They admit that a Supreme Court ruling might be in order to provide the final say; as to what judges can and cannot do while applying the laws of this country.
    I don’t know about you, but that seems a little bit hypocritical.
There has to be common sense and a good deal of reflective thought when our members of parliament invoke new laws designed to “protect us all”, and that would mean the offenders themselves.
Is justice served when a judge imposes (or not) a three year prison term for the possession of a prohibited firearm?
    I dare you to make a verdict based on this fact alone.
There are more than meets the eye when sentencing issues are concerned. My mind returns to Joe Spence who was the victim of a brutal assault last year.
I wonder if adding the mandatory “victim fine surcharge” in Spence’s case would have given him the added sentiment that the newly Conservative legislation in this case, would have offered him any additional sense of “justice being served”.
    Are we so quick to render judgement on those who have fallen?
Those who do not fit into the ‘cookie cutter’ have a way to find themselves in front of a judge. They are the most vulnerable, the dispossessed, those who are marginalized.
The truth of the matter is that the consequences of any law being broken in Canada are impacting us all.
Those that take part in the process, such as Spence and his family, have to adapt and survive knowing that forgiveness and not retribution-will heal. 
Those that have perpetrated the crime, take part in the process as having to acknowledge that the pain, suffering and possible loss of life inflicted to the victim is forever.
    I don’t know if I would have the means to dispense judgement to those that deserve of far worse and to those that deserve far less.
Is love stronger than hate? Is the ability to forgive deemed a weakness versus the ability to punish a virtue?
    You see, our judiciary are instructed to follow the law. They also must take into consideration the merits of the case, the victim impact statements and the court discovery of the perpetrator.
    In matters of indigenous cases, the Gladue decision instructs the court to further examine the issue, and therefore temper any verdict accordingly.
We can be disappointed when we are informed of certain cases in the media being misappropriated either by the Crown or by a sentencing judge.
We can argue why such a decision was made at all, but with respect to placing blame?
Does that have to be part of the equation?
    We all have responsibilities towards one another. Take for instance the poor fellows freezing and taking refuge within the doors of the RBC bank here in The Pas.
Giving them a few dollars to eat, perhaps a warm beverage might be enough for them to feel that someone cares enough to offer assistance.
This in turn might give that person pause, reflect, and maybe stop them from doing something (criminal act) that has a more lasting impact on us all.
    Some of you might find this over simplistic, or even ridiculous. Why should we help them at all?
For those of you who feel that it is not your responsibility to offer assistance to people in need, to those who you feel should be taking their lives by the ‘boot straps” and make better decisions....Make one yourselves.
Perhaps having judges refuse to apply laws newly introduced by any federal government would give me pause as an ordinary Canadian to ask questions.
Laws in themselves are not foolproof, and those that have not taken the time or the effort to evaluate what any new legislation might have on the judiciary-is irresponsible.
    I don’t make any pretense to know all point of law; but when tenured judges across Canada articulate their concerns, and act accordingly to the merits of the facts and to their conscience-we need to listen.
It is not a case of wanting to have it all. I would be very leery of any government obsessed with shoving newly minted legislation down the pike.
    Undermining the confidence of the public buy not imposing the mandatory minimum sentencing, or not invoking the victim fine surcharge, is not it.
What undermine the justice system are legislative laws that make no sense, or are created to appease those who are like minded.
    What erodes confidence in the justice system is the absence of due process, of effective time lines, and proper sentencing options which mitigates the suffering and loss on all fronts.
What angers Canadians …having to endure the rants of extremism's, politicians, and special interest groups who claim to know best and tell us not to think for ourselves.

When courts of law have to pronounce; we as a society have failed.

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