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The Greater Threat To Justice Is Our Justice System

iStock_000016295895XSmallCrime, the experts will tell you, is decreasing in Canada and they have the statistics to prove it. What they won’t tell you is that those statistics are based on reported crimes, not all of the crimes that actually take place. If there is an assault that does not result in charges – it didn’t happen.

They also won’t tell you that how the statistics are interpreted very much depends on how crime is categorized. Simply moving one type of crime from one category to another can have a dramatic change in how the stats appear. Reclassifying bullying from assault to youth crime drops the assault statistics.

Statistics are a wonderful thing and can be used to prove almost anything. I know this because I worked with statistics most of my career and once demonstrated to a large and somewhat incredulous audience just how easy it was to successfully argue opposite sides of an issue using the same set of stats.

The simple truth is that crime is not decreasing and we are not safer than we were.

Crime, particularly violent crime, is on the increase and not simply because of social issues like poverty, mental illness, immigration or all the other things people point to when discussing crime’s root causes. Crime is increasing in direct proportion to a decreasing lack of respect for the law.

Nowhere is that lack of respect for law more prevalent than with those we entrust to administer our laws.

Our legal system is under attack by police, politicians, judges and crown attorneys who increasingly ignore the letter of the law in favour of their individual discretionary interpretation of its application. It has led to uneven administration of the law across the country based on everything from age, economic and social status to race and jurisdiction.

The police routinely decide which laws and court orders to enforce or ignore while crown attorneys are quick to plea bargain and courts too wiling to consider the accused social or racial circumstances rather than the injury done to the victim or society.

It is commonplace that a person convicted of a crime in one part of the country will receive a far more severe sentence than a person convicted of the same crime in another. Defense attorneys know this and where the charges are multi-jurisdictional, the first thing they try to do is have the case tried in the most lenient jurisdiction.

Courts issue injunctions which the police refuse to enforce. This too often includes court orders in cases where women are threatened by a boyfriend or husband but most notable lately are court orders for aboriginal protesters to end illegal blockades.

We saw a severe example of this at Caledonia where police allowed aboriginal protesters to not only blockade a housing project but to intimidate and even assault legal home owners.

The aboriginal protests at Oka and Ipperwash changed how police deal with these situations. Out of fear for escalation of the situation, they have opted to  allow the protests to run their course. But as seen in Caledonia, sometimes the situation escalates on its own and innocent people become the victims of serious crime while the police do nothing.

When did application of criminal law and enforcing court orders become discretionary?

We’ve seen too many examples of police forces standing by impotently and even violating our laws in the name of cultural sensitivity or out of fear of escalating a situation.

In Vancouver, the police were completely unprepared and did nothing to stop a riot following an NHL hockey game that resulted in millions of dollars in damages to public and private property. The only reason charges were eventually laid was because many of the rioters were stupid enough to post pictures of themselves on their Facebook pages. The police did virtually nothing the night of the riot. People were hurt. Cars were burned. Property was vandalized and stores were looted as the police watched.

In Toronto this week, police conducted a sweep search of a social housing complex following yet another gun fight in a residential neighbourhood. They only searched public areas but were able to find significant stashes of weapons and illegal drugs. Oh my – what a surprise. People associated with social housing neighbourhoods have been reporting increasing crime for years but the police had to be prompted by a gun fight to actually take action and do a little investigating.

The simple truth is that the emphasis on application of the law has shifted.

The police devote more resources to traffic enforcement than to crime prevention. Their anti-gang, anti-Internet crime and other serious crime units are small; so small that in many cases combined they don’t equal the number of officers that are dedicated to ensuring citizens don’t run stop signs.

Oh sure, they’ll point to their community relations programs, their anti-bullying campaigns and cultural sensitivity programs but criminals don’t usually attend those meetings. Street gangs could care less how many times the police meet with community representatives to discuss neighbourhood watch or community-based policing; they’re busy with their business of breaking the law to make money and settle scores.

The emphasis has shifted so far to the side of the social issues related to crime that the police have forgotten that one of the most obvious methods of preventing crime is a significant police presence and high profile patrols in high crime areas.

What is happening to our legal system isn’t merely the fault of police however.

More money is being spent in Manitoba on an enquiry into the private sex life of a judge than on anti-gang initiatives. Personally, I don’t care if the judge swings naked upside down from a chandelier in the dining room screaming, “Do me you big stud!” her particular erotic proclivities have no effect on the safety or security of my family or my country.

But an even, consistent application and respect for our laws does and too many in our legal system are violating both.

Judging from editorials, blog posts and comments on social media, it is clear that many think that we are evolving into a two-tier legal system; one application of our laws for culturally sensitive groups and situations and a different application for the rest of us.

I would submit that, in fact, we have a multi-tiered and discretionary system. The elite face one type of justice, white collar criminals face a different type, protesters in general too often get a free pass and specific racial protesters almost always walk away.

Students protests in Quebec over proposed tuition increases which eventually costs the province $90 million – ignored by the police.

Those same students go into CEGEPS and Colleges intimidating other students attending class – ignored by police.

Aboriginal protesters block rail lines and tamper with signal switches – ignored by police.

Toronto City Council this week passed a motion to declare the city a sanctuary for illegal aliens in direct opposition to Canada’s immigration laws.

The federal government refuses to evenly apply the law when dealing with Canadians convicted of crimes in other countries. Some receive immediate grant to serve their sentence in Canada, others are refused the same right.

Aboriginal protesters drive to Windsor to blockade and shut down a border crossing – the police close the highway so that they can reach the protest on time.

Tamils protest illegally in Ottawa over issues related to their homeland. They create a disturbance and snarl traffic for hours – ignored by police. (try getting a few of your friends together to dance through a couple of downtown streets impeding traffic and see how long it is before your arrested.)

Cyclists weave in and out of traffic, drive the wrong way down one-way streets, ride on sidewalks – ignored by police. Cycling is too politically correct to have the Traffic Act applied to it.

In Quebec, the language rights of minorities, including English, which are guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms are trampled by the provincial government with the tacit support of the Government of Canada and all political parties.

A shoplifter continually robs a small green grocer in Toronto’s Chinatown. The store owner finally gives chase, catches the thief, ties him up and calls police – the police charge the store owner with kidnapping, the Crown Attorney makes a deal with the thief to testify against the store owner.

Protesters demonstrate in front of Sun News Media in Toronto. When a journalist comes down to interview protesters and they get upset by his presence – the police harass the journalist and try to force him to leave.

Human Rights Tribunals offer up quasi-judicial proceedings that are heavily weighted in favour of the plaintiff and against the defendant, going so far as to provide funding for those who wish to file a complaint while leaving those who are charged to pay for their own costs. Their findings are often based on politically correct interpretations of social issues rather than legal interpretations of the law.

A home owner is faced with a home invasion by two armed intruders and uses his legally owned gun to repel the invasion. The police arrest the home owner, the Crown charges him.

The court issues an injunction to end an illegal blockade at DeBeers near Attawapiskat – the provincial police refuse to enforce the court order.

In another small city in Northern Ontario, the police are called to end an illegal blockade by aboriginal protesters – the sergeant in charge joins the aboriginal drum circle.

Police in Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Regina and other cities are increasingly being charged with excessive use of force. In Ottawa, a former RCMP officer and his wife stand charged with failing to provide the necessities of life, assault and sexual assault of their 11 year old son who they kept chained in the basement of their home. In British Columbia, the federal police force is accused of systemic violence and rape against aboriginal women.

Virtually every one of us is aware of too many examples of misuse of authority, inconsistent application of our laws and judicial findings that make no sense at all including this recent ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada.

A woman was convicted of trying to hire a hit man to kill her ex-husband. Unfortunately for her, the alleged hit man was an undercover police officer. She was charged, tried and convicted. During her trial, she tried the battered woman defense, accusing her ex-husband of being abusive. No evidence whatsoever was entered to support her claim and her ex-husband was never called to testify.

Despite this, the Supreme Court ruled that while she was guilty, her conviction would be set aside because of the abusive nature of her ex. There was no evidence of abuse beyond her accusation – no record of abuse having ever been previously reported, no evidence of domestic disputes. Indeed, the provincial court awarded custody of the couple’s children to the ex-husband because it deemed the mother to be unfit. Still, the Supreme Court set her free and further ordered that she could not be retried.

“Ere he shall lose an eye for such a trifle… For doing deeds of nature! I’m ashamed. The law is such an ass.” – George Chapman in 1654 – Revenge for Honour

It isn’t the law that is an ass – it is its inconsistent application by those who are entrusted to ensure that it is applied evenly for the protection of society. The law was enacted by the people’s Parliament. Police, crown attorneys and judges were hired and appointed to enforce and administer those laws – not to interpret and apply them at their convenience. Politicians were elected to enact laws to protect society and to ensure that those who administer our justice system do so fairly, evenly and consistently.

There are many police officers, crown attorneys and judges who are sincere in their attempts to administer our laws. They are as frustrated by the shift in how the law is applied as most citizens and by those who put political correctness and social and cultural expediency ahead of the law’s consistent application.

To many misuse their discretionary authority to the point where they begin to think that they are the law rather than the guarantors of its even application.

Serious crime increasingly goes unreported, unpunished or not punished to the full extent of the law while millions are spent enforcing traffic laws and petty crimes. Police, often supported by municipal and provincial politicians, take the position that less damage is done when a protest is allowed to run its course peacefully rather than stepping in and applying the law to end it.

They are wrong. By allowing illegal protests that violate our laws, they encourage those who would break our laws and that leads to a breakdown in respect for law and order. We have the right to protest in this country. We do not have the right to vandalize, intimidate, bully and interfere in the lives of others. By permitting that to happen, the police shift the balance from protecting the innocent to enabling the law breakers.

This leads to a lack of respect by criminals for our laws and a lack of respect for, and confidence in, those who administer our criminal justice system by every day citizens. When ‘we the people’ stop respecting the very people we hire to administer our laws, respect for thee law itself soon follows and that serves no one well.

What is needed is a return to an old fashioned idea that the law applies to everyone and will be applied evenly. Priorities need to be realigned from generating cash through traffic tickets to high profile police presence to reduce the incidence of violent and property crime. Violent offenders need to be treated firmly in court when found guilty and community-based policing needs to realign to community-protect policing.

We need fewer ‘experts’ telling us about the causes of crime and more simple, honest application of our laws by those we hire to administer them and we need our police and courts to get united in application of our laws rather than working at cross purposes with each other. This means that the police have to step back from their ‘crowd management’ approach at protests and be prepared to act as law enforcement officers by serving and enforcing legal court orders.

Justice is intended to be blind but as long as it is considered to be the purview of those who enforce it and remains overly influenced by race, culture, social standing and politically correct expediency, it will continue to be anything but blind or properly and evenly applied.

In a just society, the law applies evenly and fairly to all regardless of background, social or economic standing. In a society where the law is applied selectively, there is a growing lack of respect for the law and for those who are meant to uphold it. When those who enforce and administer our laws are the cause of the lack of respect for our law – there is no law and that undermines the very core of our social structure.

No one should be above the law. Justice that treats some differently than others is not just. When justice is no longer blind, fair or equal it is no longer justice; it is a weapon used by some against others specifically and society generally.

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© 2013 Maggie’s Bear
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The written content of this article is the sole property of Maggie’s Bear but a link to it may be shared by those who think it may be of interest to others

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  • http://clickforu.com/blog/64547/amazines-free-education-article-database-for-february-2011/ Crystle

    I tend not to comment, but I browsed a few of the remarks here The
    Greater Threat To Justice Is Our Justice System | A Bear’s Rant. I do have a couple of questions for you if you do not mind. Could it be only me or do some of these responses come across as if they are left by brain dead people? :-P And, if you are writing on additional online sites, I’d
    like to keep up with you. Could you make a list of all of all your
    shared sites like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

    • http://abearsrant.com thebear

      Some of the comments that get left in a day – too many in fact – are spam. Various other sites try to link to this site through the comments section. Many, although not all, are from Asia or South America. There English is somewhat limited and their comments, therefore, sometimes a bit bizarre. Others come from the States and Europe; better English, same stupid comments. We weed out and block as many as we can each day but a few always get through which means we spend part of the day cleaning out the site and adding more URLs to the spam blocker list.it’s a never ending job.

      You can link to me on both Twitter and Facebook by scrolling to the bottom of the page on any post.

  • http://bibotv.com/show/hotel-hell watch stream

    nice

  • old white guy

    you said alot. i am tired of criminals not being prosecuted for their action. those criminals are indians who block roads and mines and railroads. they are also the thugs who riot after a sports event. the gangs that are growing in cities around the country seem to be untouchable. there will be no change in the current system until we elect people who will fire the people who will not enforce the law. we need to pinish before we rehabilitate. in my opinion a police officer or his superior who fails to enforce the law are aiding and abetting the crime and should fired or arrested or both.

  • http://bibotv.com/show/second-generation-wayans online stream

    very good

  • http://bgulk0.wix.com/raspberry-h-venue gramma Barb

    The police officer is caught between a rock and a hard place, damed if they do and damed if they don’t! I often wonder why society calls on the ‘policeman’ for help, then turns on them and berates them because the help ‘didn’t please’ the caller. So often I see or read about what the ‘cop’ did or didn’t do. I know for a fact they work long hours at the expense of the taxpayer, making sure all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed only to see their work walk out of the court system, free to reign havoc upon the streets again.
    Yes there are good policemen and bad policemen as in every other occupation, but until they (all of society) begin to respect the laws of the land as set out by the countrys lawmakers instead of working so hard to find loopholes we will continue to have the swinging door syndrome. I have a policeman in my family, and hear of the frustrations they experience each and every day while carrying out their work. Often the smallest is pounced on by the media to ‘make the story’ and then exhorbient dollars are spent only to find out the attending officer was following the rules of the book. When will society figure it out, when officers are called, theres someone in need.

    • http://abearsrant.com thebear

      My father was a cop and later a military police officer so I have some understanding of the pressures faced by the police but that doesn’t excuse refusing to enforce court orders nor does it excuse an increasing level of excessive use of force by some police officers. In Ottawa, we’ve had a number of serious incidents involving police officers that included one off-duty officer chasing a cab driver and then beating him up in a road rage incident, an RCMP officer on disability murdering an on-duty Ottawa Police officer, a number of unrelated incidents involving excessive use of force n the holding cells and the list goes on.

      I have a great deal of respect for the police in general but when they abuse or ignore the law, they bring both the law and themselves into disrepute. We entrust the police with a great deal of authority and power. They have a responsibility to conduct themselves to the highest possible standard of conduct and that means not ignoring crime but rather confronting it on our behalf.

      • http://bgulk0.wix.com/raspberry-h-venue gramma Barb

        as I said, Bear, there are good and bad in every occupation…..I believe that for all, doctors, lawyers, politicians, teachers and yes when the law is broken on all levels, the strong arm should be enforced. We cannot paint all with the distasteful brush of a few, but those are the ones that hit the front page of the media or the headline of a topic. We need people such as yourself to remind us of those standards……held high by the majority, broken by, but a few.

        • http://abearsrant.com thebear

          I agree with you. As I said in my post, there are many in the justice system who are dedicated to upholding the law but unfortunately, they are thwarted by those who put personal interest or political expediency ahead of enforcing our rules of law. I’ve been around a long time and there have always been a few who have tarnished the reputation of the many but I don’t recall a time when there were so many who are undermining and even breaking the law they are paid to uphold as I see today.

  • gerry

    The shift began many years ago in Britain when law as traditionally understood and applied became a policy tool for government to implement their utopian ideals (around the mid-1700s). When the shift is made to elevate government policies on affirmative action and the like to the same level of law as murder and assault the necessity for unequal application of all law in the name of equity is but a short leap. It is not an uneven application it is the pursuit of cosmic justice as Thomas Sowell notes that leads to the aberration currently called “justice”. In the pursuit of some ideological based notion of “fairness” justice is no longer just.

  • Enkidu

    Justice, administered unevenly, is tyranny. We are no longer a nation of Laws, we are ruled at the whim of ‘the system’.

  • Garrett

    Hello Bear

    When our system of law is referred to as the Justice system, I cringe and shake my head, there seems to be little actual “justice”. There are so many people that refuse to blame those that “do the crime” instead focus on “why” the criminal did it. I spent some time on the enforcement side of the system, and in many ways you are quite correct in your observation that police appear to do little and there is more overzealous traffic enforcement than there is investigation into criminal activity. It’s a money issue, and traffic fines bring in easy money. Shake down the speeders with cameras and line the pockets of local government to put officers on the street. There is some deterrent to speed cameras and we do need traffic enforcement but it’s become such as cash cow that local agencies can’t resist the lure of easy money so they continue applying the traffic law with a heavy hand.
    I can tell you that individual police officers want to kick ass and take names, but the system is difficult to work under. Police activity is scrutinized under a microscope. It’s simply not possible to do a search without reasonable grounds to apply for a warrant. If an officer does a warrantless search any evidence that is discovered is immediately inadmissable because the officer didn’t get permission in the form of a search warrant. You may know an area is a hotbed of guns and drugs, but you can’t search because you think there may be something there, you must have grounds to do so. A judge is not going to provide a warrant because of a “gut feeling” you must have reasonable grounds based on evidence of some type.
    Then there’s the “race card”…and it works really well with the judges. You pull somebody over that was doing something ridiculous in their vehicle and they happen to be a different colour than the caucasian officer and they immemdiately pull the race card. “You stopped me because I’m….(fill in the blank with a colour).” If the officer doesn’t fall for this, most don’t, they pull the race card again once they appear in court because they know how to work the system.
    Then there’s the whole “police brutality” card. Police are called to a disturbance and it results in an arrest of a person who violently resists the officers attempt to arrest. A fight ensues, punches are exchanged, and the poor criminal gets bloodied. Because the offender looks worse than the officer it is automatically assumed the officer took some liberties during the arrest and gave him/her a few extra punches. The poor criminal has a lengthy record of charges and convictions yet somehow society is at fault for his woes. The defence lawyer spins a good yarn about his/her past and how he was abused by his (fill in the blank)and how the officer is actually at fault in this case. The judge buys the BS and sets Mr Criminal free. Then the focus shifts to how the officer “mis treated” the Criminal…

    Police brass are very careful about race issues because of ALL the media attention towards it and how so many special interest groups have shown that the system is the root cause for all the woes of their group. I defend my house from an intruder and kill him/her during the violent break in and somehow I get charged. I will never forget this name Barb Danilesko of Edmonton. I think people can expect to be charged if they kill someone in the defence of their home and this turns the victim into the criminal. “He was a good boy”, says the weeping mother and the camera zooms in on the wide eyed homeowner being taken away in handcuffs.
    The legal system is a self perpetuating money maker for the lawyers. The system and people in it, looks down on police as a neccessary evil. let’s face it sociely WANTS to turn a blind eye towards crime as long as it’s not in their back yard. Nobody wants to see armed men and women wandering around spending tax dollars until someone is breaking into their house, or until their garden hose has been stolen. Then police are expected to arrive with dispatch to deal with the criminals then disappear again to return only when called upon again.

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