May 14, 2008
OH to be in British Columbia in cherry-blossom May, a time of longer, warmer days and the joy of nature’s palette of colourful magnolias, rhododendrons and azaleas.
To the Dutch it was Blaumand, (blossoming month), and to the French: Floreal, (time of flowers). The Anglo-Saxons named it “thrimilce,” for it was a month when they could milk their cows three times a day. May was aptly named after Maia, the Roman goddess of growth and increase.
Yet May-time in 2008 is not about dancing around the Maypole with fresh flowers. It is about too many colourless lawyers and ersatz experts flannel-mouthing away in three separate matters of public importance.
· A never-ending horror of bail release followed by murder;
· Insite’s fate;
· a provincial inquiry into the tasering of Robert Dzieskanski.
Bail release and murder
On Sept. 4, 2007, in Oak Bay, a suburb of Victoria, Peter Lee murdered his wife and children and committed suicide.
In the months leading up to the murder, Lee had been released on a no-contact bail which he flagrantly breached when he took his wife for a drive and injured her by crashing into a power pole. That violence brought Lee’s bail into question. In a hearing to determine Lee’s status, crown counsel did not oppose this dangerous man being let loose again despite a police request he be detained to protect his wife.
Lee murdered his family on the day he was required to make his first appearance specified in the renewed bail.
There is an intense need to inform the public why this man was not detained, and what information and policy was relied upon by Crown counsel in deciding not to show cause for detention.
In a formal public inquest now taking place, coroner Jeff Dolan has been stymied by the attorney general’s minions. Although two supervisory Crown lawyers have been put before the coroner to explain policy concerning bail, the ministry has refused to produce the lawyers who actually made the decision not to seek detention.
Coroner Dolan ordered the pertinent counsel to appear and that triggered an adjournment of the inquest to have the issue decided by the Supreme Court of British Columbia on May 26; a date when a similar case of refusal by Crown lawyers to testify is scheduled to be heard.
The attorney general’s justice branch says that Crown lawyers are entitled to immunity from examination of their behind-closed-door machinations. It makes a grandiose claim of privilege analogous to that afforded the judiciary.
The status of a judge is made secure by judicial independence. That means finite tenure, a reasonable remuneration, and absolute privilege in terms of how their decisions are arrived at. It is mischief of the highest order to claim that civil servant prosecutors have a constitutional status approaching that of judges.
The coroner is right. He must compel decision-making Crown lawyers to testify, thereby assuring that nothing will be concealed from the public.
Where is the attorney general in all of this? You guessed it: he’s making speeches of concern. Maybe a thought from the distant past will get Wally Oppal into the world of action. “Woord is but wynd; leff word and tak the dede,” said John Lydgate (1370 – 1451) in his Secrees of old Philisoffres.
Oppal knows, and so do all lawyers in the criminal justice branch, that bail conditions imposed on wife beaters do not eliminate the likelihood of further violence. It is in the public record: release of maniacal men on bail brings with it the metronomic certainty of murder and mayhem.
Insite: propagandized success
We are being buffeted by a storm of propaganda concerning Insite and the impending decision of the federal government on whether Insite will be allowed to continue operating beyond June.
It is mainly driven by so-called health professionals, local politicians and epidemiologists who desperately want to continue their campaign to decriminalize illicit drugs and make addiction into a treatable illness. The cornerstone in this nonsense is the Insite shooting gallery: a scheme of enabling drug use that is falsely touted as the road to abstinence. It is a pernicious scheme that not even the Wizard of Oz would tolerate.
Insite is not a place for desperate addicts to begin withdrawal, it is a shooting gallery first and last. No matter how they record their experiment it remains a falsehood. There is no truth in the notion they spread that enabling the use of drugs in these sterile circumstances is somehow a first step in abstinence.
Provincial inquiry: – death of Dzieskanski – use of Tasers
After Robert Dzieskanski’s death following tasering, the provincial government was quick to appoint former judge Tom Braidwood to conduct an inquiry into police use of Tasers.
Yet the whole process is hamstrung by lack of jurisdiction over four members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who confronted a confused Dzieskanski, and chose to bring him under control by electrically stunning him with a Taser.
Come on Mr. Oppal, think back over the years to your work as a commissioner enquiring into policing in British Columbia, and your report in1994, Closing the Gap. Try and remember your absolute and crisp words stating that our leased force of Mounties, ostensibly our provincial police force, could not be made to comply with any of the provisions in our Police Act.
Be reminded of one of commissioner Braidwood’s first public comments: that his inquiry has no jurisdiction over the Mounties.
At the end of this still-born inquiry, the learned commissioner may see fit to advise you and the premier to re-constitute the British Columbia Provincial Police in order to fulfil British Columbia’s constitutional duty.
Mr. Oppal, it is your constitutional duty to bring order to policing in our province by having all police bound by the provisions of the Police Act.
Act now, or Dzieskanski-like deaths will happen again and again.
Contact Judicial Gadfly at firstname.lastname@example.org or by posting your comment on the Writer’s Corner of www.realjustice.ca