Tuesday, March 03, 2009

STOP!!! Person reasonably likely to do something illegal and reasonably likely to be intending to acquire property or hurt someone!!!

Some may say that STOP!!! THIEF!!! rolls off of your tongue better, but catching bad guys is a lot of work, so I can understand why Alberta seems more interested in setting its sights on taking property from citizens for things they might be thinking about doing instead of what they have been proven to have done.

http://www.qp.gov.ab.ca/documents/fall/CH41_08.CFM


Dilemma...

Punishing people = fun.
Prosecuting people according to the principles of fundamental justice and the rule of law = hard.
Proving guilt in the face of presumed innocence also = hard.
Province making criminal law = not allowed under Constitution.


Solution...

Dispose of the presumption of innocence.
Never mind prosecutions...that way proof of guilt never comes up.
Go straight to punishing people which as per above = fun.
Avoid Constitutional roadblock by punishing for crimes which might happen in the future...Federal criminal law only deals with actual crimes that have actually happened.


But wait...some people will think that this type of action is illegal. Some judges even might be inclined to assess these government actions for compliance with the supreme law of Canada. That kind of intereference would be very disruptive to our plans to spend the money from property already seized...time for a good stern talking-to from the Attorney General!

http://calsun.canoe.ca/News/Alberta/2009/03/02/8595421.html

Alberta Justice Minister Alison Redford suggests lawmakers should start talking with justice officials on what should be allowed when it comes to seizing property from criminals.


“One of the things that we as legislators need to do is have real conversations with judges and with the courts about what society expects to be the standard and the consequences for committing criminal acts,” said Redford.


“In the last three or four years legislators have been absent from that discussion.”



Okay...just so we are all straight here...in contemplation of possible Charter challenges to this baffling legislation, the Justice Minister and Attorney General thought it made sense to get on the public record in the media and explain that this legislation is, in essence, her statement to judges and the courts about what the society she represents expects to be the consequences of committing criminal acts.

Well, rest assured Ms. Redford that your above quote will be front and centre in any legal brief right about at the paragraph where the pith and substance of your claimed victim compensation legislation is being discussed.

This legislation is not about compensating victims of crime...because property can purportedly be taken and sold even if no crime has ever been committed! Just look at the wording of the followng sections:


(3.1) A reference in this Act to an instrument of illegal activity is a reference to property that

(b) is likely to be used in carrying out an illegal act that, in turn, would or would be likely to or be intended to result in the acquisition of other property or in bodily harm to any person,


19.2(2) The Minister may not commence an action under this Part unless
(a) a peace officer has carried out an investigation in respect of an illegal act, and
(b) as a result of the investigation referred to in clause (a) a peace officer
(i) has reasonable grounds to believe that an illegal act was or is likely to be
committed,
(ii) reasonably believes that the property that is to be the subject of the application
(A) was used in carrying out an illegal act, or
(B) is likely to be used in carrying out an illegal act, and
(iii) reasonably believes that the illegal act referred to in subclause (ii)
(A) resulted in the acquisition of other property or in bodily harm to any person, or
(B) would or would be likely to or be intended to result in the acquisition of other property or in bodily harm to any person.


Having reasonable grounds to beleive something fully encompasses scenarios where the police are simply wrong...and the thing they reasonably believed to be is not so. As such, under this legislation, no crime could have been committed at all in spite of the reasonable belief of the officer. No crime means no crime victim in need of compensation, and yet, the property could still have been seized and sold as an instrument of illegal activity.

This legislation is simply part of the ongoing saga of Ms. Redford wanting the courts to get tougher on criminals...particularly ones alleged to be involved in gangs. Nothing wrong with that idea generally, but now she is overtly soap-boxing about legislators talking to judges about what society expects them to do! (According to legislators who by definition are politicians).

Perhaps Ms. Redford should look at her own Ministry website regarding judicial independence:

http://www.justice.gov.ab.ca/public_education/teaching.aspx?id=3392

The legislative branch, the executive branch, and the judiciary make up the three branches of government in Alberta. The judiciary is the independent branch that presides over the courts.

The judiciary’s independence from the other branches of government helps to preserve the impartiality of judges. Without the impartiality of judges, there is no promise of real justice.

Judicial independence is a cornerstone of our justice system. It guarantees that judges will make decisions free of influence and based solely on the facts of a case
and the law.



Nowhere in there is any mention of judges making decisions based on what the Attorney General tells them that society expects from them.

If the Minister of Justice and Attorney General wants someone to talk to, maybe she would consider writing a guest column for this blog. Truth be told, I half expected to have received some type of communique by now where those I criticize might enter into a public discussion of the issues. After all, that is the public interest purpose for which I write this column in between running my normal practice.

Since I have not yet attracted any participation in this forum, I think I will write to the Minister and ask for her formal participation on this site...and see where that takes us. I sincerely hope she will accept. In that regard, I close this piece with the following quote from former US Senator J. William Fulbright:

We must dare to think 'unthinkable' thoughts. We must learn to explore all the options and possibilities that confront us in a complex and rapidly changing world. We must learn to welcome and not to fear the voices of dissent.



P.S. I want to sincerely thank Mr. Dennis Edney for the captivating address he gave last night in support of Student Legal Assistance regarding his plight in selflessly representing the interests of Omar Khadr for what must seem like an eternity to both lawyer and client.

Mr. Edney, your story was truly inspirational and I cannot think of any greater measure of character than to stand and fight against the might of the governments of both Canada and the United States of America on behalf of a most unpopular client. You have done your family, your profession and yourself very proud.

1 Comments:

Blogger Fakirs Canada said...

Yeah, too bad Omar Khadr isn't coming back to Canada - ever:
http://fakirsca.blogspot.com/2009/02/life-and-times-of-omar-khadr.html
Marnie Tunay
Fakirs Canada
http://fakirscanada.googlepages.com/

10:02 PM  

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