Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Justice At Any Price?

There is a common and profitable fiction perpetuated by lawyers that there must be "justice for all" and damn the costs. Members of the legal profession (and countless average joes who got screwed by the courts because they couldn't afford high priced help) know this is pure guff but the legal fraternity is better than anybody but the pols at serving up self-serving junk phrases.

Here in British Columbia we have or have recently had two of the most costly prosecutions (and correspondingly dear defenses) seen anywhere in Canada. One is the ongoing case of Robert Pickton the disintegrata of whose alleged victims is being painstakingly recovered so that we can be sure that the accused is hit with many dozens of murder charges. It could be asked whether the same funding applied to the policing and policy change needed to prevent future murders of prostitutes might be better spent. But, no, justice, you see, must be served. Pickton needs 40 not 20 life sentences. That will make the families of missing women feel so much better.

Even more lavish expenditure was pissed away on the botched investigation and trial of the Air India bombers. Today, B.C.'s head justice honcho Wally Oppal spilled
the beans on what that fiasco cost: $57.8 million, 30M of which Victoria will pay for, with Ottawa springing for the rest. That included the extraordinary expense of building an entire court facility so that Mssrs. Malik and Singh would be safe, much safer than you or I dear friend whenever we sally forth into the not-so-friendly skies.

And, hold on to your wallet, that doesn't even include what was anted up for the two killers' defense costs. Well, at least that wasn’t frittered away ‘cause the bastards walked.

Fork over millions to mount the best possible legal defense to get such monsters off? What the heck is that about, you ask? That brings us straight back to the "justice must be served at any cost" rationale. The Honourable Mr. Oppal has his solemn lecture in civics and fairness at hand to hastily explain how it was only right to spend big. After all, the bigger the crime, the bigger the dime.

Imagine the inequity if if we had skimped a little on that defense and the Bombsy Twins went to jail! What kind of a country would let that happen? Besides, Wally continued, all due vigour and diligence will be used in to recover about $16 million of that from the defendants.

That's a comfort. When Wally and his staff match wits with two chaps that dirty who still got away with the biggest murder in Canada's history, who ya gonna like?

Oh, but comfort and relief are now on the way: That Most Eminent Person, Smiling Bob Rae, having had his own lengthy slurp at the public trough to chum up to the victims' families, wringing his hands and saying how simply awful it must have been, today is reporting back that -- goodness gracious -- the murdered and their survivors didn't get much of a fair shake in all of this.

Rocket science, that. Mind you, according to Bob, we still don't need a real get-to-the bottom-of-it no-holds-barred inquiry, but rather a "streamlined" version, that will pin blame on no one, but ask, “how might we do better?” You know, when Malik, Singh or the like-minded free-ranging terrorists in our midst get the gelignite together for another "go". Oh, and another thing according to Bob: only one solitary commissioner is needed to do all this. Second opinions can get so messy.

The tit-for-tat for concluding on such a vapid no-fault approach to shut off real investigation of the high level mishandling of this blatant mass murder case was this: Faster than you can say "Bob's your uncle", federal Justice Minister McLellan was blabbering on about how Rae is the only possible guy for the very job he has proposed. Nice work if you can get it.

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