Saturday, March 28, 2020

On a “Good” Friday

I have decided on this Good Friday, to post a Blog for a little back and forth on some of the issues that plague our country, our justice system and our police officers.I will continue to write more formal columns, but I was thinking this format would allow some of you who vent away in emails, to be able to share some of your thoughts with other regular visitors to Prime Time Crime.So, here it is and let's see where it takes us.Regards,Leo Knight

Judicial hypocrisy continues to offend

O, hypocrisy, thy name is Justice. Or at least it should be.In the same week, and very nearly on the same day, three different arms of what passes for justice in this disturbed Dominion made decisions which are as hypocritical as they are mired in either political correctness run amok or systemic corruption. You pick.The first and perhaps most offensive is the decision of the BC Supreme Court issued yesterday saying that Crown prosecutors are protected from testifying about their decision to allow bail to an actual killer and that they weren’t protected in testifying about why they decided not to lay charges in the case of an aboriginal man, Frank Paul, who died of exposure after being released from the Vancouver Police drunk tank.Unbelievable. What kind of leaps in mental gymnastics must Mr. Justice Thomas Melnick have made to arrive at this conclusion? To paraphrase a rather unfortunate MP who chose a curious way of pointing out a hypocritical cabinet minister, the judge can’t suck and blow at the same time.This is a simple question: Are members the Crown Prosecutor’s office compellable as witnesses to explain their decisions or are they not?Mr. Justice Melnick seems to have decided that if the potential accused is a police officer, or as in this case, two, they are compellable. But if the individual is a wife beating lunatic who is released on bail when any sane system would have opposed bail, who then goes on...

Judicial musings right on point

The comments of Calgary Police Constable Shaun Horne have stimulated a lively debate over the problems with the justice system in this country. Horne said the system is a "mockery" and a "joke" and got slapped by the weak-kneed management of his department for his trouble when he was suspended a week without pay. Lost in the discussion this week were the comments by Court of Queen's Bench Justice Pat Sullivan when sentencing Barrett Darr, 22, for cold-bloodedly leaving his 17 year-old girlfriend to die in a ditch after he rolled a stolen SUV. When sentencing him to 33 months in prison, Mr. Justice Sullivan said something that speaks to exactly what it was that caused the frustration in Cst. Horne to boil over. In referring to the easy ride Darr had been given in his many previous trips through the revolving door of justice, Sullivan said, "Maybe if we hadn’t been so soft in the beginning, maybe if the judiciary had tightened the harness earlier on, perhaps we wouldn’t be here today."Almost a throw-away line really in the sentencing hearing, but oh, so terribly telling. The justice system has been getting softer and softer to the point where it is very hard to do something egregious enough to actually go to jail. Conditional sentences have become all too common in our criminal courts with the advocation of house arrest seen by the chattering classes as a suitable replacement for jail. Mr. Justice Sullivan got it exactly...

Gratuitious violence unnerving

For over 30 years that I've been around policing and crime news, I have become inured to violence and man's inhumanity to his fellow man. I don't like to think that I have become any less caring as a result, but certainly I don't get shocked, for the most part, by the violence inherent in our world today.Even the daily horrors being described in the trial of Robert "Willy" Pickton haven't managed to shock me. Now, to be fair, we have known for years what to expect out of the Pickton trial just by being able to read between the lines with what has been published since he was arrested five years ago. With all the discussions about the finding of victim DNA we pretty much knew the likelihood of the type of details we are now hearing, so I'm not sure I understand what the current fuss is about in the debate over the way the media is reporting on the trial.But, having said all of that, I've been following the trial in Edmonton of two men accused of killing 13 year old Nina Louise Courtepatte in the spring of 2005.Courtepatte's broken, battered and abused body was found on the fourth fairway of the Edmonton Springs golf course in Spruce Grove, Alberta. The official cause of death was blunt force trauma. The autopsy report also noted she was sexually assaulted. Just from that depiction, we knew that nothing good happened that night on the golf course.But, starting from...

Tax grab offends

The theological place of eternal punishment must surely be nearing a temperature below 0 degrees Celsius for I find myself in agreement with BC NDP leader Carole James on the subject of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). On July 23 the Liberal government of Gordon Campbell announced they would bring in the HST next year.  There was no mention of this during the recent election and the minister responsible, Colin Hansen, has been all over the media denying that it was on their radar during the campaign.  Anyone who understands the glacial-like speed at which governments work will viscerally understand that the minister is being economical with the truth. Try as I might, I am trying to find something in what Hansen has been saying that rings true. Hansen's spinmeisters are having difficulty selling what is nothing more than a tax grab by the very government who used to claim that tax hikes were anathema. Any simple look at the HST will reveal that things that used to be tax free such as children's clothes and restaurant meals will cost 7% more with the HST.  The minister says, and with a straight face I might add, that the HST will be "revenue neutral" and he repeats it as though a mantra.  Well, it won't be anything of the sort.  The average household will pay $1,000 to $3,000 more in tax a year and the government coffers will grow by $1.2 billion in that same year. The spin also suggests that this will save business over...

‘Crats craziness risks public safety

While I would never accuse the bureaucrats in Corrections Services Canada of being in touch with reality, I think some recent policy decisions are suggesting they no longer reside on this planet.Last week the Surete de Quebec were trying to button-hole an escaped piece of excrement known as Kevin Smith who had escaped from Montée St-François Institution in the Montreal area on Oct. 9th, 2007. They had a photo of the fleeing fugitive, but it was so old they believed it no longer looked like him. CSC did not issue an updated photo of Smith ostensibly because it would have violated his privacy rights. The reason the police photo was outdated was because the last time they dealt with him was in 1991 when he was arrested, charged and convicted of murder. Last week, the SQ thought they had Smith corralled in the Estrie area of the Eastern Townships. But alas, he slipped through their fingers. They didn't specifically say it was because they didn't have a recent photo of Smith, but reading between the lines in the news story from the Sherbrooke Record pretty much tells the tale. Now I don't know about you, but when a guy is convicted of murder and gets shuffled off to prison for a couple of decades, I think if he leaves before he is entitled to, he ought not to have any right to privacy. I may be old fashioned, but if he hasn't got the right to freedom...

Tilting at windmills with effect

I have just finished reading an advance copy of Paul Palango's new book: entitled Dispersing the Fog: Inside the Secret World of Ottawa and the RCMP.  Palango, who is no stranger to anyone interested in the RCMP and the problems that have befallen this national icon, walks the reader through a series of cases that have dominated the news headlines. From the Mahar Arar debacle through Project Sidewinder and up to the murder of the Mayerthorpe Four, Palango looks carefully at the reasons the RCMP keeps taking it on the chin.But it is so much more than a look inside the travails of Canada's national police force.  It is really an examination behind the scenes and the politicization of the RCMP to suit the needs of the real power behind the throne in Canada and he lays bare the systemic corruption that has everything to do with power and money for a small group and little or nothing to do with what is right for the country.  Palango methodically strips away the layers of obfuscation and lays bare the fabric of lies that ultimately ensures the RCMP can never be what Canada really needs of our national police force. I have long described the RCMP as 133 years of tradition unhampered by progress and Palango nails it as he takes the reader on a roller coaster ride through some of the biggest headlines of the last decade.  The book, published by Key Porter Books, will be in bookstores in...

Cops do it right despite criticism

In the week since Graham McMynn was abducted the Vancouver Police threw every resource possible at the investigation. The stated “24” investigators working on the case cited in the media reports was thrown out by police as a number, but was no indicator of the actual police resources utilized in this very challenging investigation.A hint of what really went on came on Wednesday morning when over 100 officers mustered in a Vancouver armoury to get briefed on the plan to rescue the young man.During that week as well, the police were hampered in their efforts by some elements of the broadcast news media who simply would not do as they were asked and refused to “blackout” the story so the police could do their job. With a kidnap victim’s life hanging in the balance, one has to question the judgment in those newsrooms.But the story that really stuck in my craw was the piece done by CTV’s Lisa Rossington when she “tracked down” the rental car used by the kidnappers to abduct McMynn. Rossington spoke to someone in the car lot office who said the police had not contacted them, implying that somehow the police were incompetent. Given that the girlfriend of the victim was present at the time of the abduction and was the one who gave them the information about the vehicle, did Rossington really believe that the police wouldn’t have followed up on their only solid lead from the get-go? It strains credulity...

Spin bears no relation to the truth

Well, election madness is upon us, whether we wanted it or not.  And one of the things we know inherently is that we are about to be subjected to spin on an unprecedented scale.I received this email yesterday that I thought worth sharing with you.  I thought it particularly poignant.Hi Leo,I just watched a local news station do a story on the dirty politics between Stephane Dion and the conservative government.  They actually said that Dion wanted to "increase" the restrictions on several kinds of firearms, "including the type that was used in the Montreal Dawson College shooting."  Then the story ends and they go on with the next really quickly to a service for those who recently lost their lives in the CF.What many people don't already know is that at the time that massacre occurred, those Beretta Storm's were restricted firearms.  Now they are already prohibited, at least according to my local gun store.  As are all bullpup arms.  So how can they increase any further restrictions on a prohibited firearm?This upsets me because they don't bother to explain to the public the difference between non-restricted, restricted, and prohibited.  They just use an angle that serves their purpose -- at the shameful expense of those victims.I would greatly appreciate it if you could do a blog entry on firearms and this liberal spin thats been going through the news and schools.  Criminals don't get guns by going through the RCMP, they illegally import them, or steal them...

Pomp and circumstance when a quiet farewell would do

"Friends applaud, the Comedy is over". - Ludwig von BeethovenTomorrow is the transition day of the administration of the Office of the Chief Constable of the Calgary Police Service. And to judge by the statements made in an interview with the Calgary Sun's Rick Bell, the new chief is going to bring a tough new attitude to policing that city.But, lest you think that the outgoing Chief Jack Beaton will be going quietly, uh, well, not so much.Apparently Beaton has commissioned a Change of Command parade with all the pomp and circumstance possible. Including, I am told, the Ceremonial Unit, which does a foot drill demonstration complete with formal uniforms and all the trimming including white gloves. And, are the fine men and women who voluntarily serve in the Ceremonial Unit happy to show up for Jack's parade? Uh, no. I am told that NCO commanding the unit had to send out an email ordering all members to attend. I am also told the email said, "All members of the CU (trumpeters included) will be required for this event."Hmmm, what about those folks who are scheduled to be patrolling the streets protecting the citizens of Calgary? No problem. "If you have any issue getting the time off, let me know . . .the Inspector will deal with them . . .otherwise all are expected to attend," concluded the email as described to me.So, the officers who are being paid to work will be diverted from their regular tasks and...

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