Wednesday, July 6, 2022

And justice for all . . . to not see

No one will ever accuse me of being a defender of the Hells Angels. In point of fact, I am on record on many occasions saying that police must be given more tools and more resources to fight not only the bikers, but all aspects of organized crime. Which, I might add, notwithstanding the abdication of responsibility by Madame Justice Anne MacKenzie in the trial of full-patch member David Francis Giles, the Hells Angels are clearly a criminal organization as has been stated by courts in BC and Ontario in previous decisions. Having said all that, there is something decidedly wrong with what has occurred in the sentencing of three unnamed members of the biker gang for contempt of court. I don't know what has gone on in camera in this case in which Madame Justice MacKenzie agreed to a ban on publication of the names. And that is essentially the problem. The old adage is that Justice must not only be done, but it must be seen to be done.How can we determine if justice was in fact done in this case if we cannot know the names and the details of the offense? Justice carried out behind a curtain is not justice in a democracy. It may pass for justice in a tin-pot dictatorship like Cuba, but it is not justice in my eyes. Madame Justice MacKenzie demonstrated a profound lack of understanding of the Hells Angels and how their business operates in her judgement in Giles...

Are the winds of change blowing in Ottawa?

For your outstanding leadership abilities, your commitment to the advancement of women in Canadian policing, and for your dedication to the effective delivery and management of human resources, wherein you have become an influential role model for all police officers. - 2006 Order of Merit of the Police Forces citation given to RCMP Deputy Commissioner Barbara GeorgeThe trouble with awards is that once given, they cannot be easily taken back. The other problem with national awards is that they are seldom given to those who actually deserve them. Too often they are given for political reasons, to individuals who just happen to be in a certain position or to members of the bureaucracy who tend to exercise some control on these things.Barbara George was just another senior level bureaucrat when the Governor General pinned the award on her chest. What had she really done to deserve it? Difficult to say. She spent a career being a carpet cop and wouldn't have the faintest idea what a real cop does for a living let alone being a "role model" for anything other than a bureaucrat wanting to climb the greasy pole in a federal government ministry.Do I sound disparaging of the now suspended Deputy Commissioner Barbara George? Sorry, I don't mean to. But, right after she was suspended by interim Comissioner Bev Busson following the testimony of several RCMP officers before the Public Accounts Committee concerning abuses of the Mounties' pension fund and their attempts...

Wrong target in Media sights

So yet another firestorm has developed with the ravenous media knee-jerking their way into condeming the Vancouver Police Department based on nothing more than an anonymous email tipster to BCTV on Global. (Click on Internal Investigation to see the video story)Is there a photograph of five members of VPD posing with a suspect in the jail. Apparently, according to Insp. Rollie Woods in a press conference called late Tuesday afternoon. And?The officers involved were members of a downtown patrol squad and at least one a Sgt. in the Firearms Interdiction Team. By definition they have a difficult and dangerous job. In practice they go after guns and the bad guys who carry them. When they make a good arrest, they celebrate their efforts. And?So they took a souvenir photo. And?The suspect in the photo, as with anyone ever seen with a coat or newspaper they try and hide behind doing the perp walk, isn't too pleased with his situation. Gee, I wonder why? In this case, a 40 year old man and a career criminal with 69 criminal convictions was caught by the police and now stands charged with multiple offences including carrying a concealed weapon.By the way, that is 69 convictions, not 69 arrests. The number of arrests is much higher.Despite the 69 convictions and the many more arrests and spending a life that takes from society not contributes to it, the suspect is afforded something the police are not - the presumption of innocence.Was the suspect...

Climate of Doubt

In the wake of the costliest gabfest in the history of man that has just concluded in Copenhagen and  that achieved absolutely nothing but a $100 Billion shakedown of America and its allies, I found myself in plane from Toronto to Vancouver. Flying over the frozen prairie of the North American west,  I was staring down at a frigidity only known to those hearty enough to choose to reside there. I was also privileged enough to have borne witness to history last Sunday at the Edmonton Airport as I travelled to catch a flight and the temperature was a bone-rattling minus 46 with a wind chill that took it to minus 58. I thought I was developing Taurette’s Syndrome. When I went out I had an inadvertent reaction: F***, F***, F***! Now admittedly, I am not a scientist. I’m an old time cop, investigator and professional cynic.  In that role I know that there are always three sides to any story and people will always “guild the lily”  to achieve maximum personal benefit, whatever the circumstances in which they find themselves.  And, I have to also state that I neither stake a claim to being a Global Warming believer nor a ‘denier,’ to use a phrase coined by the  wild-eyed, foamy mouthed, true believers. Do I believe the climate is changing?  Yes, certainly.  Just as it always has.  Is it warming as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN creation designed to fleece the wealthy western democracies, uh ,...

Reality at odds with picture painted by media in police shooting

In the middle of the media feeding frenzy pillorying the RCMP members involved responding to the disturbance caused by Polish traveler Robert Dziekanski who died after being Tasered, Vancouver Police officers shot and killed Michael Vann Hubbard in a busy area of downtown Vancouver.  The initial reports were that he was a homeless man being checked as a possible suspect in a theft from a vehicle and in the process pulled a knife and was shot.  The two officers involved were both female and the usual nonsense was inevitable from the media, the hand-wringers and the cop haters.  Some of whom, I might add, are indistinguishable from the others.But what was really amusing was the comments from some of the same folks blue with rage in their criticism of the RCMP for using a Taser on Dziekanski asking why the VPD officers involved in the shooting weren't armed with Tasers so they didn't have to shoot Vann Hubbard.  The mind boggles at the sheer hypocrisy.But even though the shooting is under investigation the cop critics were in full voice.  And they were happy to pile on the heels of the Braidwood inquiry into the death of Dziekanski.  Police were being referred to as thugs and murderers.  On Friday members of the Vann Hubbard family filed a lawsuit claiming wrongful death on behalf of the VPD.  Well, whatever.  They have described their father as gentle and law abiding.  Perhaps he was when they knew him, but when he was in...

Another good cop held down

You're kidding me! What, is the Winnipeg Chief Constable taking lessons from Calgary's Jack Beaton? The story headlined on Prime Time Crime about the Staff Sergeant going from hero to zero for not telling some biker schmuck that some other schmuck said someone wanted him dead is another example of an out of touch chief making what appears to be a knee-jerk decision to avoid criticism and instead inviting more. Unfortunately, he seems to have hurt a good cop in the process.Does Jack Ewatski actually expect that every time a cop hears some asshole in custody blows his mouth off about so and so "is a marked man" or "he's gonna get it" or whatever nonsense comes out of their flapping gums, that the investigator has to go running to the guy and tell him what the jagoff said? Give me a break. What's with chiefs named Jack? Quite apart from anything else, bikers, wannabee gangsters, wiseguys and pretty much anyone else involved in organized crime knows that somebody wants to kill them and pretty much, sooner or later, someone will. Or they spend they waning days in jail. It goes with the territory. And frankly, society doesn't miss them when they get whacked from this mortal coil. So, why destroy a good cop's career over something like this? Unless there's a lot more than meets the eye in what has been published in the media on this file, the Winnipeg Chief is doing a disservice to not only...

Liberal MP un-spun

A regular reader copied me on a letter sent to Liberal MP Raymond Chan after reading his criticism of Stephen Harper’s government. Here it is, unadulterated, untainted and best of all, uninhibited. Enjoy.Leo [email protected]“MEAN SPIRITED CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT SLASHES $1 BILLION FROM SOCIAL PROGRAMS”YES!!!! Finally a government that ‘get’s it’. You use the word ‘wasteful’ in your narrative and that’s exactly what most of these programs have been (other than for the purpose of employing friends and advancing the cause of the Liberal Party)$5 million cut to the Status of Women Canada – Good beginning.$10 million cut to the Canadian Volunteerism Initiative – ‘Volunteerism’ means exactly that. Not government pork-barreling$18 million cut to the Literacy Skills Program – I thought we already funded schools?Canadian Court Challenges Program – Completely cut – Best decision of all“Beefed up Military presence on the West Coast” – I know that after decades of ruining this country’s once-proud military, this drives you libs mental (I remember your pathetic ad “Troops, on our streets” that probably cost you the last election). Put the combat aspect aside for a moment and just consider what would happen if a natural disaster such as the long-overdue earthquake were to hit the Lower Mainland? Our nearest help (other than Reserve Units) used to be at Chilliwack which was bad enough. Now, thanks to you lot, it’s in Edmonton and would have to come out here by road (if aircraft couldn’t land). ...

Irony apparently lost on lawyer

Regular Hells Angel lawyer Greg DelBigio is really stretching the bounds of credulity with his latest argument in defense of Ronaldo Lising. Lising's latest arrest came in the Mountie's Project EPandora. DelBigio has been doing his level best to get the charges against his client tossed. And fair enough, that's his job. But, the irony of his latest tack seems lost on him.Lising, incidently, is currently serving time for his conspiracy conviction arising out of VPD's Project Nova back in the mid - 90's. He was sentenced back in 2001 for his role in that case and fought his conviction and sentencing at every step until he finally ran out of legal options and had to go to jail.It was while he was out on bail going thorough his legal gymnastics that he got caught up in EPandora. And now we hear DelBigio trying to get the charges tossed because he claims an agent used by the RCMP put the public in danger. The agent, Michael Plante, infiltrated the Hells Angels and in doing so had to commit crimes.In closing arguments, DelBigio said, "The police were under a duty to ensure that the community was not endangered through Michael Plante's actions and yet the community was in danger."Come on Greg. Are you serious? The agent has to commit crimes to get cosy with your client and his pals. What, pray tell, does that suggest about your clients?The phrase "in defense of the indefensible" comes to mind.Leo [email protected]

Citizen journalism lacks context

By now we have all seen the video of the Victoria police breaking up a nasty fight in the downtown core and during the arrests one police officer is seen kicking two different men.  On the surface, the video looks damning of the officer who has since been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. But on closer inspection it is clear that in the first situation an officer is struggling with one man trying to get him secured and the officer wearing the yellow jacket kicks the individual to get him to stop struggling.  The second is similar in that you can see one officer trying to get handcuffs on the individual who, I should mention, is 6'5" and 250 lbs.  The kicks are delivered in the context of securing that individual with handcuffs.  As soon as the man puts his left hand behind his back, ostensibly in surrender, there are no further blows struck and the handcuffs are applied. And here is the problem in a nutshell.  The police are allowed, by law, to use as much force as is necessary to execute their duty.  When they do, they must be prepared to justify that use of force and they are criminally responsible  for any excessive force.  The police know this and accept it as part of their job.  The test in each and every case is the key. For the purposes of this test, it is impossible to judge simply based on the video.  Whether this officer was justified in...

Better late than never

The ink was barely dry on a column I published last night wondering how the Liberal Party of Canada would handle the revelations about West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast MP Blair Wilson when, scant hours later, the Libs announced on their web site that he was done. And no, I am not claiming there is any connection. I'm just surprised at the speed of it. During the Jean Chretien era, allegations such as this would have been met with denials, obfuscation and more denials until the country lost interest or got pummelled into submission. Not this time it seems. Although, I am a little surprised that the Liberal Party is claiming that this is the first they have heard of allegations of impropriety about Wilson. I first wrote about him in January of 2005 and Terry O'Neill wrote on the subject in the Western Standard in the spring of 2006. So it is a little disingenous to claim this is new. But, better late than never I suppose. Wilson should never have been the MP for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast. There was more than enough information about him as a business failure and alleged con man going back into the '90s. But, for the Libs it seems none of it matters until it appears as a front page story in the mainstream media. While I applaud the action taken by Stephane Dion, it is still long overdue. Leo [email protected]

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