Prime Time Crime



(Published in the Abbotsford News week of July 5, 2004)


Ontario Justice Doesn't Know Meaning of the Word


John Pifer


If ever proof was needed to show how the inmates are truly running the asylum in Canada these days, one need look no further than the court of Ontario justice Donald Halikowski.


The honourable (gag me with a spoon!) provincial court judge is the man who passed a pathetic, contemptible sentence of only nine months imprisonment, which means that they might serve three months) on a couple who had systematically abused and deprived two young brothers whom they had adopted. The boys, beginning from ages two and three, were subjected to cruel and inhuman punishment wherein they were tied up and locked in cages, dehydrated to the point that they drank their own urine, and were physically and verbally abused by their aunt and her husband  for 13 years.


The judge devoted most of the sentencing hearing for the obviously mentally-deranged couple to defending their actions, suggesting that it might well have been they who were the victims, and that the boys might have been somewhat to blame for their plight because they were difficult children.


Such narrow-minded, bleeding-heart stupidity seems to be the order of the day in our nations courts, as the real victims see that injustice prevails far too often.


In this case, Halikowskis findings suggested that the illiterate husband and the supposedly-abused-at-childhood mother could not stop from passing on the abuse to the boys. Yet it was revealed that they had raised a son and daughter of their own, without any such depravity. If they could not handle raising the two boys properly or without abusing them, what gave them the right to treat them like caged animals, or worse?


Questions also must be asked of what went wrong in the supposed safety net that is the social services industry. The boys were adopted after their mother died of alcohol abuse, yet there seems to have been little if any follow-up by social workers to ensure that they were doing OK. This was a matter of prolonged abuse and suffering for heavens sakes  13 years worth!


The sentence must be appealed immediately and vehemently. The far-from-learned judge must be removed from the bench. Our society cannot afford to have him sitting in judgement of anyone ever again. Before the justice system and the legal profession circle the wagons to defend yet another of their own who is apparently either incompetent or gullible or both, there must be true justice delivered here.


If Halikowski remains in this position of authority, the people of Ontario, and the people of Canada must sustain an outcry that does not compromise or excuse his actions. And that outrage must be sustained, not simply peter out after a flurry of editorials and columns condemning the handling of the case. This country and many of its people are already notoriously soft on crime and those who commit vile acts. It must stop here. Now.


This scribe truly hopes that attacks come this way stating that a column such as this brings the justice system into disrepute. It might provide a further opportunity to show that all too often the decisions from the elevated benches of our courts are what bring on that disrepute, with no help from me.


Veteran B.C. journalist/broadcaster John Pifer may be reached at






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