Prime Time Crime

(Prime Time Crime exclusive July 12, 2008)

Not even a bracelet

By Bob Cooper



The release on bail of Inderjit Singh Reyat, the only person ever convicted in the Air India bombing was bad enough.  He’s charged with Perjury, a crime in itself that strikes at the very core of our justice system.  An even greater aggravating factor in this case is that the perjury likely led, at least in part, to the acquittal of 2 other men believed to be the masterminds behind the worst mass murder in Canadian history.  Given the comments of the trial judge at the time it doesn’t sound like the strength of the Crown’s case is an issue.

Making matters worse was Attorney-General Wally Oppal’s assurance that the release conditions imposed by the Court of Appeal were “about as strict as you can get” and that the public should continue to have confidence in the justice system.  Note to Wally:  For most Canadians, particularly the Air India families, that ship sailed a long time ago.

At the same time it struck me as very odd that a publication ban was first imposed on the release conditions.  When the conditions were released in the afternoon the reason became clear.  “About as strict as you can get”?  Not even close and they certainly won’t deter a committed terrorist who’s already responsible for the deaths of over 300 people or those whose best interests would be served with Reyat out of the country or in jail.  He doesn’t even have to wear an ankle bracelet.  Federal Justice critic Ujjal Dosanjh, not exactly a hardliner, and the Toronto Star were critical of the decision, and that’s saying something.

The sight of Reyat’s supporters welcoming him like he’d just cured cancer was particularly sickening but should serve to remind all Canadians that terrorists still walk among us and not to become complacent.  The whole thing was best described by Liberal MLA Dave Hayer, whose own father was murdered by Reyat’s fellow travelers for daring to speak out against these killers and before he could testify at the Air India trial.  Mr. Hayer asked rhetorically why all of the rights are reserved for criminals and none for victims.

Further note to Wally:  Your own backbencher has it right and a quick appeal is in order.  Then the feds need to tighten up the Bail Reform Act.  Both things are owed to the Air India victims and their families, not to mention the memory of a courageous man like Tara Singh Hayer whose murder remains unsolved. Sadly, the message all of this sends to the public and particularly the East Indian community goes a long way to ensuring that, should a horrible crime like Air India occur again it will be even tougher to solve. 

Mr. Justice Dohm knew this and did his best to avoid it.

Prime Time Crime

Contributing 2008