Prime Time Crime

(Prime Time Crime exclusive June 6, 2011)

Legal Rights?  Cops need not apply

By Bob Cooper




In a recent column (A responsibility to speak out) I confessed to my readers that I found myself in agreement with David Eby and the BC Criminal Liberties Association which just goes against the natural order of things.  Fortunately, the agreement was as short-lived as it was disturbing.

In the June 1, 2011  Vancouver Province (Deluge of litigation slows police complaints process) Eby is critical of police officers who have filed lawsuits against the Office of the Police Complaints Commission alleging that in several cases the Commission has overstepped its authority.   Eby refers to these challenges as a “blizzard”.  All nine of them.

These officers are saying that they are being unfairly treated by the OPCC which is an agency of the state.  They are saying that the OPCC is ordering hearings and doing things beyond what the law permits it to do and are seeking relief in the courts.  It comes down to the rights of individuals against the power of the state, no more, no less.  Normally the raison-d’être of the BCCLA.

Eby said “the legal challenges hamper the resources of a small public body like the OPCC and they also affect whether officers are held accountable”.  Oh gee, why didn’t you say so?  We’ll all just roll over and plead guilty then.  His argument appears to be that because government hasn’t funded the OPCC to the degree that they should have then the OPCC should be entitled to take shortcuts and violate the rights of cops and they should just sit there and take it.   You know, for the greater good.

If this were a few of of society’s worst criminals complaining that the police violated their rights by say, tricking them in an interrogation or bringing them a latte when they asked for expresso, the BCCLA would be setting their hair on fire over it but when it involves the rights of policemen?  Who cares?  Eby characterized the suits as “frivolous”.

 “Frivolous” would be quite appropriate in the context of his next cause célèbre (Jury pools may wrongly exclude first nations, study suggests) in which he complains that Aboriginals in BC may be underrepresented on juries because some pool lists are out of date and people who live more than one hour from court are excluded.  Rather like saying that since Chinese are overrepresented in the Commerce Faculty and underrepresented in English Literature UBC should re-arrange the numbers.  I didn’t realize that everything was an ‘even-steven’ game.

You’d really think the BCCLA would find something better to do.  In their case this could include a bottle drive, car wash, or watching Dancing With The Stars.

Bob Cooper is a retired Vancouver policeman.  He walked a beat in Chinatown and later worked in the Asian Organized Crime Section and the Homicide Squad.



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