Prime Time Crime

(Prime Time Crime exclusive May  4, 2012)

Non-specific whining

By Bob Cooper


A number of my readers have asked if I was going to do a piece on the Missing Women’s Commission of Inquiry chaired by retired Justice and former Attorney-General Wally Oppal.  Out of respect for the process and because there was a possibility of my being called to testify, I’ve chosen not to up to this point but because this doesn’t involve any evidence before the Commission, I couldn’t resist.

Since this thing got underway it’s been beset by all manner of criticism with poor Wally bearing the brunt of most of it even though it has involved circumstances completely beyond his control like time limits, or funding for lawyers for special interest groups.  While some of the criticism has some relevance a lot of it is just whining but it’s at least directed at a particular irritant.

According to his detractors Wally’s latest sin was to play a bit part in a movie in which a bankrupt man is killing investment bankers and stockbrokers making me wonder if the producer took some literary license with Shakespeare’s quote about lawyers.  He did this completely on his own time and the actual filming took 4 hours on a Sunday morning.  All Wally had to do was show up, report to Make-up, and get shot.  His lines involved little more that ‘ow’ so he didn’t have to spend a lot of time learning them.

Over at the BC Criminal Liberties Association I’m starting to wonder if David Eby is on leave and Robert Holmes is Acting as Chief Attention Whore.  (Gasps all round – ‘He said whore’).  Holmes and Ernie Crey both acknowledge that Wally’s private life is his own, then go on to criticize him for taking the part but really don’t know why.  Holmes says it adds to the perception that the inquiry has not been handled “in as deft a manner as it should have been”.   “Commissioner, you’re charged with ‘lack of deftness’.”   “I want a lawyer”.

I say that Wally is as entitled to his time off as much as anyone else and what he does with that time is none of anyone’s business.   I can cut Crey a bit of slack because he’s a layman who’s lost a family member and there’s obviously some emotion involved.  Holmes, on the other hand, is a lawyer and should know better but some people are drawn to microphones like moths to a flame and just don’t know when to keep their mouths shut and walk away.  Perhaps the mainstream press should have asked Holmes what he did last weekend and why he wasn’t out walking the streets looking for downtrodden souls having their rights abused.

I wrote this because usually judges and commissioners tend to stay above the fray and not defend themselves.  Just as I finished it I came across this article which makes it clear that Wally needs no help.  (Missing Women commissioner Wally Oppal gets cameo role in movie about serial killer) Oppal shot back that if the BCCLA “spent less time complaining about what I did on a Sunday and more taking part in this inquiry, it might be more fruitful.”  Good line, sir.



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.



Prime Time Crime

Contributing 2012