Justice System is a charade

For years I have been saying the justice system as it is administered in BC is fundamentally broken. Last week Attorney General Wally Oppal appeared to agree when he said we have to get tougher on habitual car thieves. And who could argue with him? It remains to be seen whether Oppal will back up his words with action that is desperately needed in that one area.

But, Oppal would be well-advised to broaden his point of perspective and look at the system as a whole. Yes, car thieves are a huge problem in BC. With a thousand cars a week being stolen by a small group of habitual thieves it’s a no-brainer for Oppal to finally say something needs to be done.

But this is British Columbia, a place that is a haven for those who engage in criminal activity.

Yes, a haven for the criminal class. A strong statement perhaps, but a very accurate one much to the chagrin of those of us who pay the freight for the system and the price for its failings.

The problem is acted out daily in our courts. Some thug is arrested for yet another slap in the face of society and appears in front of a Provincial Court Judge. The judge tsks-tsks for a while then metes out superficial bail conditions to an habitual offender already serving a term of probation, which he ignored, in the naive belief that some new conditions and some finger-wagging will have an effect.

It’s a charade and every judge instinctively knows it. Yet, they play their role without complaining about the futility of it all.

Allow me to give you an example. On July 2nd a young man was walking home from his girlfriend’s house in Richmond. He got jumped by six young men. Men he had never seen before and to whom he had absolutely no connection.

He was pepper-sprayed, kicked, beaten and stabbed. In spite of his injuries, he was able to call 9-1-1 and the RCMP dog unit that responded tracked down and arrested Patrick Gregory Adamczewski, a 19 year old criminal frequent flyer. He was charged with attempted murder. Charges, I might add, which were later reduced to aggravated assault and assault with a weapon. Lesser charges, but still, one would think, serious.

Note that these were not the oft-described “non-violent” offences for which the system routinely activates the revolving door on the front of the courthouse.

Adamczewski was arraigned and released on bail with the usual condition to keep the peace and be of good behaviour among other things. His mother showing a faith only a mother could, put up a $25,000 surety to secure his release. He ignored the court-imposed conditions to no one’s surprise.

On September 2nd he was arrested. When he was brought before a judge on the new charges, and despite his history, much of which I cannot tell you about to protect the young man’s privacy, he was again released on bail.

And with that, the courts, yet again, failed in their duty to protect the public.

Leo Knight

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