A couple of weeks back a provincial court judge on Vancouver Island earned himself a rebuke from a charter member of the legal industry sitting on the bench of the BC Court of Appeal when he wrote in a written response to a defense submission requesting yet another slap on the wrist for his client by way of a Conditional Sentence Order or CSO.
The judge, stricken with an unconscionable fit of common sense, said: "CSOs, as I have said repeatedly, have become little more than glorified probation orders . . . it is hard to imagine them having any effect on an offender except as a matter of inconvenience. "It is hard to imagine, as well, that these sentences have any credibility with the public."
The Court of Appeal judicial tribunal evidently thought that bit of overt logic was beyond the purview of a lowly PCJ and said the comments were "not appropriate" and could "potentially undermine public confidence in the judicial process."
What, in sweet Fanny Adams, are they drinking up there in the Court of Appeal Chambers? Do they actually believe that the public has any confidence whatsoever in the judicial process? Here’s some flash traffic for the silk-gowned elitists: The public has absolutely no confidence in the judicial process. None. Zip. Zero. Nada. The only people who have confidence in the system are the habitual criminals, gangsters and drug dealers who know the system will visit few, if any, consequences upon them time after time after time after time.
In the past couple of weeks though, there are a few signs that some common sense is starting to eke into the thinking of the politicians. Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced in the Throne Speech last week that he is fed up with the Liberals blockading their anti-crime initiatives that have resonated with voters across the country. This isn’t a right and left issue, it is a right and wrong issue. And any effort to stymie the changes to the Criminal Code legislation suggested by the Harper government is wrong.
CSO’s, first foisted upon an unwitting nation by Jean Chretien’s sad, tired and corrupt government, have absolutely got to go. They may, and I say may with an abundance of caution, be appropriate in some cases where the accused is in front of the courts for the first time. That’s it. CSO’s . . .house arrest . . .grounding, however you wish to describe the sham perpetrated upon law-abiding Canadians, has to be severely curtailed.
But there are those hand-wringers who really think that a leopard can change its spots and that the rest of us deserve to be victimized again and again. Consider this letter in the October 21st issue of The Province.
In the first place, I wish she were a voice in the wilderness, but she seems to reflect decades of thinking by the Liberal Party of Canada and far too many thousands of under-achievers in the federal bureaucracy. Notice the hint of “RACIST” in the letter? What absolute nonsense! The only part of it that made any sense was when she said the criminal justice system has been proven to be ineffective is stopping crime. She might have added the liberal created criminal justice system and she would have been closer to the truth.
I applaud the Prime Minister and his attempt to take control of our justice system and our streets as a result. But, his is not only to talk the talk. He must be seen to walk the walk. We shall see if he stays the course amid the shifting political winds. As for the letter writer, I wonder if she and the other members of the lunatic fringe would consider wearing an orange cone on their heads as they venture out in public. It would be much easier to shun them.