The court changes do not fit the crimes

Nor'wester (Springdale) - - EDITORIAL -

Imag­ine if the NHL had changed the rules mid-way through the sea­son and then ap­plied them to games al­ready played – thereby of­ten chang­ing the out­come of th­ese games. Of course, it didn’t hap­pen.

Any rule change is meant for fu­ture games.

This gives the play­ers, coaches and of­fi­cials time to ad­just to the new play­ing field. It’s a sen­si­ble and log­i­cal way to run any sport’s league.

Un­for­tu­nately, sen­si­bil­ity and logic have aban­doned the judges of the Supreme Court of Canada. Con­sider the fol­low­ing:

Un­der the R vs Jor­dan rul­ing which the Supreme Court ren­dered in July of 2016, it set very pre­cise guide­lines about how long a case should take to move through the jus­tice sys­tem. If a case ex­ceeded th­ese guide­lines, it would be thrown out and the ac­cused freed. This would make per­fect sense if the court had ap­plied its rul­ing to cases that en­tered the sys­tem af­ter its rul­ing had been brought down.

In­stead, it ap­plied its rul­ing to cases that had al­ready been in the sys­tem for any num­ber of years.

The re­sult of the rul­ing is that ac­cused mur­der­ers, rapists, mug­gers, thieves, ar­son­ists, and drug deal­ers have been and will be re­leased with­out ever go­ing to trial.

The in­jus­tice of the court’s de­ci­sion was so ob­vi­ous that four of the Supreme Court Jus­tices voted against it — re­sult­ing in an al­most un­heard of 5-4 split within the Court.

Now, imag­ine you are a vic­tim of one of th­ese ac­cused crim­i­nals who walk free. When you cry out for jus­tice, who will lis­ten – es­pe­cially when the Supreme Court (the high­est court in the land) has made it clear the rights of vic­tims are ir­rel­e­vant to the ju­di­cial process.

On June 16, the Supreme Court had a chance to re­pair the ter­ri­ble harm it had done. In­stead, it main­tained the rul­ing with a 7-0 vote. On each oc­ca­sion, the Supreme Court has been very log­i­cal in its ex­pla­na­tion for its de­ci­sion. This re­minds me of an in­ci­dent which hap­pened dur­ing the Viet­nam War.

An Amer­i­can of­fi­cer was asked why his troops had de­stroyed a friendly vil­lage. His sin­cere re­ply which was per­fectly log­i­cal to him was “It be­came nec­es­sary to de­stroy the vil­lage to save it.” The vil­lagers — now home­less — were no more com­forted by the of­fi­cer’s cold logic than the vic­tims who have been de­nied jus­tice have been com­forted by the cold logic of the Supreme Court judges.

Usu­ally, Cana­di­ans are very proud of their coun­try — and rightly so — but this time there can only be shame.

Llew Houn­sell, Cor­ner Brook

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