A loss of in­no­cence

The Compass - - OPIN­ION -

It’s the sea­son for va­ca­tions, sum­mer fes­ti­vals, gar­den­ing and leisure.

The last thing res­i­dents of Con­cep­tion Bay North were think­ing about as they went to bed on Satur­day, June 28 is that they would wake up to news of a vi­o­lent death in the small, peace­ful town of North River.

But that’s what hap­pened last week, with news sur­fac­ing that Dale Porter, a man in his early 40s and a fa­ther of two, was killed dur­ing a vi­o­lent al­ter­ca­tion at his prop­erty on North River Road, near the in­ter­sec­tion with Ef­ford’s Road. Porter had re­turned home after a night out at a club in Bay Roberts. Sources say he was ac­com­pa­nied by three oth­ers, and the taxi driver.

He was dis­cov­ered later when a sec­ond taxi ar­rived at his prop­erty with an­other group of friends, with the life slowly drain­ing from his blood­ied body.

The homi­cide drew a very heavy po­lice pres­ence to the town, as in­ves­ti­ga­tors dropped a vir­tual net over the scene and be­gan an in­tense ef­fort to find a sus­pect, or sus­pects. The road through town was closed for four days as spe­cial­ists scoured for clues and ev­i­dence, vol­un­teer searchers were brought in to sift through nearby wooded ar­eas, and po­lice con­ducted dozens of in­ter­views.

Res­i­dents were quickly put on edge as spec­u­la­tion and ru­mours started to grow, and those who never gave a sec­ond thought about such things started lock­ing their doors and ven­tur­ing out­side with a splin­tered sense of safety.

The un­cer­tainty and fear was un­wel­come and un­ex­pected, and un­fa­mil­iar for an area not ac­cus­tomed to such high pro­file, dra­matic and deadly in­ci­dents.

And by late last week, de­spite the best ef­forts of in­ves­ti­ga­tors, po­lice were say­ing that there were no sus­pects. How­ever, there was so­lace in the fact that pub­lic safety was not an is­sue, with po­lice of­fer­ing as­sur­ances to that af­fect.

Not to be for­got­ten in the com­mo­tion was the loss of a man de­scribed by many as lik­able, quiet and help­ful in his com­mu­nity; a man who, like all of us, had his faults, but was ded­i­cated to his chil­dren and earned an honourable liv­ing in the fish­ery.

Did Dale Porter de­serve to have his life ended in such a vi­o­lent way? Cer­tainly not. Will jus­tice be served? We can only hope and pray. His fam­ily, es­pe­cially his chil­dren, de­serve noth­ing less.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors have the weighty re­spon­si­bil­ity of prov­ing their case be­yond any rea­son­able doubt, in keep­ing with a jus­tice sys­tem that pre­sumes every­one in­no­cent un­til proven guilty.

That’s why it’s im­por­tant that the men and women tasked to help solve this crime re­ceive un­wa­ver­ing sup­port, co-op­er­a­tion and pa­tience from area res­i­dents.

— Terry Roberts

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