Lot­tery charges are ab­surd

Open­ing door to al­low po­lice depart­ment to bend rules to fur­ther their own agen­das

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - OPINION - BY JOSEPH MACDONALD Joseph Macdonald of Char­lot­te­town is a long-time ad­vo­cate of equal jus­tice for all Cana­di­ans

As an ed­u­cated in­di­vid­ual and a long time sup­porter of our lo­cal jus­tice sys­tem I feel the need to voice my opin­ion on some cur­rent events tak­ing place in our back­yard.

The cur­rent pros­e­cu­tion of the lo­cal Hells An­gels hang around club is un­just and is an in­fringe­ment on our rights as Cana­dian cit­i­zens. I am very sup­port­ive of keep­ing the pub­lic safe and pre­vent­ing se­ri­ous crime, but al­low­ing the lo­cal po­lice depart­ment to pros­e­cute a group of in­di­vid­u­als based on a rep­u­ta­tion and not based on ac­tual crim­i­nal ac­tions is open­ing the door to al­low­ing the po­lice depart­ment to bend rules to fur­ther their own agen­das. The se­ri­ous crimes that have been com­mit­ted by th­ese in­di­vid­u­als have been gravely ex­ag­ger­ated by the lo­cal po­lice and me­dia caus­ing the per­sonal and pro­fes­sional rep­u­ta­tions of th­ese peo­ple to be tar­nished.

The charges listed by the po­lice are ab­surd and a stretch at most. Tak­ing in money for games of chance, such as ticket draws and poker runs, with prizes awarded to the win­ner with­out be­ing granted a lot­tery li­cence from the prov­ince? This s a ba­sic charge that could be placed on any per­son who makes a bet with a friend, has a friendly game of poker on the week­end with some friends, or any other seem­ingly harm­less ac­tiv­ity that in­volves gam­bling that about 90 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion wouldn’t re­al­ize is il­le­gal.

This charge would nor­mally re­sult in the seiz­ing of any money earned from the event and a mon­e­tary fine to be paid by the ac­cused. The other charges are listed as par­tic­i­pat­ing in ac­tiv­i­ties of a crim­i­nal or­ga­ni­za­tion and one charge which re­lates to the com­mis­sion of an of­fence for a crim­i­nal or­ga­ni­za­tion. Ba­si­cally the two charges are say­ing that the first crime was com­mit­ted for a crim­i­nal or­ga­ni­za­tion, which is as­sum­ing that the money re­trieved from the bust was to con­trib­ute to crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties. This is why I be­lieve that the 14-year sen­tence that is be­ing pro­posed is ab­surd and quite frankly wrong for a crime that should be con­sid­ered a mis­de­meanor. This was more than likely com­mit­ted be­cause of the lack of knowl­edge of the laws gov­ern­ing events of this man­ner, not out of in­tent to ac­tu­ally com­mit a crime.

Af­ter see­ing this in­for­ma­tion I be­lieve that the cir­cus that has been pa­raded in front of the pub­lic is ridicu­lous, th­ese men have had their names drug through the mud for some­thing that shouldn’t even have made its way to the me­dia. I feel as by al­low­ing this to hap­pen we are de­valu­ing our own rights as cana­di­ans and giv­ing con­sent to be treated this way by the gov­ern­ing forces be­fore we have even been charged with a crime. What­ever hap­pened to be­ing in­no­cent un­til proven guilty?

The po­lice have the motto when it comes to deal­ing with the Hells An­gels as to nip it in the bud be­fore they com­mit a crime. Well I may speed on my way to work this morn­ing but that doesn’t mean that an RCMP car should meet me at my drive­way and hand me a ticket be­cause I may break a law.

I am by no means a con­spir­acy believer, but I feel that th­ese are just step­ping stones to al­low­ing cor­rup­tion to hap­pen within our gov­ern­ment and that we should be voic­ing our opin­ions now be­fore this is too late. I re­ally doubt that I am alone in my be­liefs when it comes to th­ese mat­ters and I hope that oth­ers will ex­press their be­liefs too. I am not say­ing that ev­ery­one needs to stand up and sup­port the An­gels, I’m say­ing ev­ery­one needs to put aside their dif­fer­ences and stand up for our rights as Cana­di­ans and keep our rights in­tact

This let­ter may never make it to print and if it does it may anger some peo­ple who read it, but to make change you al­ways have to ruf­fle a few f eathers.

BRIAN MCIN­NIS /THE GUARDIAN

Some of the nine men ar­rested by po­lice in Char­lot­te­town last month, and are al­leged to be as­so­ci­ated with the Hells An­gels, are es­corted into provin­cial court in Char­lot­te­town. They are all fac­ing mul­ti­ple charges, in­clud­ing run­ning an al­legedly...

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