I am in no way inclined to defend the criminal justice system. It is clearly broken and dysfunctional on so many levels. From shooting and tasering of the mentally incompetent and innocent to trials that take decades and seem to be unduly influenced by expensive lawyers. From systemic gender and racial bias to flagrant injustices against the poor and uneducated, it has been shown time and time again that it fails to adhere even to it’s own fundamental principles. It seems, at times, that the law doesn’t even obey the law! We are simply NOT all equal before the law. We can’t rail against what is our so-called criminal justice system enough.
Having said that, it is all we have. If we judge, condemn and sentence people without due process – however flawed that process – we have no justice system at all! We have kangaroo courts prosecuted by allegations and gossip and the accused is unfairly sentenced to personal ruin and humiliation. And what a jump that social kangaroo is taking with Bill Cosby! What is happening to Bill Cosby is a travesty if not a crime.
But it is worse than just an unjust attack on a single person. THAT kind of injustice happens all the time. This public skewering is, in effect, also a widespread repudiation of the entire legal system by the media and the drooling public and, it seems, the consequences of that be damned!
Of all the places for society to revolt against the system, they choose this sordid incident with which to do it! What the hell?
Don’t get me wrong. I tend to think that Cosby was a bit sleazy at the very least. But it makes no difference what I think. The man is innocent until PROVEN guilty. Evidence has to be presented and testimony has to be delivered under oath and subject to cross examination. Anything less is third-world and barbaric.
Defending Cosby is hard to do mostly because the slander and libel and salacious media reporting is the only information being offered. So, I won’t. Instead read this as defending the legal system (and that makes me gag). Here is a man accused of a crime by numerous people. Charges may have been laid, I don’t know. Makes no difference to me. Charges are not convictions. So far, there is nothing that warrants the ruination of a person’s life, career and family that has been proven. But that is what is happening to Cosby.
THAT is a crime, whether he is eventually proven guilty of one or not.
What about Jian?! Well, he is a self-admitted sadist. Not nice at all. And he has been officially accused of ‘going too far’ and subsequently charged. How that plays out will be interesting for some but, at the very least, the system is engaged in that accusation. They may, as is too often the case, screw it up but at least both sides of the allegation will get their day in court. But consider this: UNLESS Jian is proven 100% innocent on every charge and the pope publicly forgives him, he is still ruined. The public has already ruled. His sentence has been levied already and any legal process is really just a salvage operation as far as he is concerned.
To me this is socially scary, illogical and self-defeating. Already the system can accuse, try and convict (to death) a person on the street by the use of too-liberal force by the police. Peaceful protesters can get arrested just for demonstrating and now require permits to do so. Hearings, Commissions and Review panels are restricted into impotence by their operating mandates. The voice of the people is being stifled everywhere and the life of the people is being threatened too often.
We don’t like that.
But are we not protesting the rot in the system by simply attacking one of our own? Is this what we do to protest unfair laws and the application of them…..we simply abandon justice when we find someone we don’t like anymore? Isn’t this just another lynching conducted by millions of vigilantes?
Maybe we should be blaming ourselves (and definitely the media) for perverting the course of justice?
My guess is when it comes to judgement by the man in the street emotions trump facts. It boils down to competence to apply the law. The man in the street generally has no special abilities to judge guilt or innocence but judges a case as he feels often second guessing court judgements. Reality has become a matter of opinion based on what the crowd thinks, what social media claims and it’s misinformed. Cosby is being bullied. Let him be charged or stop scandlizing him. Think of the politicians out for an evening going back to his room for a drink, he suggests an activity, she silently hands him a condom, an activity happens that she says was not consensual. Sort that one out. Do we need the sort of advise that mother used to give about not being alone with a casual friend late at night? What has happened to due care and attention? Knowing where one is and realizing the potential for events to go sideways seems prudent.
You know I agree with that. A snake is a snake and it is up to you not to tread on it. Girls, don’t go into men’s bedrooms!
But my point is slightly different – we are unsatisfied with our systems and institutions (I certainly am) but what do we have to rely on without them? Chuck the judicial system and kangaroos have their way with us.
In sexual cases, the lines are made even blurrier by sexual politics and hypocrisy and so the kangaroos already have their way with us.
Crikey, mate! Kangaros and snakes everywhere………….!!!!
The moment that citizens stop talking about the functioning of our institutions our challenges become greater. I respectfully submit that rot resides not in our constition nor in our charter of rights but in the imperious office of the Primer Minster. Who assumes powers that are duties of parliament. Harper is no longer answerable to Parliament. He thinks has presidential powers, in effect he is more like Putin.
Well, there’s that, to be sure. And I agree that the well-worded constitutions (like the laws) are not to be blamed. It is the people who are making a living off the application of them that are responsible for the errors. It is they who corrupt and desert the morals, principles and ethics enshrined in the constitution, human rights statements and institutional mission statements. There is likely no document ever written better than the US Constitution and one ever so badly mauled by those entrusted to implement it…well, maybe the Old Testament. It’s a close call.
Interesting topic. Trial by media.
While I have to admit I’m leaning a tad towards the “guilty” side of the kangaroo jury box on the Bill Cosby accusations its all moot. Too many accusers with the same general story from too many different times for it to be a coincidence. Some of the later accusations may be bandwagon riders but I’d venture to guess the majority of victims are telling the truth.
Statute of Limitations in the US has rendered any chance of a trial impossible.
As for Jian Gomeshi. Wow! The heights of hubris to the depths of dispair in mere months. Again, I’d say that his admitted version of “consentual rough sex” and the women he inflicted it upon. Only a Court will decide. It is however, too late. He’s been stripped, tarred and feathered in the Court of public opinion.
Personally, I feel he’s and Bill Cosby are sick violent individuals who were able to use their fame and fortune to facilitate their twisted lifestyles. And now they have been exposed.
What rich famous man will be next? Prince Andrew par chance? Oops, I’ll let the media hang him first before I verbally lash his twisting, twitching carcass
And therein lies the bigger problem: trial by media, social media and ‘personal inclinations’. Even if he is guilty, the idea that enough allegations is a sufficient weapon to bring someone to their knees is appalling and given that way too many women have a sexual chip on their shoulder, that makes any hetero male an easy target. And don’t forget – the male of the species sees sex differently than does the female of the species. So we have the NORMAL battle of the sexes going on and now one side has a distinct advantage (albeit the other side enjoyed one for a considerable time – but two wrongs does not make a right). Bottom line: we do not know the truth.
Speaking of Kangaroo Court…..when does Mike Duffy get to spew his version of reality? Rumours on the Hill are saying never. He’s too ill. Cant handle the pressure of court. Harper gets a “pass” before the election?
There are a number of ways to pervert justice. And Duffy may have done himself in as that kind of life has to be toxic in some kind of health/sanity way. But I would like to hear what he has to say. Maybe him and Micheal Sona?
I agree with your comments completely. Why have the Government Officials of today not realized the very legal system and fundamental freedoms espoused in our Constitution and Charter, as well as the American System, have been fought for and many, many people have died to defend that way of Government. Over the years, successive governments have allowed those freedoms to be eroded until we now find ourselves being monitored 24/7. Secret trials, arrest without probable cause and limitless detention without going to trial, all in the name of Security. Give us back out Constitutional Freedoms and I will be quite secure knowing the Police can no longer come into my home without a warrant, my car without a warrant and just shoot me, my son or my neighbor because, “I felt my life was threatened by a stapler he had in his hand”, the killing of Robert Dzkanski at YVR
The Robt. D. affair always upsets me. A crime of the worst kind. Totally evil. But I do not think we will ever evolve to the point that such things don’t happen. T’is the nature of man at some kind of dark level. Our salvation from that is in the law and the government but they, themselves, seem to have been co-opted by money, ease, privilege or a sense of entitlement. Something. It is hard to find those with a good moral backbone these days. Having said that, I am a chartered arbitrator and I have had lots of cases where finding the right decision was NOT easy. Sometimes it is a tough job to FIND the truth. I admit that freely. But a stapler? That would NOT have been a hard situation to do properly.