We need to change how we deal with technical violations in criminal trials
There have been several court cases in the last couple years that are starting to make me question whether the courts are considering the implications of their actions when they make decisions.
I have seen over the last few years a few court cases getting thrown out in rather bizarre and realistically stupid circumstances.
One case recently involved the decision by the courts to not convict a drunk driver due to the fact that he was not offered service in the language of his choice quickly enough.
A second case involved an accused pedophile in N.S., who was not brought to trial quickly enough (case was brought to the attention of the police in 2000, he was charged in 2008 and acquitted in 2011) and a third case involving a drunk driving causing death charge that was thrown out because the driver was not given access to his lawyer on request.
I believe the courts need to start looking at different options when it comes to these technical violations by the police. For instance, in none of the cases above have we ever heard mention of any disciplinary action against the police officers involved in the case and in all cases, major criminal offences are going unpunished because of technicalities. I believe we need to readdress these situations and instead of treating these situations as get out of jail free cards they should instead be looked at with the potential of reducing actual jail time.
In addition, in any case where these technical violations affect the sentence at trial the court should be imposing a penalty on the officer, from a fine, to loss of rank or even loss of job depending on the severity of the issue and the frequency at which the specific officer is involved in situations where the technical rights of the accused are violated.
While right to a lawyer, right to a speedy trial and right to service in your own language are human rights designed to protect the rights of the accused, the victims in these cases also have the right to expect that the criminal involved is going to be punished to the fullest extent of the law and the victims are quite often seeing their rights violated because of these small technicalities. We need to move beyond the idea of letting technicalities become get out of jail free cards and instead use them to weight the sentencing after the true justice of finding guilt has been completed. Without holding these people and the police officers responsible for the violations responsible for their actions we do not have a justice system, only have a joke of a system that is used by people for their own purposes to walk away from serious crimes without punishment.
We cannot continue to allow this to happen