Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Are We There Yet?

Justice delayed is justice denied. -- William Gladstone

Any parent will tell you how frustrating it is to hear incessant "Are we there yet?" when on a road trip. More people should be saying something like that when it comes to the not-so-swift prosecution of criminals, particularly ones who are accused of heinous deeds.

In the following examples, I have not given any names because I believe the names of people who commit such atrocities should be forgotten.

The preliminary hearing has just wrapped up for the person who was charged in 2012 with the dismemberment of a Chinese student and mailing his body parts across the country. The trial will not take place until the autumn of 2014.

For the accused in a 2009 case of three womens' bodies found in their submerged car, two years and three months elapsed between the arrests and the start of the trial.

For the lowlife who was charged in 2002 in connection with the disappearance of dozens of women in Vancouver, it was almost FIVE YEARS before his murder trial began.


Several articles that I researched cited the following reasons for such delays.

1. Invocation of the accused's right to a preliminary hearing.
2. Availability of court facilities, the judge, lawyers, and witnesses.
3. Jury selection and availability of jurors.
4. It's to everyone's interest to wait until emotions have cooled down.

These are good reasons to be sure, but still, can't there be steps taken to reduce the waiting time?

Yes, we all know that the court system is overloaded. However it's inhumane to force the victims' families to suffer with their anger and grief for prolonged periods of time until receiving the closure of a verdict. Also, the longer the time between the event and the trial, the more likely the memories of any witnesses will become blurred. (Defense lawyers know this, and will take full advantage of the fact.)

My mother-in-law has a simple solution. If there was incontrovertible evidence that a person committed a serious crime such as murder, rape, or child abuse, then just dispense with the trial and shoot them on the spot. Or drop them in Antarctica in the dead of winter. In her world, overpopulation would not be a problem.

I know that's extreme, but realistically, some of these criminals do not deserve a roof over their heads and three meals a day at the expense of law-abiding taxpayers.

1 comment:

  1. I witnessed a burglary in the summer of 1993 and was called to court a year later. I was completely honest that my memory of the accused was dim, and nobody seemed surprised. It's normal.

    When James was assaulted in 2006 the cops gave him a copy of his statement, so that if he had to go to court he could use it to help jog his memory. That's how bad it is, they help you!