29 January 2007

No rush to judgement here

Lately, there's been a whole lot of moaning about "Willie" Pickton not getting a fair trial. If there was a "rush to judgement" here... I sure wouldn't want see what a meticulous investigation involves...

Police would eventually take 400,000 swabs from furniture pieces and from inside Mr. Pickton's buildings, Insp. Adam told court. At one point, the Pickton probe had used up the country's entire supply of white suits.

Eventually, the property was divided into 216 grids and, by the end of the investigation, approximately 382,00 cubic yards of soil passed through police conveyer belts.
I'm guessin' 400,000 DNA tests alone, translates into mucho taxpayer dinero.

RELATED: The purpose of the justice system

Over at Damian's, they're gettin' down to it...
So let's state this without ambiguity: the criminal justice system exists to protect the law-abiding individual from the criminal.

Anything else that it may try to do, such as reforming delinquents, treating drug addicts or addressing social deprivation, however admirable in itself, will be largely pointless if it fails in that primary purpose.

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Peter Loewen said...


I think you are not totally conveying what a fair trial involves. It obviously involves meticulous and objective police work, which your post highlights well. But, it also involves a jury which is not prejudicial, that is, one which hasn't made up it's mind before hearing the evidence in a court of law.

I am not sure I am among those who you consider to be whining about Pickton, but it remains that by being very concerned about Pickton's right to a fair trial we do justice to all those killed by him or by others. A fair trial is as much about the rights of those killed as it is about Pickton's rights.

Neo Conservative said...

peter... i take your point.

i'm not sure what, if anything, could be done to remedy the "impartial jury" scenario you refer to.

does pickton have the right to ask for a trial by judge only? that might be the best remedy under the present system although i suspect his team of lawyers are just rarin' to be at the center of a high-visibility jury trial.

i'm afraid i'm a firm believer in the maxim "the law is an ass"... there is the law in all it's "theoretical splendour"... and the contradiction of letting a (not necessarily pickton) clearly dangerous, guilty individual slide on a technicality.

while pickton is "presumed innocent" until such time as his guilt has been legally writ... he clearly has as much blood on his hands, as say... oj simpson. to find either of these monsters not guilty, in my mind, would be a crime in itself. and it was.

i suppose the canadian system of justice, to loosely paraphrase a famous quote, is the worst possible system of justice... except for all the others.

i, for example, disagree with not telling a murder jury that the defendant also killed his mother and ate her liver, even if it occurred years prior to the current charge. it would be prejudicial, but it would also be factual. i suspect you would side with the system that would disallow making this information known.

we'll just have to agree to disagree on some of this stuff, i'm afraid.

you are younger than i and more idealistic... and that is as it should be.

the reality for all of us, is that we all have to live with our imperfect world, warts and all.


Peter Loewen said...


I can actually really sympathize with the distaste about people getting off on technicalities. And you've predicted my response: it's the price we pay for a fair system.

I guess the only thing that could be done now to ensure a fair trial for Pickton on future counts is find an impartial jury - which if it exists is currently dwelling in a cave - or to give him a trial by judge, for which he has the option.

And I agree that Pickton certainly appears guilty, and I don't know how else it could be. But I am generally of the mind - and it's due to my training - that a lot of what we find in the world we find because we want to and not because it is "true". So, hopefully, the trial will make clear how refutable all of this is.