Back to Resource Centre

Western Society and Justice

As a society we seem to have evolved in a strange way ... our justice system is a good example of this and it has been front and centre this week, so I thought I would comment on a few current situations.

1. Robert Latimer has been in jail for 6 years for the "mercy killing" of his severely handicapped little girl. This week he was refused parole because he is considered to still be a threat to society ... that based upon the fact he still thinks he made the right choice. What a sad case, and what a screwed up system we have. How is this man still a threat to society? Do they think he will seek out other handicapped people and ill them? Here is someone that was seen as a good person before the event, who obviously loved his daughter and made a horrific choice (I don't know what I would do in the same situation) and someone who everyone who knows says is a good man. What good does it serve the public that he is in jail?

2. Conrad Black jailed for 6 years plus for his white collar crimes. A high profile Canadian figure being tried in the US courts, and the prosecution wanted 30 years!!! The guy treated a public corporation like it was his own and certainly shareholders were hurt ... so the guy needs to be punished. Why can he not be forced to work for the public good for some years? Why could the courts just not strip money from him ... and those members of his family who also benefited? Does it make sense that these white collar criminals are treated in a similar manner to murderers and terrorists? That really does not compensate anyone nor solve a problem. Deterrent ... it doesn't seem to be working!

3. Robert Picton was convicted of second degree murder in the death of six women. It took 5 years and a 10 month trial at huge expense to the public to get here ... and now he is likely to be charged for another 20 women (at what cost). He gets 6 life sentences ... so what? Surely our justice system should be able to bring "justice" faster, surely he should never have gotten away with second degree murder ... the man is a serial killer. The defence lawyer spoke about the millions of documents involved in the case and the obvious need for our Canadian system to have equal rights for everyone. Still ... 5 years, the costs, the result ... it all adds up to a broken system. This guy should have been locked away for life, with no chance of parole and deemed a menace to society at least four years ago. At least that would have felt a little more like justice .. and the families could have moved on with their lives that much earlier.

Surely as a society we can find better ways to deal with the various transgressions that happen, and keep in mind what is TRULY beneficial to society.