Sunday, June 20, 2010

Abuse of process

Try to imagine this.

You are a Canadian citizen. One day you're accused out of the blue of a serious crime committed in another country several decades ago. You are jailed, pending an extradition hearing. The court allows you out on bail, but you must pay several thousand dollars a month out of your own pocket for a GPS monitoring device. Given that you have been unjustly fired from your job, this is difficult, but friends and family are helping out.

After several months, the case collapses.

Are you free?

Nope. Not in Canada, not in 2010.

The other country now wants to build an entirely fresh case, from scratch. The Canadian prosecutor, unusually zealous in this matter, is completely on-side. He also demands, incredibly, that your defence counsel not be allowed to bring expert witnesses to rebut the new "evidence," after they successfully shredded the old. Earlier, this Crown attorney had been caught using dubious "translations" of documents from the other country. He seems, in other words, to have an axe to grind.

And the judge, who has already granted the Crown lengthy adjournments, insists on continuing your onerous bail conditions on your own dime, and permits the other country several more months to invent construct its new case.

Meet Canada's Dreyfus, Hassan Diab.

The judge in the case, Robert Maranger, has been bending over backwards to permit the Crown to pursue its ends on behalf of France. He has permitted delay after costly delay to let this dreadful farce play out. His refusal to ease bail conditions is just the latest injustice perpetrated by our cracked legal system against a fellow citizen who, in days of old, was presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Such an obvious abuse of process by the Crown attorney
--the word "railroading" springs to mind--should be nipped in the bud with a formal complaint. The judge who has been facilitating the travesty should recuse himself. This legal proceeding should be a national scandal. But "should" is the operative word. None of this will happen. The anti-terrorist drama demands fresh sacrifices. And it's not as though the judicial victim's name is "Bob Smith."

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