Friday, July 24, 2009

The State of Mind

I have been away from this blog for a while..I've been ear deep in legal research. I have been pouring over volumes of Supreme Court judgements. Two recent decisions have me scratching my head. Two Identical cases, in that two people minding their own business when they are detained for very little reason. The one fellow was driving his car the speed limit, it appears obeying the law is suspicious in this day and age. The other fellow was walking down the street. The first fellow had his car searched unwarrantably the police found 6 million in cocaine in the back. The other fellow was not searched but asked what he was doing and if he had anything he shouldn't, to which he did answer yes a bag of weed and a firearm. His foolishness and the firearm aside, how does walking down the street become suspicious behaviour warranting the police to confront you? While I am loath to use the race card it appears just being black enough. These issues of what they possessed is not the issue, it was how they were dealt with.

The SCC deemed that the cocaine was to be excluded as evidence, as it would bring the administration of justice into disrepute. Net result Crown's case collapses and the guy skates on the charges. Our other fellow is not given the same interpretation of the Charter and the firearm is admitted as evidence. He goes to jail. The circumstances in my view are neither here nor there, it is the application of our supreme law that is at issue. One fellow's abrogation of his rights was deemed serious and the other's was considered minor. Both men are criminals either way you put it but each was treated differently. It seems 6 million dollars worth of misery is less of a crime than having a gun. While many would agree that this decision of our High Court is a,ok, I would and will argue that any infringement of an individuals rights is serious and always brings the administration of Justice into disrepute.

We must consider the purpose of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is supposed to be a limit on the state including the police. In its capacity as the supreme law of the land it is supposed to level the playing field. Consider that the Crown has a very deep pockets it can hire all kinds of lawyers to prosecute, it can hire and use experts in given fields to testify on their behalf. They have the ability to take your freedom away.

What does an ordinary person have? for the most part only what he has in his bank account, for many of us that is a bleak prospect. So our Charter puts limits and rules on the state as to how they may conduct themselves. Evidence obtained through breaking the Supreme Law of the Land is still breaking the law, the police are supposed to be the good guys and always obey the law. In breaking the law by illegally detaining a person can only ever bring the course of justice into disrepute.

The United States has some very sticky laws concerning this, with sanctions against those who violate a persons civil rights. Evidence obtained by breaking the law is forbidden yet they manage to put bad guys away. The Police there have found how to work within the law. Why do our Police require such remedial measures?

Of course when considering this one is tempted to look at worse case scenario. The "What if" scenario. What if there was a body in the trunk of a car? Unfortunately that is the one downside of the rules. The question then arises what if you have a bunch of kinky sex toys in your trunk? Would you want a cop discovering them? Is your personal dignity not worth something to you? The concept is Innocence, we are all innocent until proven otherwise. Whether we are walking down the street or driving cross country in a rented car we are not to be impeded by anyone working for the state. If you think this was an isolated incident Police detained a letter carrier who was filling in for the regular postman on a route, they didn't take him at his word either, turned out he was just what he said he was. Oh did I mention he was black as well. Just because the police are of the opinion that your behaviour is suspicious is not probable cause to stop someone..If you are of the opinion the police were just doing their jobs and you would rather they do that for your sense of security then you deserve neither security or freedom and you will loose both.

I was listening to a radio show in the car while driving, the topic was "Helmut Laws" and the nanny state. Have we become sooooo silly to think that the government has to pass laws to make sure we stay safe? It is cited that the cost of health care dictates that this is necessary. One caller even went so far as to say that if you injure yourself while riding your bike without a helmet OHIP should not pay for it. His reasoning is that why should he have to foot the bill for someone's stupidity. When it was suggested that maybe fat people should suffer the same fate when they have a heart attack his opinion was different all of a sudden rights came into play. Hmmm maybe he is a little chubby or likes his RonnieMacks to much?..

The point is we all pay into the health care system. it is there when we need it, or at least we hope so, We do not need laws to dictate individual behaviour we cannot allow the government to micro manage our lives for us. We have to accept the risks we take and the risks others take. To ensure our freedom is the widest it can be. I cannot believe how quickly some people are willing to give up their freedoms and the freedoms of others in the name of the "Greater Good" The old Soviet Union was a state that was based on that principle where is it today? Freedom prevailed, though it is having its troubles today.