Ontario court judge David Brown now knows why police in Sarnia didn’t bother following his court order to clear a CN Rail line, they were too busy drumming. Brown, a judge with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, issued an order for a blockade in Sarnia to be removed on December 21, 2012 but police did not act on the order until January 2, 2013 after another order was issued by another judge.
Thanks to viewers who sent this in, we now know why the order was not enforced – the cops were too busy joining the drum circle.
Now for those that cannot see the insignia or doubt that it is real, the Sarnia police force confirmed that it is indeed one of their own in the video, Staff Sgt. Jeff Hodgson. From The Sarnia Observer:
“It was done to foster goodwill,” said Const. Heather Emmons, media relations officer for the Sarnia Police Service, noting that Hodgson had stopped by the blockade while on duty last week.
“And to build trust, rapport and friendship – with an understanding of their protest.
“This has been a peaceful protest; we’ve had no issues or problems.”
Ummm, yeah, no issues or problems except your failure to enforce a court order.
In another ruling issued yesterday, Justice Brown lamented the previous inaction by police agencies in resolving blockades and asked why the same property owner was forced to go to the courts once again.
“The repeated applications by a major railway owner to this Court in the past few weeks to secure injunctions to remove blockades of their operating lines prompt the larger question of why, in these sorts of circumstances, a property owner has to resort to the courts for a remedy.”
The simple answer, which Justice Brown had given in a December 27th ruling, explained it all. On the 27th, Justice Brown was forced to remind Sarnia Police of their duty to enforce his December 21st court order.
With all due respect to the Sarnia Police, local police agencies cannot ignore judicial orders under the guise of contemplating how best to use their tactical discretion. Such an approach would have the practical effect of neutering court orders. It is not the purpose of a court order simply to initiate talks or consultations between the police and those whom the court has found to have breached the law. A court order is not one amongst several chips to be played in an on-going contest between the police and transgressors of legal rights. On the contrary, a court order is intended to initiate the process of bringing unlawful conduct to an end in a short period of time so that the harm which the court has found to be irreparable is brought to an end.
The question has obviously arisen, are police facing political pressure not to enforce court orders? Given that the latest cases involve the Ontario Provincial Police someone had the bright idea to ask Premier Dalton McGuinty.
McGuinty says he isn’t telling police how to conduct their business.
“In our democracy we do not direct the police,” McGuinty said Tuesday in Ottawa. “That would be inappropriate.”
I’ll bet Gwen Boniface and Julian Fantino, the two OPP chiefs most responsible for the mess at Caledonia, would beg to differ. McGuinty has been directing a two-tier policing system in the Caledonia area since the protest began in 2006.
They say that Lady Justice is blind but we know that isn’t the case in Canada. Not when it comes to the laws, the police or the courts. Justice Brown may be trying to do the right thing here but he has an entire system stacked against him.
The idea that we are all equal before and under the law in Canada is a quaint idea from another era when people actually spoke of equality and not of identity.