Archive for March, 2012

Raw Video: Bev Rowbotham’s sisters speak out

- March 31st, 2012

The day after Mark Stobbe was acquitted in the murder of his wife Beverley Rowbotham, Bev’s two older sisters — Barb Kilpatrick and Betty Rowbotham — spoke out about their frustrations with the justice system and the fact their sister’s killer has still not been brought to justice. Here is much of what they had to say:

 

Video and editing: Tom Brodbeck

David Asper weighs in on justice reform

- March 29th, 2012

David Asper, who teaches criminal law at the University of Manitoba, said the the Top-5 changes I proposed this week to help fix our broken criminal justice system was a good start. But he had a few suggestions of his own I think are very valid and worth putting out there for serious consideration. He offered four distinct proposed changes:

1.      Increase the maximum sentence for sexual assault from 10 to 14 years and follow on with increased maximums for sex assault w/weapon and aggravated sexual assault. This could have the effect of raising the ‘floor’ or starting point where there are no mandatory minimums;

2.      If an accused is held in custody on a sexual assault charge and has to go before a judge to get bail, Parliament could require the Crown to elect summary (less serious) or indictable (more serious) proceedings at the bail hearing. If proceeding by indictment reverse the onus against the accused such that the accused will be held in custody pending a trial or guilty plea unless he shows cause why he should be released. At the moment the burden is generally on the Crown to show cause why the accused should be detained.

3.      Further amend section 718 or the sexual assault penalty provisions of the Criminal Code to clarify the ‘totality’ principle such that sexual assault offenders who have multiple victims shall be presumptively given consecutive sentences for each victim. This is actually what I found most troubling in the James decision. He had victims who were remote from each other in time and bundling them seems to me to minimize that fact.

4.      For crimes of violence (including sexual assault), provide in the Criminal Code that when a judge imposes a prison sentence the court can also order that a minimum period be served, including the possibility of no parole, regardless of parole eligibility that would otherwise be available under various federal and provincial prison release provisions.

When I looked at C-10 in detail I was actually quite surprised at how relatively toothless it was on some of the more serious offences, especially sexual assaults.

— David Asper

Crown must appeal disgraceful sentence for James

- March 22nd, 2012

The only thing more disgraceful than the paltry two-year sentence convicted pedophile Graham James received for repeatedly sexually assaulting two boys in the 1980s and 1990s would be if the Crown decided not to appeal the case.

James’ lawyer Evan Roitenberg asked for a conditional sentence of 18-24 months for the former disgraced junior hockey coach, while the Crown asked for a six-year prison term. Provincial court Judge Catherine Carlson showed sympathy for James and gave him only two years in prison when she handed down her sentence March 20.

james

Obviously she came nowhere near what the Crown had requested which is pathetic considering the prosecution’s submission was on the low end of the sentencing range for this type of serial criminal.

An appeal is warranted in this case because Carlson failed to ensure James received a fit sentence. And it is on that basis that the Crown should appeal. This sentence should not be allowed to stand. It has brought the administration of justice into disrepute.

Where were opponents of Internet “spying” bill when Liberals tabled it?

- March 6th, 2012

What a difference six years makes when it comes to proposed Internet surveillance legislation in Canada. In 2005, then-Liberal federal public safety minister Anne McLellan introduced an Internet surveillance bill in Parliament that would allow police agencies, without a warrant, to obtain basic subscriber information from Internet service proviers during the course of a criminal investigation.

There were a few small stories about the bill at the time, including some concern about Internet privacy and “big brother” overseeing our Internet use. But that was it. There was no massive public backlash against the bill, nor was there vilification of McLellan for introducing the proposed legislation.

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Anne McLellan

 

Six years later, Conservative Public Safety Minister Vic Toews introduces a very similar  bill — in fact, it’s based on McLellan’s bill but with some changes to it — and all hell breaks loose. Suddenly, Toews and the Harper government want to read Canadians emails and track their web use. Yet, the basics of the bill are the same as the one McLellan introduced in 2005 — access to basic subscriber information and a requirement for ISPs to install new surveillance equipment to help police catch criminals online.

Here is the story Sun Media ran in 2005:

 

  Nov. 15, 2005, Ottawa — Legislation to be introduced today would ensure Canadian police and spies could easily intercept e-mail messages and listen in on phone calls.

    The Modernization of Investigative Techniques Act will propose changes law enforcement officials say they need to bolster the fight against terrorism and other crimes.

    The bill, more than three years in the making, is also likely to reignite concerns about undue state surveillance and possible fee increases to pay for the measures.

    It appears the long-anticipated bill, to be tabled by Public Safety Minister Anne McLellan, will not get very far before a general election expected within the next few months clears the legislative decks.

    The legislation would force communication service providers — including traditional telephone companies, wireless firms and Internet providers — to phase out technical barriers to police and security agencies seeking access to messages or conversations.

    Under the federal plan, service providers would be required, when upgrading their systems, to build in the capabilities needed by authorities to easily tap communications.

    The surveillance initiative represents the latest effort by security officials to prevent terrorists and other criminals from using modern communication devices to shield their dealings from law enforcement agencies.

 

Why wasn’t this bill an election issue? Following the tabling of the bill, an election was held and the Conservatives won a minority government. But where were all the opponents of this “Internet spying” bill at the time? How come McLellan wasn’t being raked over the coals? Why didn’t anybody try to dig up personal information about McLellan — like they’ve done with Toews — to protest her “invasion” of Internet privacy?

 

Here is the press release from McLellan’s office that went out in 2005 after she tabled the bill:

 

Ottawa, November 15, 2005 – Today in the House of Commons, the Honourable Anne McLellan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, introduced legislation on the lawful interception of communications.

 

The Modernization of Investigative Techniques Act (MITA) will ensure that the law enforcement community and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) maintain their ability to investigate crime and terrorism in the face of rapidly evolving communications technology.

 



”Currently, under the law, police and CSIS can only intercept communications with authorization. This Act will not change that,” said the Deputy Prime Minister. “However, that authorization may be of no effect if companies do not have the technical ability to intercept new communications technology.

 

This legislation will ensure that criminals can no longer take advantage of new technologies to hide their illegal activities from the law.

 

The proposed legislation will reduce the ability of criminals, organized crime members and child pornographers to use sophisticated technologies to carry out their activities undetected. Under MITA, telephone and Internet service providers will be required to include an interception capability in new technology. Court authorizations will continue to be obtained for interception, as they are today. This legislation will not change this requirement in any way.

MITA will also make subscriber contact information from telecommunications service providers available on request to designated law enforcement and CSIS officials.

 

Under the legislation, these officials will be able to request individuals’ basic contact information such as their name, address, telephone or cell phone number or IP address. The release of this information will be subject to rigorous privacy safeguards which will include requiring that all requests for this information are recorded for audit and review purposes.

 

 

“We consulted extensively to ensure this legislation strikes the right balance between the needs of police to maintain their investigative capabilities and the business considerations of the industry, while respecting Canadians’ privacy, rights and freedoms,” said the Deputy Prime Minister.



 

This legislation is the result of a comprehensive legal review. In 2002, the Government consulted publicly and heard from more than 300 individuals and organizations. In 2005, a second round of consultations was held with stakeholders from the telecommunications industry, police community, privacy advocates and commissioners, and civil liberty groups.

 

 

See the part in there about the subscriber information that police could get without a warrant? And the surveillance technology ISPs would have to install? It’s virtually the same bill that Toews tabled.

Interesting, isn’t it?

 

 

 

 

Sucks when your owner is a squeegee dude

- March 5th, 2012

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I’ve seen some of these squeegee guys with a dog before. I’ve even seen some of them with two dogs forced to watch their owners  harass motorists on street corners with their semi-clean squeegees in hand. But three dogs? This guy was squeegeeing at the corner of Portage Avenue and Broadway Monday as his three dogs looked on. They look awfully proud, don’t they?

I feel more sorry for the dogs than the squeegee guy. The squeegee guy can get off his rear-end and get a job if he wants to. There’s nothing stopping him from applying for a job at a service station or from seeking employment at some other entry-level  position. The dogs can’t. They’re kind of stuck with this guy. Pity.