"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Information That Might Come in Handy

A line on the twenty-four hour news channel noted a charge of intoxication against the husband of Vaughan Mayor was QUIETLY withdrawn by the Crown Attorney.

People can read into the word "quietly" whatever was intended. My own reaction was immediate. It triggered another memory.

Such a charge can only be laid by the officer present at the scene. He must describe details
and circumstances to support the charge. He may consult with the duty sergeant but only he/she can lay the charge.

He does not prosecute. That's the job of the Crown Attorney. The police officer is a witness in court proceedings.

Theoretically, the crown attorney must examine the charge and determine if the evidence is sufficient to support it before the case proceeds to trial.

The lawyer for the defence has a right to examine the charge and supporting evidence .
Since the charge was withdrawn against the husband of Vaughan Mayor one might reasonably assume the defence counsel successfully argued the evidence was insufficient to support the specific charge.

Withdrawing the charge might just have been the wisest course of action.

I had the opportunity once to ask a lawyer the question:

At what point does the Crown Attorney examine the charge and decide if the evidence supports it?

He swung his chair around to gaze at the impressive law books on the shelves behind him and thoughtfully responded:

"That's a very good question,Evelyn."

It was a parrying response which became familiar over the years.

I am reminded of it every time I read of clogged courts , overcrowded jails and people released because "justice delayed is justice denied"

When I read of the need for more judges, more courts, more crown attorneys and ever more servants on the public payroll I am reminded of my experience.

On the occasion ,I spent memorable hours going from lawyers' offices, a police station , crown attorney's office, the library on the top floor of the new court house. Three appearances in court; the last acting as defence mother.

A thousand dollars expended would have been more than fifteen had I gone with the first lawyer, a Queen's Counsel. Four hundred and fifty for the second and a day in court when nothing at all happened .

All to argue against a charge which never at any time had a scintilla of evidence to support it.


Anonymous said...

things that make you go hmmmmmm

Anonymous said...

What happened at last night's meeting.
You said you'd keep us informed so I was surprised to find no entry today.
Is everything okay?

Anonymous said...

Evelyn, I've just read the letter the mayor posted on the Town of Aurora website regarding unproven allegations against yourself.


The mayor and her cronies have absolutely NO right to do that. We elected you to represent us and that's the way it is whether they like it on not.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anonymous above. SUE THEM.

I heard there will be a fundraiser in your honor to help with your own legal costs. It's big of you NOT to have the town pay for this, and it's important to me that you come out on top. Please provide the details about the fundraising. I don't have a lot of extra money but I'm happy to help organize, inform, etc.

Grace Marsh said...

Dear Evelyn:

Count me in for assistance as well, in whatever way I can. Money, time or testimony.

As you know, one of the considerations that got a great deal of thought when I resigned was whether one day I would be faced with spending my own money to defend myself against the litigious bunch now on Council. Given the climate of “sue anyone who disagrees”, that has prevailed from the outset under Mayor Morris, this was a very real consideration. I’m sorry it has happened to you.