"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

Sunday 6 October 2019


I watched a movie , The Lincoln Lawyer, on Netflicks last night. There wasn’t much depth to it.But it made me realize something. From having a great interest in the law from every angle ,I have
become cynical.I thought of the justice system as one step beyond politics...decisions made
strictly  on the weight of evidence have to be better .

I served nine years on Ontario Social Services Appeal Board   ..a quasi-judicial body where I learned about rules of evidence. Board members travelled all over Ontario , including IndianReservations. We heard arguments from local welfare officials, provincial social workers, well-to-do parents ,with lawyers,  petitioning for fees for their children to attend private boarding schools in the States . Because Ontario  provided no support for kids with learning difficulties.

Legal Aid lawyers represented clients refused permanent disability allowances. Local welfare
workers were there to support clients who had been denied long-term disability even though they’d been on welfare assistance for years. Welfare  was intended for short term financial support.

I was called for jury duty once. It doesn’t necessarily mean serving on a jury. It means being one  of a pool  lawyers choose from. After selection first thing in the morning, when I wasn’t chosen,I’d go into a court room and sit through a proceeding.

Eventually I was chosen and after the trial ,chosen again by the jury to be jury master and deliver the decision.that was in the Provincial Court House on University Avenue  in Toronto.

On one occasion, I sat in a courtroom in Newmarket for weeks, for the trial of a pathetic little guy who’d yearned to be a policeman and now found himself charged byYork Region police for making accusations against a Vaughan politician. Jellyfish Julian Fantino was a witness in the case.The defendant had been campaign manager for a council candidate who promised him a job if he got elected. Before that , in high school , the defendant had been a regular informant in the TIPS program

The candidate was elected. He didn’t keep his promise. The defendant made an accusation of wrong-

He was undersized , in a suit miles too big with sleeves that reached his finger-tips. He wore a cheap wig because he had  lost his hair. He was twenty-seven years old . With all the weight  of York Region Police on top of him, he was found guilty. Before sentence, he was diagnosed with.    AIDS.What happened to him after, I do not know.

Throughout the trial his mother and sister ,also small people, were in attendance. They did not
understand   English well and gave all the appearance of clinging to each other, scared and bewildered.

My heart went out to them and their unfortunate man-child. The odds were stacked against him. He never had a chance.

Like most of my posts ,this one took off on it’s own direction .I will get back to the one intended but
for now , this sad and catastrophic little tale ends here.

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