I’ve enjoyed some of the media vitriol directed at newly appointed Court of Queens Bench Judge Vic Toews.
The latest attack came in the way of an article published in the Winnipeg Free Press called, “A closed mind on the bench?”
The story was written by Mary Agnew Welch and highlights eleven (11) cases where Federal Court Judges accused Toews of, “sidestepping evidence, failing to offer detailed decisions and displaying close-minded intransigence,” when dealing with the Charter rights of Canadian citizens incarcerated abroad.
These were no ordinary Canadians citizens by the way.
These were high level drug dealers doing time in foreign prisons who were looking to exercise their, “Charter right,” to serve part of their sentence in Canada. As the report indicates, the cases typically involved major drug traffickers like Yves LeBon, a Montreal resident convicted in 2008 after Police in Illinois seized one-hundred-nineteen (119) kilos of cocaine in his vehicle.
Welch reports that in many of the cases at issue, “Toews relied on suspicion, often contradicted by evidence, the offender was linked to organized crime as a reason to deny the right of return.”
Not long after he was convicted, LeBon applied to serve the balance of his ten (10) year sentence in a Canadian prison.
Toews rejected the request much to the ire of the Federal Court who ordered him to reconsider. Toews stood fast and rejected the request once more citing concerns LeBon was likely to commit an organized crime offence if he returned to Canada.
The Federal Court ruled in LeBon’s favour after yet another appeal and sharply criticized Toews for, “Only paying lip service,” to the Courts previous findings.
Other cases Toews rejected involved;
- A Canadian student who was convicted of importing four (4) kilograms of methamphetamine into the United States
- A Canadian citizen who was convicted of importing over 100,000 ecstasy pills into the United States.
So was Vic Toews out in right field when he rejected these offenders applications based on an unsubstantiated belief they were linked to Organized Crime?
Was he incorrect in his belief these offenders were likely to commit an Organized Crime offence if they were returned to Canada?
To be sure, the offenders under review were not ordinary run of the mill drug traffickers. These were high level drug traffickers dealing in major quantities of illicit narcotics.
- The street value of 119 kilos of cocaine could be estimated at over 2 million dollars. (@ $20,000 per kilo)
- The street value of four (4) kilos of methamphetamine could be upwards of $200,000. (@ $50,000 per kilo)
- The street value of 100,000 ecstasy pills could be over 1 million dollars. (@ $10 per pill)
Any credible drug expert will tell you that anyone involved in drug trafficking of this size and scale has to have connections to people involved in Organized Crime.
Any credible drug expert will tell you that drug trafficking, drug abuse and addiction fuel almost every facet of crime that plagues our society. Crimes like;
- Organized Crime – drug trafficking, money laundering, prostitution
- Street Gangs – drug trafficking, murder, kidnapping, firearms offences
- Robbery – commercial, strong-arm
- Property offences – B&E, Fraud, Commercial Theft, Theft
While I’m no champion for Vic Toews, I hesitate to criticize the man for trying to protect the Canadian public from high level drug traffickers who deal death and despair on the streets of every urban center in our Country.
After all, wasn’t that his sworn duty as Canadian Public Safety Minister?
Whatever happened to common sense in this Country?
Whatever happened to the idea that you must respect the law when you enter a foreign Country or suffer the consequences?
Whatever happened to the concept of crime and punishment?
I have absolutely no sympathy for anyone who tries to make a profit by participating in a criminal enterprise that destroys lives and contributes to the victimization of so many people in our society.
It’s to bad the Federal Court doesn’t see it that way.
I’m sorry, do the crime, do the time, and serve it wherever you get caught.
It’s not like these offenders didn’t know the risk.
I find it funny that so many sit in judgement of Vic Toews when he has yet to make one decision in his role as Court of Queen’s Bench Judge. Yet they somehow feel justified to put him in a box and suggest it is he who has a, “closed mind.” Seems like a contradiction of sorts.
I truly have no idea what kind of Judge Vic Toews will make. I hope he’ll approach every case with an open mind and presume the innocence of every offender until such time as they’re proven guilty.
Once convicted, that’s a different story.
It’s my hope Toews will depart from the soft justice approach that’s become so prevalent on the bench and flip the scales so that victim’s rights are put on the forefront once again.
Let’s try to keep an open mind.