Judge Makes Mockery of Justice System – Crown to Appeal ?

WPS Forensics Officer Working Crime Scene (Photo JGJ)

In one of the most anticlimactic endings to a sentencing hearing I’ve recently seen, Judge Mary Kate Harvie took Manitoba justice to a new all-time low.

In mid-December, I wrote a story called “The Law Is an Ass – Manitoba Judge Clueless.”

The story was inspired by Judge Harvie’s decision to allow a convicted serial B&E offender the “right” to argue for “enhanced credit” for a portion of the eighteen (18) months he’d spent in pre-trial custody.  Her ruling undermined Federal Legislation that removed that option for offenders who were denied bail because of factors related to their criminal record.

The new legislation also dictates offenders are only to receive 1-1 credit for pretrial custody unless “circumstances justify” the award of enhanced credit.

In her ruling, Harvie suggested the new Federal Law was an affront to convicted offenders, “Fundamental right to life, liberty, and security of the person.”  

The case involved habitual serial property offender Gordon Kovich (23) who plead guilty to fifteen (15) break & enter offences where property in the neighborhood of $100,000 was stolen.  Kovich is no stranger to Law Enforcement and has a long, continuous and unenviable record.  He’s one of the elite, committed criminals who occupy a place in the top 5% of offenders who perpetrate the majority of crime in the City of Winnipeg.

The Crown, aware of these factors, sought a sentence of seven (7) years incarceration.  

The Defense, of course, sought a grossly disproportionate sentence of four (4) years with a further reduction of twenty-six (26) months for time served and enhanced credit.

Now I admit I’m not a member of Parliament, nor was I included in the process of drafting the legislation, but I’m pretty sure that trivial pursuits such as prison employment and bible study were never intended to meet the criteria to justify giving enhanced credit.”

The decision was nothing less than outrageous!

Kovich caught a paltry twenty-four (24) month sentence after receiving dead time credit of nineteen (19) months and “enhanced credit” of five (5) additional months.  That works out to a ratio of roughly 1.25 days – 1 of enhanced credit.  Pursuant to section 719 (3.2) of the criminal code, the court is required to give reasons for any enhanced credit granted and state those reasons on the record.

So exactly what “circumstances justified” the award of enhanced credit in Judge Harvie’s mind.

According to a Winnipeg Free Press article penned by crime reporter James Turner, Harvie indicated she awarded the enhanced credit because Kovich, Had been employed in jail and had taken Bible study and other programs.”  (Harvie also gave Kovich unspecified consideration for delays in concluding the case.)

Now I admit I’m not a member of Parliament, nor was I included in the process of drafting the legislation, but I’m pretty sure that trivial pursuits such as prison employment and bible study were never intended to meet the criteria to justify giving enhanced credit.

In review;

  • Crown position – Seven (7)  years – minus 1-1 credit for dead time of nineteen (19) months
  • Defense position – One (1) year 10 months – includes credit for twenty-six (26) months dead time
  • Judge’s decision – Two (2) years – includes credit for two (2) years dead time

Now ask yourself, what’s wrong with this picture?

The extraordinarily soft sentence Gordon Kovich is set to enjoy will undoubtedly translate to tens of thousands of dollars in stolen property and thousands of dollars in costs related to police investigations, arrest, and court proceedings.  The pain from those costs will be felt by members of our business community, insurance companies, and the taxpaying public.

Would Judges make these kinds of decisions if they were accountable to victims of crime or if they were subject to some form of civilian oversight empowered with the ability to sanction decisions that bring the administration of justice into disrepute?

Harvie’s decision does exactly that, it brings the entire administration of justice into disrepute.

I can assure you judgements like these frustrate, alienate and destroy police officer’s respect for the judiciary and the administration of justice.  After all, it’s Law Enforcement who has to pick up the pieces when the Gordon Kovich’s of the world go on their drug-fuelled crime sprees.

You can mark my words….

In the case of Gordon Kovich, it’s not a question of if he re-offends, it’s a question of when.

Kovich will be eligible for parole after he serves 2/3’s or sixteen (16) months of his sentence.

The Crown is expected to appeal.

WPS PIO Constable Jay Murray (WPS)

Friday, May 24, 2019

Winnipeg Police arrest Kovich for another major crime spree that featured twenty-three (23) criminal charges that ranged from BE&T, Arson, Uttering Threats, Dangerous Operation, Theft, Possession of Stolen Goods and, you guessed it, a total of eleven (11) charges related to failing to comply with various forms of court orders.

It seems Mr. Kovich has little respect for these orders.

Those bible study classes apparently didn’t do much to alter his behaviour.

Let’s hope he comes before a Judge with a little more concern for police officer and public safety when he gets sentenced on these charges.

That is, if he’s convicted, after all, he is innocent until he’s proven guilty.

WPS Media Release – Gordon Kovich


Winnipeg Free Press – James Turner “Extra Credit Granted to Serial Robber”

The Police Insider – “The Law Is an Ass – Manitoba Judge Clueless.”

The Police Insider – “Manitoba Judges Talk the Talk – Seldom Walk the Walk”


  1. It boggles the mind, not unlike a fox in the hen house.
    Yes, Anonymous, I witnessed G20 Toronto, personally. Obviously a very organized group intent on disruption.First day they mocked our Officers for inaction while those in black smashed windows and set Police vehicles on fire.Following day,they were accused of “violence”.

  2. James G Jewell

    And that is how some people see the world!

    Thanks for reading.

  3. Tax money is wasted when police do a good job, but how much is wasted when they do a bad job? Illegal search and seizures, targeted stop and frisks, handing out illegitamate traffick tickets, trying to meet quotas by manufacturing crimes. If there is only 5% of people committing most of the crimes, then why do we keep increasing police size and funding? It is because we are all criminals in the end. Coloured constituents are first in line to be captured or put to death, once they are gone, it will be poor and middle class whites. Only then will comotion be present, but by then it will be too late (look at g20 2010 toronto, canada)

  4. James G Jewell

    So true….thank you for commenting!

  5. Obviously the Judge’s decision makes the victims of Kovich’s crime continue to be victims, this sentence makes a mockery of the justice system, no justice in this sentence!!!

Share your thoughts - we value your opinion!