Saturday, February 24, 2007

Colour Blind Justice

I'm tending towards agreement with the Supreme Court's ruling on security certificates. It's only appropriate that there be some form of representation and advocacy on behalf of someone facing serious allegations in the justice system. The media has run away with cataclysmic 'Struck Down' headlines, but in reality, the SCC has simply invited the government to rewrite the law with the provision of some form of advocacy for the accused.

In practical terms, what this means for the men currently detained or under house arrest is simply an extension of their lengthy and very expensive fight to remain in Canada. More taxpayer dollars, paying more lawyers to write another law, that more taxpayer funded lawyers will get to challenge.... and so on. It will likely be 10, or even 15 years before these cases are resolved.

With this in mind, another case caught my eye this morning. Buried in the inside pages of the Ottawa Citizen is a story about a British man who recently pled guilty to a series of mischief charges, and who is likely to be deported very shortly. The original article is behind a subscriber wall.

Clement Jones, 39, of Wellington, Ont., will be deported March 23 after pleading guilty to three counts of mischief following a rampage last summer in which he smashed a barbecue, burned clothes and bedding, destroyed jewelry, and cut phone and electric cords in the house he shared with his wife and in-laws.

The deportation order caps a six-month ordeal that friends and supporters of Mr. Jones are calling a "travesty of justice with very serious consequences," including three weeks in jail with no access to a lawyer, since as a foreign national he was ineligible for legal aid and was unable to access his financial assets from jail.

One factor [in the deportation decision] is that Mr. Jones' visa has expired -- a fact he explains by pointing out that the police confiscated his passport during his six-month legal troubles, preventing him from renewing the visa. His passport was returned to him only this week, he said.

Both Mr. Jones and Ms. Boulay acknowledge their marriage was struggling in the months leading up to the altercation. The trigger point, Mr. Jones said, came last August, when his mother-in-law told him that Ms. Boulay had had an affair with an 18-year-old seven months earlier, while Mr. Jones was in England for his father's funeral.

So Mr. Jones is to be deported a little over six months after the original incident, having been imprisoned without access to a lawyer and denied the opportunity to apply for a visa renewal or extension. His crime is real, although finding out that your wife had been busy with an eighteen year old might anger even the most mild-mannered of us. Let's note he hurt no-one and simply destroyed marital property. On the other hand, Harkat and the others will get endless taxpayer dollars to fight to remain in Canada, for 10... 15... 20 ... who knows how many years. And they stand accused of something a little more serious than planning to destroy a barbeque.

Amnesty International and the Barbara Jackmans of the world aren't about to be there for Mr. Jones. Is this because he's truly less worthy to remain in Canada than Mohammed Harkat? Sadly no. The liberal elites can weave and twist and preach tolerance and equality, but they know and we know that Mr. Jones will be quietly and efficiently deported because he's not a refugee claimaint, he's middle-class and he's white.