When The Justice System Is No Longer Blind

In my opinion a justice system must follow the laws of the land it serves. In Canada an accused is supposed to be considered innocent until proved guilty in a court of law. There is no exception to that rule for sexual assault cases, as far as I know.

That men are being fired from their jobs, publicly vilified and tried in the press, for sexual assault, based solely on the unproven allegations of women, proves to me that private citizens are forcing their own justice, on men accused of sexually assaulting a women.

I believe that justice has to be blind to things like:

  • race, culture, religion;
  • personal history of victim, or accused;
  • gender;
  • public opinion;
  • political gain, or loss;
  • media attention;
  • sending messages to those thinking about committing a crime, or those thinking of reporting one.

It is my opinion that the judge in the Jian Ghomeshi  trial did exactly what he was supposed to do, and kept to the letter of the law as much as humanly possible.

I believe that in order to achieve equality for all citizens, the justice system must not only remain blind to all of the afore-mentioned, but must also take into account the credibility of  all evidence put before it, by both defendant and accuser. In my opinion, this becomes an impossible task in sexual assault cases, if activists for the rights of victims of sexual assault get their way, and it is deemed inappropriate, or too painful to have alleged victims’ testimony tested through vigorous cross-examination, by defense counsel.

It seems to me that certain activist groups believe that in a sexual assault case, where the woman is the victim, that only evidence brought forward against the man should be heard, because the woman is not on trial. I disagree. I believe that since a person is considered not guilty until being proven so, then accuser and defendant are both on trial, with the evidence put forth being the deciding factor of guilt, or innocence.

If I am correct, then  the activists outside of the courthouse for the Jian Ghomeshi trial were not  there seeking justice, but rather seemed to be using this trial as an opportunity to espouse their belief, that a women should be permitted under the law, to accuse a man of sexual assault, and obtain a conviction, based solely on her accusation. All of this, despite the fact she has:

  • lied to police in her official statement;
  • withheld crucial evidence about her relationship with the accused after the alleged assault, from the police and prosecutors;
  • aggressively sought a sexual relationship the man she is accusing of sexual assault;
  • admits to having a very faulty memory of the facts and how they unfolded.
  • has been found through reliable, credible evidence to have been part of a conspiracy to ruin Jian Ghomeshi.  The judge said,  “Ms. DeCoutere and S.D. considered themselves to be a ‘team’ and the goal was to bring down Mr. Ghomeshi.”

Women’s groups complained that the judge’s comments about inconsistencies in the three complainants’ stories during the trial were far too harsh, and highlights everything that’s wrong with a system, that is supposedly set up to find justice in such cases.

“Witnesses are held to unrealistic standards to prove their cases in the current court system”, said University of Toronto law professor Brenda Cossman. Could Brenda Cossman, a law professor, be suggesting that accusers in these types of cases do not have to:

  • be accurate when giving evidence?
  • be totally truthful when giving evidence?
  • face a rigorous cross-examination?

If  this is what Ms. Cossman is suggesting, what does this say about her beliefs in the law that states that the accused is innocent until they are proven to be guilty, by the evidence, which includes the testimony of witnesses brought forward by defence, or prosecution?

Are there now to be two different ways to deal with sexual assault within the same justice system…One for men and another for women?

I have heard it said that women who have accused men of sexual assault need to be handled carefully during the examination of the evidence they are putting forward as the truth, but none of the legal pundits ever seems to explain what that means exactly. Does it mean for example that:

  • the defense lawyer should treat the accusing woman as if she is telling the truth?
  • the trial process is a mere formality, used to get her side of the story into the official court record?
  • the trial is the last chance that the defendant will be given to admit to his crimes, for which everyone else has already tried and convicted him, at the time of being officially charged with the crime?
  • the accused in such a case is not entitled to be presumed innocent, until found guilty in a court of law?

I was not happy about what happened with the case involving the two anonymous female NDP, MPs, who accused Scott Andrews and Massimo Pacetti,  two Liberal male MPs of sexual harassment and sexual assault.

Christie Blatchford wrote in the National Post, on March 23, 2015: Two men who had been accused publicly, their reputations ruined, by the two NDP MPs who have been allowed by both parties and the press to remain anonymous, had been investigated privately, and now all their leaders could say was that there was nothing to see here, move along folks, and, oh yes, hugs for the ladies.

This mess began last October when, at the funeral for slain soldier Cpl. Nathan Cirillo (golly, there’s nothing like a funeral to bring out the best in us all), one of the NDP MPs approached Mr. Trudeau and accused the two MPs of sexual harassment.

She said Mr. Pacetti had sex with her without her “explicit consent” (he may have been confused by the fact she also never said no, never tried to leave his hotel room and provided a condom) and said another NDP MP had been sexually harassed by Mr. Andrews.

Neither woman made a formal complaint, nor went to police. The first one later gave a series of press interviews, where her name was duly kept out of it, explaining in one that she wanted to remain anonymous to protect her life and her family’s — a bit rich that, given the carelessness with which the privacy of the two men were treated.

I thought it started the justice system down a slippery slope, of being willing to believe that all sexual assault charges brought against men should be:

  • always treated as if a woman would never intentionally lie about such things for any reason;
  • the man should be punished immediately, without benefit of due process;
  • that a woman should be cloaked with autonomy, while the man is be exposed, humiliated and ruined;
  • that whenever possible these types of cases should be handled behind closed doors.

I would agree that the law is flawed, but not in the way that women activists do. I think that:

  • the law allowing the defendant not to testify, is a bad one, because it does not provide the presiding judge, or jury the opportunity to evaluate and scrutinize the defendant in the same manner, and under the same microscope, as it can the alleged victim. To me this is an unfair advantage for the defense.

Do you think that:

  • if a man claimed that his female boss at the CBC  sexually assaulted him and forced him to have rough sex, they would have fired her, or taken him seriously;
  • if two male MPs would have accused two female MPs of sexual harassment and sexual assault, the two males would have received the same right to remain anonymous;
  • if two male MPs would have accused two female MPs of sexual harassment and sexual assault, there would have been the same rush to suspend them from caucus?

If not, then this represents a double standard within the law, that I believe cannot be tolerated. Canadians need to be able to count on their rights to a fair trials, in a justice system that is blind to their ethnicity, religion, culture, gender, or sexual preference.

About archemdis

I try to say what is on my mind and not hurt others, but some things need to be said whether they hurt or not and I do just that. I try to listen as well as talk, but my opinion is just that mine. You need not take it as your own, just respect the fact that I am entitled to it, as you are yours. I do read all comments, but will only answer, or allow to be displayed those which adress me by name, refer to the post by name in the comment, or that have been sent through the proper channels. In this manner I can tell whether the comment was meant for me and that it is not just spam.
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