As a lawyer, I try to keep my blog as free from my personal opinions as possible. But, in today’s Globe and Mail, I read a story that outraged my sense of Justice:
Mayor Rob Ford, who recently benefited by the impartiality of Canada’s justice system, had the audacity to criticize the defense of an accused in a murder trial. According to the article, he is quoted as saying “One of our finest got killed. Left behind a wife and a little son. And we’re trying to find an excuse why this guy stole a…snow plow and killed a police officer…You can’t defend that…we’re trying to justify this?”
For those who have not been following the trial of Mr. Richard Kachkar, he is accused of stealing a snow plow and driving it into a police cruiser, where Police Sergeant Ryan Russell was killed. The Defence has asked the jury to find Mr. Kachkar Not Criminally Responsible by reason of a Mental Disorder.
Without a shadow of a doubt, the death of a police officer, is a tragedy. I even concede that seeking a verdict of Not Criminally Responsible by reason of a Mental Disorder, is highly controversial. But, the tragedy of an officer’s death does not negate what the law has found to be a valid defence. The beauty and the beast of the law is that it is unemotional and impartial – it does not give greater weight to one side over the other, nor should it be swayed by the randomness of emotion. Whatever our personal proclivities may be, an impartial trier of fact is called to the much higher purpose of deciding cases based on evidence, not emotion.
It would seem, however, that this higher purpose is completely lost upon Mayor Ford. While Canada’s judiciary suffered Mayor Ford’s high praises when he was on trial, that same judiciary is now the target of this former-accused’s criticisms. Apparently, it is ever so easy for Mayor Ford to quickly forget that he was the beneficiary of an impartial judiciary, and even easier for him to play on the emotional content of this trial.
I cannot and will not comment on the murder trial itself – I am not a member of that jury nor was I privy to the facts or evidence of that case. My outrage is directed solely at, what I view, to be the hypocrisy of a man who should consider the weight of his words: Mayor Rob Ford.