Dr. Dawg

Another whistle-stop on the Diab railroad

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As widely expected, Justice Robert Maranger committed Canadian citizen Hassan Diab for deportation to France this morning. Less expected, the clearly angry, red-faced prosecutor, Claude LeFrancois, demanded that the committal order be signed on the spot, violently objecting to the defence’s request for a one-week delay so that an application to extend bail could be drafted.

Such delays have been granted before—most notably in the case of Karlheinz Schreiber —but Maranger immediately saw things the prosecutor’s way (not for the first time), and officers moved in to apprehend Diab on the spot. Now he’ll spend a few days in jail for no earthly reason, get out again, and resume spending a few thousand dollars of his own money every month on his electronic monitoring bracelet—one of his bail conditions for more than two years.

It was a mean-minded, vicious act by a prosecutor with an obvious personal axe to grind.

It was Maranger’s judgement, however, that really takes your breath away. He conceded that the French had produced a “weak case” that would make the likelihood of a conviction “unlikely” in a fair trial. Stating that the case “turned upon” the grossly flawed handwriting evidence in the French submission, he went on to state later that the three internationally-renowned defence handwriting experts had “torched” that evidence.

He seemed blithely unaware that in France the system is heavily weighted in favour of the prosecution. The system looks unkindly on experts brought in by the defence rather than the examining magistrate, so that the “torching” of the grievously inadequate French handwriting evidence would never take place. Furthermore, under French anti-terrorism laws, unsourced, unsworn, anonymous evidence, possibly obtained under torture, may be used against a defendant.

But the inadequacy of the French judicial system, Diab’s guilt or innocence, evidentiary thresholds, the Supreme Court’s important precedent, Ferras [2006], nothing made a whit of difference to Maranger. Effectively turning back the judicial clock five years, and revoking bail after Diab had strictly adhered to his conditions for more than two years, the judge sent him off to his fate.

Kinda makes you feel proud to be a Canadian, eh?

UPDATE: (June 7, 2011)

Diab JPost.jpg

Note to the Jerusalem Post: I understand your thirst for revenge, but in Canada we have something called “the presumption of innocence.” Diab is not the “Paris synagogue bomber” but a person alleged to be, on highly dubious and selectively presented “evidence.”

Nor is he another Adolf Eichmann or Klaus Barbie, as one of your columnists suggests. His deportation, if it occurs, will not “bring closure” unless he is convicted in a fair trial, something the extradition judge has admitted is “unlikely.”

It seems obvious, at least to me, that if closure is wanted, finding the people actually responsible for the rue Copernic atrocity is a sine qua non. Obviously that matters not, however, to the Jerusalem Post, for whom, it appears, any sacrificial victim will suffice.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on June 6, 2011 3:13 PM.

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