Dr. Dawg

Police state follies: the G20 and judicial abuse

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Toronto 17.jpg

A shabby tale of persecution of Canadian dissidents will likely come to an end in a Toronto courtroom today—but not to a conclusion.

A year and a half after the police riot during the Toronto G20, the state’s attempt to pin the blame on activists has resulted in a plea bargain that will set 11 alleged “ringleaders” free, and jail six others, likely for short terms.

It’s been a Pyrrhic victory for both sides. Two of the defendants who are about to have charges against them dropped face legal bills of $150,000 each. Others feel they simply can’t go on after all this time.

Over the past 15 months, the co-accused have been living either in jail, under house arrest or subject to restrictive bail conditions preventing them from doing the community work they devote their lives to, [defendant Amanda Hiscocks] said.

Everyone has also been prohibited from participating in “demonstrations,” a word that has been broadly interpreted by the courts. In September 2010, Hundert was arrested for breaching this bail condition after participating in a panel discussion at Ryerson University.

“The bail conditions were absolutely ridiculous,” [defence lawyer Howard] Morton said. “I’ve had clients charged with manslaughter that had conditions that weren’t this bad.”

Many of the 17 are also buckling under the emotional and financial strain of a legal battle being waged at a snail’s pace, according to Hiscocks.

She said people have lost their jobs as a result of the ongoing case and two of the 17 who stand to have their charges dropped under the deal were ineligible for legal aid and face an overall legal cost of $150,000 each. Another co-accused, who would see his charge withdrawn as a part of the deal, said he faced deportation if convicted.

In other words, the Crown Attorney’s office, with unlimited resources at its disposal, simply wore the defendants down—at an estimated cost of 5 million tax dollars. There is no way of telling whether any of them are guilty of anything. As one tired defendant said, “The process is the punishment.” Guilty or innocent, that punishment has already been meted out.

Meanwhile, the police who violated the rights of 1,118 mostly peaceful protesters and bystanders at the G20, with false arrests, illegal forcible confinement and horrific acts of brutality, have escaped justice.

G20 police thuggery.jpg

The powers that be, from Premier Dalton McGuinty on down, have sheltered these thugs even from a public inquiry, let alone a trial. One of the chief architects of the assault on citizens, Toronto police chief Bill Blair, has more recently been advising North American police forces on how to smash the #Occupy movement. No surprises there, including the wall of silence erected by the corporate media.

The Globe and Mail carries a story this morning about the infiltration of G20 protest organizers by two police officers, at least one of whom was reported to have counselled activists to commit acts of sabotage:

That summer, protesters set up a makeshift encampment at the proposed site of the Hanlon Creek Business Park. The male officer was there, Mr. Ichim said, and pushed for radical action.

“[The officer] was saying ‘we need to take monkey wrenches and [damage construction] machinery,’” he said. “The occupation had a lot of support and he was talking about wrecking machinery, which tactically makes no sense.”

That would be this charming fellow:

undercover.jpg

It’s risky these days to criticize police officers, as activist Dan Kellar found out this past September. He was charged with the rare offence of criminal libel by the OPP for dissing the two undercover cops. (Obviously I won’t repeat his words here, but they’re easy enough to find on the Web. They are insulting, but last I heard, namecalling was not a criminal offence.) An additional charge of counselling assault was laid because Kellar had encouraged fellow activists to “spit in the footsteps” of the two officers. Bizarre. Ludicrous.

The police were aided and abetted in this travesty by their pals in the Crown Attorney’s office. The bar is set so high under the relevant provision of the Criminal Code that a conviction is highly unlikely—indeed, the Crown will have to deal with the case of R. v. Gill, for one thing, and R. v. Lucas for another. But the process, as noted, is the punishment.

Yet more flagrant abuse of the judicial system. And, true to form, the corporate media have been mostly silent about it.* The steady evolution of Canada towards a police state continues, virtually unchecked.

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* I hadn’t realized that there was ambiguity here, but given reader Lawlibrarian’s initial comment, I should note that I am referring to the Kellar matter, not to the G20. Given the sheer scale involved, the latter would have been impossible for the media to ignore.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on November 22, 2011 9:51 AM.

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