This post has taken me a while longer to conjure up than it would have normally in similar situations, but the lack of sleep has taken its toll on me and whenever I get the chance, I dive into bed for some high impact snoozing. So hang in there with me as I try and sort out my thoughts on this one.
The news has attracted me to two outstanding court cases that took place this week. First, the sentencing of Col. Russell Williams, for what could be said as Canada’s most horrific criminal case in modern memory as he Pleaded guilty to a total of 86 counts, two of which were first degree murder of women that he sexually assaulted and tortured to death. Secondly was the case of B.C., Rail, or the Basi-Virk trial, where corruption charges were laid and the two men pleaded guilty in Vancouver on Monday.
What is fascinating for me, as a Criminologist, is that one case was almost given total and exclusive media coverage, with the blessing of the court, mainly the Crown, while the other was done so discreetly, that no one will ever know just how far the corruption went. In comparing these two trials, I was left with an ago old question that is given to most people who study criminal law, which is, why do we treat these crime do differently? Obliviously, the punishment should fit the crime, and I think many would agree that this as being commonsense, but what if both categories of crimes are so outrageous that they should deserve the same level of treatment by all parties, such as the public’s right to know?
The Col. Russell Williams case we were hurled from the media the horrors that this man did to so many women, and the court felt that all Canadians should hear these accounts, no matter how graphic they are. Yes, everything that this man did were so outrageous that many probably could not watch, listen or read as each bloody graphic detail was spewed out through the media. The reasoning was, according to the Crown prosecution, was that this information needed to come out so that when, in twenty-five years Mr. Williams is eligible for parole, these accounts can be replayed and the court at that time will have full understanding just how vile his crimes were.
The Basi-Virk case, these two men pleaded guilty, but in their situation the court was closed in the sense that what really happened was not given to the public through the media. We will never know just how much wrong doing took place at the government level. For the government of today, they would like this to be quickly forgotten, especially with all the negative publicity so far this year. I agree with most who argue that of all the cases before the courts, this one should have had the public in mind. Sure, we could have a public enquiry, but I doubt that this will happen.
Remember that in both of these cases, millions of tax payer dollars was spent, and both cases, guilty please were given. One was semitransparent, while the other was almost blanked out.
I wish I had more time write about this.