By releasing Tamara Rich, superior court restores faith in rule of law


Commentary

On July 26, Tamara Rich was released from prison again. Rich, who was indicted for mischief in February for her role in the Freedom Convoy that landed her on Capitol Hill, was imprisoned by a magistrate on July 8. The crime of the century. It was her second time Rich was taken into custody by a junior judicial officer, and the second time her detention was overturned upon review by a High Court judge. She spent a total of 49 days in prison on the most minor non-violent charges in the Penal Code.

Canadian courts generally allow bail for those accused of crimes of all kinds, but it was not common for Rich. With no criminal record or record of violence, some experts declared Rich to be effectively a political prisoner. Consider just a few of the steps in this story so far.

Last September, Justin Trudeau said that unvaccinated Canadians “do not believe in science. They are often misogynistic and racist. They take up space…we Will you tolerate these people?” In January, when a convoy of truckers was heading to Ottawa to protest against vaccine mandates, he called truckers “fringing” with “unacceptable opinions.” called a minority. After his two weeks of peaceful protests, his government invoked a state of emergency law, and on February 18 and his 19, baton-wielding police arrested nearly 200 of his and his truck windows. and occasionally fired pepper spray to clear the convoy.

Rich was arrested on the street and charged with mischief. In her first court appearance before Judge Julie Bourgeois of the Ontario Court of Justice, she was called a danger to the public, and two weeks later Superior Court Judge John Johnston released her for review. was imprisoned until (The Superior Court of Ontario is a first-instance court of “unique jurisdiction” located above the Ontario Court of Justice in the judicial hierarchy, but below the Ontario Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Canada. are administered by the federal government, but judges are appointed by the federal government.)

On April 9, Le Devoir published an interview with Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada Robert Wagner, in which Wagner blamed the fleet. Wagner is reported to have said the protests were “the beginning of an anarchy in which some people decided to take other citizens hostage” and should be condemned with force. May 16 In Japan, a group of lawyers filed a complaint with the Canadian Judiciary Council (CJC), citing Wagner’s criticisms as taking sides in a political dispute and legal issues related to the government’s invocation of emergency legislation and the right to protest. Legal challenges on these issues were brought before the court, the complaint notes, and the Chief Justice’s public expression of his pre-determined views reinforced the judgment of the judiciary. Confidence in fairness has been undermined.

On May 25, Superior Court Judge Kevin Phillips observed that the court was “not the Thought Police” and allowed variations on Rich’s bail conditions, allowing her to travel to Ontario to receive the George Jonas Freedom Award. On June 16, Rich attended the event and had no bail conditions, except in the presence of an attorney who was present at the dinner. Time (approximately 3 seconds, the court concluded) exchanged. A Canadian-wide warrant was issued for her arrest. She was detained by Medicine Hat Police, charged with violating the terms of her bail, and transferred to Ottawa by Ottawa Police.

On June 23, CJC Acting Executive Director Jacqueline Corrado dismissed Chief Justice Wagner’s complaint against the extrajudicial accusations of the protests. Her letter called the complaint “unsupported,” “based largely on hypothetical scenarios,” “apparently without substance,” and had no bearing on judicial action. concluded that the complaint did not merit further consideration by the Council. “Public confidence is at greater risk when publicly and arbitrarily motivated attacks on justice are launched without merit or for inappropriate purposes,” she added. Extrajudicial comments don’t undermine impartiality, but pointing them out does.

At Lich’s bail hearing on July 8 for bail violation charges, prosecutor Moiz Karimjee relied on Wagner’s comments as a basis for considering protesting a “vocation.” The Chief Justice’s extrajudicial comments, a complaint that the CJC dismissed as based on unsubstantiated hypotheses, were referred to in the proceedings as an authority to prove their contents.

Justice of the Peace Paul Harris said in his decision to return Rich to prison that, at the King’s request, Rich posed a danger to public safety and that her detention was, ironically, necessary to maintain confidence in the judicial administration. concluded that it is. She remained there until High Court Judge Andrew Goodman overturned her sentence and released her on July 26.

Tamara Rich has never proven to be a threat to anyone’s safety. The convoy was peaceful throughout its time in the capital. No weapons were found. No violence took place. Truckers shoveled the roads and fed the homeless. They played road hockey and danced in the snow. Their horns stopped in the evening and stopped completely after a superior court issued an injunction. The protests were more joyous celebrations than angry demonstrations. Not that angry demonstrations were illegal.

But Rich is an existential threat, not to Canada, but to the political ambitions of those who currently rule it. She has become the face of resistance to a political order with steadily fewer individual liberties and steadily more technocratic dictators. It was unfolding. A “free movement” was born. Protests around the world have been inspired by motorcades, especially in the Netherlands where farmers are now defying draconian and pointless rules to limit nitrogen emissions. produced.

Respect for the rule of law depends on people believing they can get a truly fair trial. The prosecutor’s main task is not to convict, but to ensure that justice is done on the merits. A judge’s first duty is to approach all cases impartially and openly. “Justice should not just be done,” Chief Justice Hewart famously remarked in his 1923 King’s Court decision.

Canadians can see how harshly Rich has been treated compared to those accused of violent crimes. You can see how hard police and prosecutors have pursued Rich compared to the relative indifference he has had. Lost.

By overturning Rich’s detention order and overruling the royal family’s zealous determination to punish her before her trial could take place, the High Court helped restore faith in the rule of law. Tamara Rich Please ask.

Views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Epoch Times.

Bruce Purdy

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