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  • DON II
    January 25, 2014 - 09:56

    Advocating for the rights of criminals is not popular with the public or the Harper regime but here goes. The imposition of higher fines and surcharges which most criminals already cannot afford to pay is more evidence that the criminal justice system in Canada has begun to turn away from the rehabilitation model to a purely punitive model. It appears that the police in Newfoundland and Labrador continue with the questionable practice of charge stacking. In charge stacking, the accused is charged with numerous criminal charges varying in levels of seriousness but all the charges stem from the original occurrence. The charge stacking practice had been discouraged or discontinued in most jurisdictions in the United States since 1961 when then Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy questioned the legitimacy of the practice. Apparently in Canada, especially in Newfoundland and Labrador charge stacking is used to impose longer sentences of incarceration and higher fines on conviction and can be used as leverage by the Crown to promote pleas bargains with accused persons as it allows the Crown to withdraw some of the many charges until the accused consents to plead guilty on the remaining or lesser charges. Considering the fact that the early Governments of Newfoundland condoned the use of the lash and the whip as punishment for non payment of debts, the continued abuse of the rights of accused and convicted persons in the criminal justice system is no surprise but should not be condoned. Victims of crime have rights but so do those people who commit crimes. It appears that the Harper regime is not interested in hearing about the causes and reasons for the commission of crime they just want the Courts to convict the criminals, throw the book at them and send them to prison where the system will lock the doors and throw away the key. What the Government conveniently forgets is that convicted criminals will eventually serve out their sentences and will be back on the street more determined than ever to have their revenge on the ignorant and judgmental society that created them and then destroyed them!