03.10.2010 10:23 AM

Canada AM: The Jaffer Justice Joke

Here’s a link to Tim and I on Canada AM this morning. I think a lot of people are going to have a lot of explaining on this disgrace, as Tim himself appropriately pointed out:

UPDATE: The Cons are kicking Jaffer and his wife to the curb.


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    Eugene Parks says:

    Mention this at a coffee shop and people’s faces turn “sickly/angry” – rightly so. People are angry about it.

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    Don Johnson says:

    Well, I agree that this looks bad, but all we have to go on are media reports, right? (And we all know what paragons of virtue the MEDIA are, eh?)

    None of us have seen any of the actual evidence, so it is really hard to know what happened.

    Personally, I would rather have had the “deal” done in court, with full examination of all the evidence on public display, that way we could all know whether the break Jaffer got was really outrageous or not.

    As it stands, who can tell for sure?

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    Pedro says:

    I missed your segment on Canada AM this morning.
    I’m not very clear about this. Do those who disagree with the dispensation of this case claim there has been political interference with the court which dispensed with it? Which politicians interfered with which court officials?
    I haven’t seen any coverage of these questions in the reports I’ve seen or read.

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      Martin Partridge says:

      Pedro, the issue is that a narcotics charge against a former Harper MP married to a current Harper cabinet minister was dropped without explanation by a federal Crown Attorney who is retained by and paid by the Harper government.
      It’s hard to believe that no white powder was found at the time of apprehension as the charge originated with the arresting officer. Therefore, the dropping of the charge by the federal Crown Attorney had to be either based on an evidentiary problem (illegal search, problems with testing the substance, etc.) or the result of a discretionary decision.
      No information was released to the public (in fact, one report suggests that the court file was sealed, an extraordinary situation if true), so it’s hard not to conclude that there was favouritism or special treatment of some sort.
      Vic Toews and others have tried to defuse the situation by claiming falsely that it was a provincial Crown Attorney, and therefore the McGuinty government, behind the dropping of the charge; in my view the provincial Crown Attorney had no jurisdiction to drop the charge, it had to be a federal Crown Attorney behind the scenes somewhere making the call. Hence the concern.

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        Pedro says:

        Martin, I agree with the concern about political interference. And you’ve nailed the question I have yet to seriously hear from any journalist about the matter. I believe the failure of the media to ask the specific question but rather engage in the tut-tutting of the Harper conservatives as hypocrites on the tough on crime issue does the public a disservice and only serves to bolster my opinion that everyone involved in this episode, politicians, those in the legal process and the media, engage in a sort of ‘nudge-nudge, wink-wink’ behaviour that protects these persons. You are insinuating that any influence exerted in this case came from Ottawa without any knowledge whatsoever of the provincial crowns. If this were the case I would think the Ontario Attorney General would have something to say about it. Seems like more nudge-nudge, wink-wink on their part too. On the other hand, would not a young person with a promising career ahead of them, who had made a serious lapse of judgement that had not led to the death or injury of any person, be deserving of a chance to redeem themselves? Judges give persons breaks in cases all over Ontario every day. We can’t put them all in jail.

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          Martin Partridge says:

          Just to be clear, I am not insinuating that influence was exerted. In fact, as an officer of the court I assure you that I believe the opposite to be true.
          Nevertheless, justice must be seen to be done if the system is not to be held in disrepute. The secrecy and obfuscation surrounding this case trouble me, for exactly the reason that has become obvious — it causes the public to think the system stinks.

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            James Curran says:

            I beg to differ Martin.

            The Crown that made the deal was Marie Balough. She is under the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General. Her boss is none other than the bible touting preacher, Lowell Husking. Husking, the guy that likes to spout out in court about how great the Conservative governmennt’s law and order agenda is.

            My question is why the hell ISN’T the Attorney General of Ontario just a little bit outraged over the appearance of the officers of his ministry? Where is his call for an investigation into this?

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    Winnipegger says:

    The Harper Con’s hypocrisy continues. While they are screaming about how the Jaffer case is a provincial matter, it wasn’t all that long ago they were putting in much energy and resources in an effort to drag Ruby Dhalla through the mud… for a provincial matter/provincial labour laws, which had really nothing to do with her, but rather other members of her family.

    These Cons are nothing more than a gang of unsophisticated trailer park thugs, a fact that I think is starting to become more obvious to everyday Canadians.

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    Derek Lipman says:

    This is infuriating. For the layperson (myself included), the crown’s explanation that “legal reasons” dictated the decision to drop the charges is not enough. There is a double standard of justice in this country (give or take a couple of exceptions), and that should make people very disillusioned.

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    Steve T says:

    Winnipegger, I saw the article on Ruby Dhalla that you mentioned in today’s paper. The Libs better be careful on how much faux outrage they express on this issue. There are a lot of people (and not just the stereotypical knuckle-dragging Conservatives) who will be quite put off by the suggestion that 3-year immigrants should receive OAS benefits, vs the current 10-year waiting period.

    The EI issue was a winner for the Libs, because it spoke to average Canadians who have been paying into the EI system their entire working lives. The issue put forward by Ruby Dhalla is most definitely not the same. Siphoning off retirement benefits to pay people who haven’t contributed to the system is not going play well to most taxpaying Canadians. Pick your battles carefully, Liberals.

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      Winnipegger says:

      Clearly, I wasn’t referring to OAS benefits, but nice try. Rather, the hypocrisy of the Harper Cons in bringing what they dubbed as “Nanny Gate” into the federal political arena and parliament, even though it was a provincial labour matter. Then, not long thereafter, sobbing that Jaffer’s Shame isn’t worth mentioning, as it is a provincial matter.

      Not just Con MPs and staffers either, I remember that blinded Conservative fanboy, Stephen Taylor, exploiting “Nanny Gate” as much as he could. That wouldn’t happen to be you, would it?

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        Steve T says:

        No, I am not Stephen Taylor! Just coincidental initials. I live in Winnipeg, like you.

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          James Curran says:


          Ruby’s bill was a continuation of a bill introduced by former MP Colleen Beaumier that garnered bipartisan support in the House. There was certainly no outrage about that bill then. But, because it’s Ruby, A fellow Winnipegger, well, then….

          But thanks for trying to take us off the Rahim affair.

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    Disinterested Observer says:

    Teneycke has said some useful things on this incident, too. Anyone know where he ended up?

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    Ron says:

    Chris Bentley has a lot of explaining to do.

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    J Teller says:

    Sounds to me like a good reason for everyone, Liberals included, to back the Tory plan for publicly vetting judges before they’re appointed.

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    Derek Lipman says:

    -Also discouraging was Jaffer’s smug apology for his “careless driving.”

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      smelter rat says:

      No kidding. He was practically smirking.

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    Elizabeth says:

    I see how Warren has more depth of knowledge when it comes to how Parliament is structured to affect the provinces; or he’s the only one who saw fit to let us know.

    They appear to be a pair of spoiled brats with too much money; too high a lifestyle, and bad tempers. I wonder if the marriage will survive this?
    And to anyone who is saying that this is “faux” outrage – excuse me, but I had a friend in the 70s who was thrown in jail in Newfoundland for having the very end of a joint pinned to his dorm wall in a construction site. He also got a criminal record that he had to get removed later on.
    I came of age in the 60s and 70s – in Montreal, the cops were very, very tough with kids having drugs – it may have eased up here and there, but it’s always had serious consequences – definitely serious for cocaine.
    I don’t know of anyone who would get away with cocaine possession – are you kidding? And drunk driving? I don’t think so – why didn’t he get a Denver boot on his car? It certainly doesn’t fit with what I know of Canada’s views on drugs. I don’t know what the punishment is right now for MJ possession – but it seems to me that it has always been serious when it comes to cocaine.

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    Elizabeth says:

    Sometimes it’s a good idea to just shut up.

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    Nasty Bob says:

    I am not surprised the coke charge was withdrawn and predicted same 5 months ago when the story surfaced. Here’s why; the cocaine was found ” in the car”, not on his person, and the car belonged to someone else. To obtain a conviction for possession the Crown must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused had knowledge and control of the contraband.

    Unless the cocaine was in plane view in a clearly marked package labeled ” cocaine” or unless the accused confesses all one has to do is take the stand and say ” wasn’t my vehicle-had no idea of the contents”. That creates reasonable doubt wide enough to drive an 18 wheeler through.

    As far as that charge goes Jaffer didn’t ” catch a break” as no prosecutor in the land would waste a court’s time trying to prove the charge.

    He did ” catch a break” with the over.08 charge but many ordinary people catch the same break every day in court. Here’s why; a charge of over .08 is often difficult to prove due to the nature of the evidence. It is the only offense that allows the state to by-pass the basic and long standing criminal justice rule that an accused can not be forced to provide evidence against himself ( i.e. provide a breath sample). However, to by-pass that prohibition every t must be crossed and i dotted to the letter in collecting evidence ( e.g. must be reasonable/probable grounds to make the demand, charter rights must be given and understood, right to counsel must be allowed- to name a few).

    Fortunately, in most cases the police are diligent and go by the book but now and then i’s are crossed and t’s are dotted. When that happens the breathalyzer results will be inadmissible. Sounds like he Jaffer was lucky and somewhere along the line a letter was botched.

    None the less, the hypocrisy is sickening. If the coke wasn’t Jaffer’s or his wife’s there likely would have been close contact with someone who did have it. Not the sort of person” law and order” types should be giving rides to.

    Even worse is Jaffer’s contention that he did not drink. While the evidence may have been inadmissible the police maintain he blew over. Breathalyzer results may not always be 100% accurate but would not give a reading anywhere near .08 unless alcohol was consumed. Absent any other explanation ( e.g. the machine wasn’t working,/” I just took a swig of mouthwash”) in my opinion he is not to be believed.

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    Nasty Bob says:

    err- that should be PLAIN veiw

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    Martin Partridge says:

    At the risk of flogging a dead horse, I am concerned that my friend Jim Curran is confusing things further by insisting that the Ontario Crown Attorney alone was responsible for dropping the cocaine charge.
    He is correct that the Ontario Crown Attorney “made the deal” in the sense that she was the one in court explaining the deal to the judge.
    This is a common, efficient procedure. Where there are combined Federal (narcotics) and Provincial (drunk driving) charges, the Ontario Crown Attorney often speaks to both.
    But in a notorious case like this, it seems certain that the local drug prosecutor, i.e., the Federal Crown Attorney, would be consulted. In my opinion, the drug charge would not be dropped without consulting the Federal Crown Attorney.
    Put differently, if a Harper-paid Crown Attorney WANTED a drug charge to proceed, there would be hell to pay if an Ontario Crown Attorney dropped the charge against federal wishes. Thus there is a complete fallacy in the Conservatives’ line that there was no federal control over this matter.

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    James Curran says:

    Your point is taken Martin. What about the speeding and DUI provincial offences? Aren’t the enough for the ONT AG to shake his head and go “HUH”? Not to mention the mockery this makes of the OPP. Where’s Fantino on this?

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