Musings —05.11.2016 07:23 AM—
Sounds like an indie band, eh? But, after this morning, I suspect many will be wondering if there was a better option in the R. v. Ghomeshi cases.
The first trial, as we all know, was a collision between (a) highly compromised complainants (b) a highly ineffective Crown and (c) a highly effective defence lawyer. The second trial, resolved today, won’t even go to trial.
Is there an alternative to this kind of a process? Everyone, I think, is unhappy about what happened in the Ghomeshi mess.
Here’s a summary of criminal ADR (alternative dispute resolution) approaches found around the globe (with edits made to the language used therein).
1. Victim-Offender Mediation Programs (VOM). Also referred to as victim-offender reconciliation programs (VORP) or victim reparation programs. In most cases, its purpose is to promote direct communication between victim and offender. Victims who participate are provided with an opportunity to ask questions, address the emotional trauma caused by the crime and its aftermath, and seek reparations.
2. Community Dispute Resolution Programmes (CDRP). CDRP seeks to dispose of relatively minor conflicts before trial.
3. Victim-offender Panels (VOP). VOP developed as a result of the rise of the victims’ rights movement, and particularly in relation to the various campaigns against drunk driving. They are used to provide the offender with an opportunity to appreciate human cost of their actions on victims and survivors. It also is aimed at decreasing the likelihood of repeat offenses.
4. Victim Assistance Programs. VOCA established the Crime Victim’s Fund, which is funded by fines that are collected from persons who have been convicted of offences in the United States (except for fines that are collected through certain environmental statues and other fines).
5. Community Crime Prevention Programs. The community crime prevention has included a plethora of activities, including media anti-drug campaigns, silent observer programs, and neighborhood dispute resolution programs.
6. Private Complaint Mediation Service (PCMS). This process provides for mediation as an alternative to the formal judicial process of handling summary-type offences.
Apart from these, there are also sentencing circles, ex-offender assistance, community service, school programs, and specialist courts. These programmes point towards a gradual shift from deterrence to reparation; they show the application of restorative justice.
What do you think, folks?