Federal Prisons in Canada
of Toronto was convicted in 1992 for killing his girlfriend, Elizabeth Bain, even though her body was never found.In September 2004, the Ontario Court of appeals grants a new trial stating that the trial judge did not give the jury the proper directives at the first trial. The testimony of two important crown witnesses were obtained by hypnosis.Robert Baltovich's defence lawyers stated that Paul Bernardo, the serial killer, was a better murder suspect. Bernardo, unknown rapist at the time, was seen in the Scarborough area at the time of Elizabeth Bain's disappearance.In 2008 Robert Baltovich is freed by a jury after 18 minutes of deliberation.He spent 8 years in prison.“It's too bad we're not in 1992.” said Robert BaltovichIn April 2010 Robert Baltovich sues the Attorney General and two Toronto policemen for 13 million dollars.
of Toronto pleaded guilty to sexual assault, with a knife, on a 15 year old adolescent girl. He was sentenced to prison for two year minus a day.In 2006, during an interview, Paul Bernardo the famous rapist and serial killer admitted to being the real author of the crime.Anthony Hanemaayer had seen himself obliged to lie in court and plead guilty to a crime he had never committed in order to avoid the misfortune of receiving a longer sentence of 8 to 10 years in prison.He was exonerated in 2008. Anthony Hanemaayer spent 2 years in prison.In July 2010 Anthony Hanemaayer sues the Ontario attorney general, the police, and his ex-lawyer for 1.1 million dollars.
These miscarriages of justice all have the same elements: shocking events engulfed in a media feeding frenzy and an outraged public crying out for a conviction. They all have the same symptoms: being too zealous, dubious methods, and tunnel vision.
This gives the impression of a non functional judicial system. This is false. There are many safeguards notably the presumption of innocence and that an accused must be found quilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The latter renders it infallible.
Reasonable doubt was everywhere and could have avoided destroying the lives of these victims of crimes committed by the state and those of their families and friends. It would have also saved the reputation of the system.
Why the presumption of innocence and reasonable doubt were not respected remains speculative: heavy case loads, indifference, malice, wanting to make a name for oneself, prejudice, incompetence, the god complex, too many episodes of Criminal Minds, Law & Order et cetera. These TV series are scripted to always “get the right man” so the end justifies the means.
Human error? Of course, but too many human errors corresponds to incompetence.