KENNETH STEWART ON LEE-PARK INQUEST: ‘Initial calls for a public inquiry, which would have had a broader mandate and powers, were dismissed by the solicitor general’

INQUEST LEAVES BAIL QUESTIONS

 

Although the recommendations from the Lee-Park inquest no doubt contain much of value, a huge gap remains in what we have learned.

The fact is that the only people who were in a position to make a difference at the time, and who remain so today, were those in the justice system responsible for the decision not to oppose bail and for having bail conditions enforced.

Given those systemic failures, no police response, however speedy, could have changed the outcome.

Peter Lee was known to be violent, had threatened his wife, tried to harm her in a contrived car accident and was due in the court for an unrelated assault charge.

Surely, it  is not just in retrospect that we can say that he should have been behind bars.

There is no suggestion those in Crown Counsel’s office are anything but good people.

But even good people need to work within systems of checks and balances that ensure accountability.

We have no more reason today to be confident that proper checks and balances are functioning in Crown Counsel’s office than we did two years ago.

The Crown’s successful attempt to portray the search for checks and balances – even to the point of denying jury access to a key document like the police report to Crown counsel – as a witch-hunt suggests a disingenuousness that is itself troubling.

Initial calls for a public inquiry, which would have had a broader mandate and powers, were dismissed by the Solicitor General of the day [Wally Oppal] on the grounds that an inquest would have all the authority that is needed.

It is difficult to believe that he did not anticipate that proceedings would unfold just as they have.

 

Kenneth Stewart

Victoria 

 

CCC BLOG reprint:

Victoria Times Colonist: timescolonist.com

Inquest leaves bail questions

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Page A13

CCC

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