Sunday, August 08, 2004

You can stop crying now, Svend

Babble on.

I know that any legal system, no matter how well-written its laws or how erudite its legal professionals, will not serve justice every single time. But it would be nice to see the Canadian system serve justice a little more often.

Of course, I don't know what I was expecting in Svend Robinson's case. Maybe that a guilty plea would result in a criminal conviction. But hard-hearted bastard that I am, I didn't realize he'd already suffered enough.

"This is a gut-wrenching tale of a man who has achieved much, more than most, and who has taken a fall, probably more than most. All for a bauble, a trinket, a ring," said Judge Ronald Fratkin..."On the balance, I'm satisfied that the credits outweigh the debits for Mr. Robinson. I'm satisfied that what he has gone through, the public would say is enough...The end result is that Mr. Robinson needs help. He's fallen a long way. He has embarrassed himself. Further, he is always going to be remembered for this. This is not going to go away. As I say, the public, at least in Canada, I think, has always lived by the guiding principle: You don't kick somebody when they're down. Mr. Robinson is down."

Really? I didn't think collecting an $86,663 per year pension and jet-setting to Scotland on the public purse was "down." Maybe by "down" the good judge means Svend's new job arbitrating BC union disputes. Either way, because Robinson was an MP, his embarrassment is enough punishment. In contrast, if I were to steal - not 'pocket', STEAL - a $64,000 ring, my public embarrassment would count for nothing. I would get a criminal conviction.

Today's lesson, boys and girls: the most important thing to do before committing a crime is practice crying at a press conference. Oh, and agitate for twenty-five years in parliament to create the most liberal judicial system possible. It worked for Svend.

Babble off.

Update: The Globe and Mail's take on Robinson's sentence. To which I say "Hunh?" I thought an editorial was supposed to take a position.


At 3:20 p.m., Blogger Greg said...

The system worked pretty well for Gerald (I like to kiss teenage babysitters) Regan and Mike (Who will rid me of this meddlesome indian) Harris too. The lesson is, sadly, that the well connected are never truly held to account for their actions.

At 3:38 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...


The new defence, right up there with "I was too drunk to know it was wrong to rape the bitch" is "severe' emotional stress" from "loss of sleep" and "that horrible accident I had five years ago".

Let's call it the "sob-sister defence". And what's the evidence? "Honest injun, your honour", says the perp.

Soft (in the head) Judge Fratkin gulped it hook, line and sinker.


At 9:14 a.m., Blogger Prolix said...

A few questions...

1) A pardon was Nixon's price to end his presidency... should he have seen prison time instead or was it to the public's benefit that he simply retires from public life?
2) Should extenuating circumstances (e.g., under duress) count in sentencing?
3) Should a defendent's "track record" count in sentencing?

At 12:01 p.m., Blogger Babbling Brooks said...


1. Crimes should be prosecuted. As I understand it, impeachment proceedings are the equivalent of prosecution for a sitting president. What's your point?
2. Sure, extenuating circumstances should be considered. But they shouldn't be an excuse. And how many crimes are contributed to by 'stress' - road rage? domestic abuse?
3. Track record should be considered. But what is Svend's track record? How does it compare to mine or yours? I think 'track record' in this case really means 'public profile.'

I'm not saying he should serve twenty years in a rock quarry with an iron ball chained to his leg. But when you steal something, and admit to stealing it, you should get at least get a criminal record.

At 3:49 p.m., Blogger Prolix said...

I wouldn't say that I'm necessarily making a point. I would say that I am curious about whether you object to the ruling because of the principle in law that the judge is following or just the extent that the judge has taken in this case. Also, whether you know for sure whether the standard for a case similar to this is in fact that you would receive a criminal record. Lastly, whether your heart doesn't say in some way, is it in the public's interest, truly, to "kick a man when he is down" or is it to move on.

At 11:53 p.m., Blogger Babbling Brooks said...

I have no problem with reviewing character, circumstances, etc. when passing sentence on an offender. I have a problem with Svend not coming out of this with at least a criminal record.


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