A man who allegedly committed one and possibly two sexual assaults in one night, including breaking into a woman's home while drunk and naked, was released on bail with strict conditions as reported in Wednesday's Daily News.
He appeared in court Monday to face charges of sexual assault and break-and-enter with intent to commit an offence, and he was allowed to walk out, subject to those conditions.
Those conditions are that he obey a9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, not consume alcohol or drugs, and avoid contact with the alleged victims.
We must remind ourselves that these are still allegations, and under Canadian law, every individual has the right to a fair trial.
There is also something we value and that is the presumption of innocence. In this country, we are innocent until proven guilty.
We cannot comment on this case, as it is in the hands of the court. But we can look at something that sounds like this and begin to ask some serious questions about our system.
If someone - anyone - commits a crime like what is alleged, can they really be out on the street again so soon? We guard our freedoms fervently in this country, and so we should.
For those that don't appreciate what we have here, a trip abroad to non-democratic countries would provide an extra level of appreciation for what we have.
The Charter of Rights and Freedoms was intended to do just that. The question is: Do those rights extend more to those who have broken the law, as opposed to those that are determined to live within its confines? The RCMP has been in the media frequently of late, from coast to coast, questioning their own conduct and in some cases performance and effectiveness.
There are many who, although they live on the "right" side of the law, have questions about the RCMP and how they go about their business.
It is well known that the RCMP has its own share of frustration, particularly with the mountain of red tape and reports they have to fill out on arrests, knowing their work could be put under a magnifying glass by lawyers and judges. One error can mean the end of hours of painstaking work.
It would be understandable if the RCMP was frustrated. If they've done their job, captured a perpetrator red-handed, and done all they need to do to protect the public, only to have the person out on the street hours shortly thereafter, how would we expect them to feel? Canada's laws are, arguably, in most cases, tough enough. It is the interpretation of those laws, or the reluctance to comply with the letter of the law in favour of one's own discretion that becomes a major problem.
What this country needs is a judicial system that toughens up on crime. We've listened to lobbyists and advocates for years, telling us that if we treat criminals better, they'll respond positively it will result in less criminal activity and more reformed convicts.
Has that really worked? And while statistics show that the crime rate is down, one can ask if it really is. Something that cannot be quantified is how many victims of crime simply won't report incidents to the police and have little faith in the justice system to look after them.
Perhaps that is cynicism at its worst, but that is a factor, whether we choose to believe it or not. Canadians value safety and security, and anything and everything that can be done in that regard is most welcome.
We all need reminders that the law is there to protect the innocent, too.
" We want to hear from you. Send comments on this editorial to firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Copyright 2013