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Douglas Garland 'Perp Walk' Makes Him Look Guilty: Lawyers

07/18/2014 10:09 EDT | Updated 09/17/2014 05:59 EDT
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Douglas Garland faces two counts of first-degree murder and one charge of second-degree murder in the deaths of Alvin and Kathy Liknes and their grandson Nathan O'Brien.

Police escorted Garland, with his hands cuffed behind his back, into the arrest processing unit in front of the media on Tuesday evening.

Alan Pearse, chairman of the policing committee for the Criminal Defence Lawyers Association, says the long walk in front of the cameras was unnecessary and undermines the administration of justice.

He says the fact police did not stop a reporter from asking repeated questions of the accused during the walk is comparable to ``putting an arrestee in stocks in a public square and letting the public throw rotten vegetables.''

But Pat Knoll, a professor of law at the University of Calgary, says allowing members of the public to witness perp walks — perp is police shorthand for "perpetrator'' — may reassure citizens and lead to additional tips from the public.

"It demonstrates that police are doing their job and apprehending offenders,'' said Knoll. "In some instances, although a person may see a photograph or a sketch of a person, when they see them on actual news on television, that can trigger a memory.''

Pearse said it is important that no matter how horrendous the crime, people are presumed innocent until they are proven guilty in a court of law.

"What is a person that goes through this ... is innocent?'' he asked. "The perp walk makes you look guilty.''

Pearse said police should treat all accused the way they treat one of their own members when one of them is accused of a crime.

"Are you aware of an example where (a) cop (has) his hands behind his back, head is down, with two other cops on him?''

Calgary police declined comment.

The Liknes couple and their grandson disappeared three weeks ago from their home in Calgary.

Garland was soon named as a person of interest in the case. His sister is in a relationship with the couple's son and there have been media reports that he and Alvin Liknes had a dispute over a patent for a gas device.

The bodies of the trio have not been found, but Calgary's police chief has said investigators have evidence they are dead.

On Friday, dive teams scoured a pond near the acreage where Garland lived and police have said the search will continue over the weekend.

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