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Lady Justice, You're a Fickle Mistress

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Three odd cases of "justice" are in the news these days, all of them likely to make those who don't commit crimes uneasy.

The National Post's story of 74-year-old Marian Andrzejewski being beaten in his 14th storey Ottawa apartment, and calling 911, and then being put in jail for 75 days seems improbable-to-inconceivable. Except it happened.

Forget for a moment that the 911 operator screwed him around a bit, when the cops eventually arrived Andrzejewski spotted them from his window chatting to his attacker (who admitted in court that he repeatedly punched him).

The cops then were apparently persuaded by the attacker's mother that she been held by Andrzejewski against her will and sexually assaulted. That was sufficient to get him arrested and held for 75 days until the court freed him.

While Andrzejewski, who is Polish with imprecise English, has an unblemished criminal record, the attacker's mother was a crack addict for 30 years with half a dozen criminal convictions involving forging cheques, theft and obstructing police. The question begs why the cops would choose to believe her and her son rather than their victim? Dunno -- but it's puzzling.

In the case of Byron Sonne who was charged in the G20 brouhaha in Toronto in 2010, he was exonerated by the judge who agreed that he was "testing the system" and had done nothing wrong. As it was, he spent some 11 months in jail before being exonerated.

What's odd in this case is that when police checked his home they found a cache of chemicals and materials used in making explosives. Substances like ammonium nitrate (AN -- a fertilizer and for making bombs), and triacetone triperoxide (TATP -- one of the most sensitive explosives and a favourite of suicide bombers), and then a supply of Potassium Chlorate. All used to make explosives.

So how does this guy "test the system" by having bomb-making materials in his basement? He was charged, but in this case the judge ruled that there was no evidence that he'd done anything illegal, and so let him go.

The Crown may appeal, but the four charges involving explosives were dismissed, as well as one of counseling mischief. The judge seemed disinterested in why Sonne had acquired explosive substances that terrorists prefer. As long as there was no evidence he would use them illegally, he was freed. Maybe he wanted to fertilize his garden?

And in the third case, the conviction of Michael Rafferty of murder, sexual assault and kidnapping was met with general approval. But to some, it is mind-boggling that when police got a warrant to search his car, that warrant didn't apply to his computer, which stored damning pedophiliac stuff that seemed to eliminate any doubts about what made this guy tick.

But the jury wasn't allowed to hear about the contents of his computer.

How does that serve justice or protect the public? It doesn't, and even though he was found guilty, the idea that he could have walked, reduces confidence in the sytem.

No sane person wants an innocent person wrongly convicted (hence the abolishment of the death penalty). By the same token, no sane person wants a guilty person freed on a technicality. Yet that happens more than the former.

How to marry "justice" and "law" in Canada is a continuing problem, yet to be solved.