It’s a sad sad day when injustice remains so until a life is lost. This Prime Minister has been around how many years but it takes an extreme occurrence to finally get response from the powers that be. NOW the hero rides in on his politicalized horsey to say something must be done. It hasn’t mattered that other have died or continue to live in pain or rather not lived because it wasn’t time for the leaders of this country to benefit by standing up and being counted. And in the end just how long will something take to happen? No really how long?
This article is an interesting read: Prime Minister Harper says tougher laws coming for child sex offences. The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, August 29, 2013 12:37PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 29, 2013 7:26PM EDT
TORONTO — Child sex offenders, particularly those who victimize multiple kids, could spend longer in prison under a range of harsher penalties proposed Thursday by the prime minister.
The Conservative government plans to introduce legislation this fall aimed at cracking down on people who sexually exploit children, Stephen Harper announced.
“Sadly there are truly evil people out there. The fact is we don’t understand them and we don’t particularly care to. We understand only that they must be dealt with,” Harper said at an event in Toronto.
Lianna McDonald, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection and Justice Minister Peter MacKay, looks on as Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks in Toronto on Thursday Aug. 29, 2013. (Frank Gunn / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
“To protect our children we must create a justice system that is more responsive to victims and especially more responsive to children and to the families of children who have been victimized by sexual predators.”
A main plank of the proposed amendments would see people convicted of more than one such offence serve their sentences consecutively, rather than the current system in which sentences are served concurrently.
Harper cited in his announcement the case of Gordon Stuckless.
The 64-year-old — who was once an usher at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens — was originally convicted in 1997 for sex assaults on 24 boys while he worked at the famed hockey arena between 1969 and 1988. Harper pointed out that Stuckless was originally sentenced to two years less a day, a sentence which was followed by the suicide of Martin Kruze, the victim who brought the sex abuse scandal to light.
Stuckless’ sentence was later increased to five years and he was out on parole in 2001 after serving two-thirds of it.
“Three years, for 20 very serious offences,” Harper said. “That sort of thing was common at the time. Of course the victims, on the other hand, have to cope for the rest of their lives with what such people have done to them.”
Stuckless now faces nearly 100 fresh charges, all laid in the past year, which relate to alleged offences that took place decades ago.
Lianna McDonald, the executive director of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, said particularly when a sex offender has abused several children, the sentences don’t seem like enough.
“In many cases where one individual might have multiple victims the sentence has not to date adequately reflect the number of those victims,” she said after the announcement.
“For some victims in some circumstances it may not even seem that what happened to them really mattered in terms of the totality of the sentence.”
The proposed law would also increase minimum and maximum penalties for child sexual offences.
Currently, people convicted of sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching or sexual exploitation are sentenced to a minimum of one year and a maximum of 10.
Making and distributing child pornography convictions carry the same sentence range. Convictions for accessing or possessing child pornography see people sentenced to a minimum of six months and a maximum of five years.
Harper’s Conservative government has brought in a number of mandatory minimum sentences for various crimes over the years, including previously raising the minimum sentences for the aforementioned offences.
They have brought with them controversies and court challenges.
The Ontario Court of Appeal is considering the constitutionality of minimum sentences for gun crimes after it convened a special five-judge panel in February to hear six such cases at the same time.
In Quebec, the provincial bar association launched a legal challenge seeking to strike down sections of the Conservatives’ 2012 omnibus bill involving mandatory minimums. The bar association said the provisions don’t protect the public and represent an unconstitutional interference from one branch of government, the legislature, in the business of another, the judiciary.
Critics of mandatory minimum sentences say they don’t actually help reduce crime and do more harm than good.
To understand the impact of mandatory minimums one need look no further than the United States, where harsh mandatory minimums were enacted decades ago, said criminal defence lawyer Nader Hasan.
“What even some of the most Conservative law-and-order-oriented judges and politicians south of the border have begun to realize is that mandatory minimums do no make us safer,” said Hasan.
“What they do is overcrowd prisons and bankrupt legislatures.”
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder recently said the Justice Department would target long mandatory sentences that he said have flooded the nation’s prisons with low-level drug offenders and diverted crime-fighting dollars that could be better spent.
Hasan, who teaches a course at the University of Toronto titled “Crime & Punishment: Mandatory Minimums, The Death Penalty & other Current Debates,” said data from the U.S. shows little deterrent effect.
“The Harper government‘s fascination with mandatory minimums is all the more perplexing given that these policies have been tried but have failed miserably in the United States,” Hasan said.
McDonald, from the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, said her hope is that the harsher penalties will keep offenders behind bars longer so that it prevents them, for a time, from committing future offences.
The proposed amendments would also ensure the spouse of a person charged with child pornography offences could be obliged to testify in court and increase penalties for those convicted of child sex offences who break conditions of supervision orders.
It’s Thursday and time for Mama’s Losin It Writing Prompts. My choice is – If you really knew me, you would know that…..
You would know that I get hooked on books. Or more accurately hooked on words. That leads to a lot of rereading of phrases, paragraphs or the whole book. I think I may have an addictive personality.
Any way the old friend I took down was not someone I demolished in any way as the title suggested, but an old book I pull down from the shelf now and then.
One of my addictions from about twenty odd years ago is Dean Koontz. The book tonight is a fav and it was published way back in ’88 called Lightning.
This book not for it’s first line but for the gripping tale he tells. Good suspense although the first line is pretty good.
I mention first lines because I am a sucker for them. Charles Dickens, my absolute hero was best at it. Who could forget the first line in …A Tale of Two Cities….”It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch …”
Of course that story also had the most memorable last line also…”It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a …”
But for me and Mr. Koontz possibly, the best first line was in a book called Winter Moon and the line is… “Death was driving an emerald green Lexus.”
In my dreams that’s the way I want to start a book. With a line so gripping you have no choice but to dive in filled with excitement and anticipation. (Anticipation is another addiction). sigh…soon I will have no secrets from you!
Oh and just for your information I do tend to fall for any good line – but that would be another blog!
Any favorite line out there you would like to share?