Military justice…

Oct. 11, 2021

Global News – Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press
Supreme Court of Canada asked to rule on independence of military judges

The fairness of the Canadian military police and the military justice system is much at issue around everyday enforcement and prosecution.  Increasingly, cases are surfacing in which the independence of the judiciary is also at issue.  “The Supreme Court is being asked to determine whether Canada’s military judges are truly independent… The request filed on behalf of several service members whose criminal cases are on hold represents the latest – and possibly last – twist in a landmark legal battle whose genesis dates back to 2018, when Canada’s chief military judge was himself charged.”

Ontario Court of Appeal – R. vs Morris

This ruling is almost certainly to be challenged further and remain controversial around the question of judges making allowance for personal and systemic discrimination and racism in the background of Black persons under conviction.  The 72 page ruling is framed around a sentence of minor proportion for gun offences.  Neither the back ground racism nor the offences charged are challenged – just the sentences which argue that Black people convicted are entitled to special consideration like the Gladue ruling with regard to Indigenous people.  Appeal Court Decision –   Related article: Peace Builders – Alexandria Hamilton   Ontario Court to decide how systemic factors should impact the sentencing of Black people.  

Globe and Mail – Yusuf Faqiri
After my brother’s death in prison, my family has lost faith in the system. But we still believe in justice – For five years, Soleiman Faqiri’s family has been doggedly pursuing an explanation for the mysterious circumstances around his brutal death after a mental-health crisis. And yet, they have hope – not because of Canada and its institutions, but because of Canadians

Yusuf Faqiri is the elder brother of Soleiman Faqiri, a man suffering a mental health crisis and who died in prison from causes that have been distressingly difficult to discover.  The article details the struggle of the family to cope with the entire incident.  The two police officers who came said that after 11 days in custody, some guards entered Soleiman’s cell and he died.  The real horror took five years to unfold.  Related article: Globe and Mail – Canadian Press    Protesters outside Newfoundland jail call for better care for prisoners after inmate suicide

Toronto Star – Sara Mojtehedzadeh
Farm where 200 fell ill in huge COVID-19 outbreak is the first to face pandemic prosecution under workplace safety laws

The plight of the migrant farm worker is getting attention finally in the experience of one large farm where over 200 workers fell ill of theCovid-19 virus and over 20 instances of workplace safety violations have surfaced.  “Scotlynn Growers and proprietor Scott Biddle are charged with 20 offences that allegedly occurred last year, when about 200 migrant workers tested positive for the virus.”

N.Y. Times – Alan Rappeport and Liz Alderman
Global Deal to End Tax Havens Moves Ahead as Nations Back 15% Rate – More than 130 countries agreed to set a minimum tax rate of 15 percent as governments look to end a race to the bottom on corporate taxation.

The decision has, as yet no set date for implementation but the promise has been pursued for quite some time as the number of companies which pay no taxes grows both domestically and internationally.  The extra revenue is estimated at $150 billion and equally significant is the agreement among the 130 countries – with some notable holdouts – to impose a minimum tax. An equal advantage in the new agreement is that with so many countries included in the agreement, companies fleeing the tax will have fewer places and fewer attractions to moving the business overseas.

N.Y. Times (US) – . David Goodman
A Year After ‘Defund,’ Police Departments Get Their Money Back – The abrupt reversals have come in response to rising levels of crime, the exodus of officers and political pressures.

The old argument seems to have won – at least judging by the number of police forces across the US that have gotten their full funding back, many with augmentation for previous cuts and more for extra officers.  The article looks at controversial ‘hot-spot’ policing in the city of Dallas and explores funding for anti-crime purposes such as improved street lighting, conceding that police presence may deter crime of the moment but does not address the causes of crime.

N.Y. Times – Patricia Leigh Brown
After Lives Fraught With Pain, Housing That Says ‘You’re Worthy’ – Women who went to prison for killing their abusive partners are starting over at Home Free, an apartment complex created by design volunteers in San Francisco.

Home Free is a new complex of transitional apartments in San Francisco.  For women coming out of prison it is more than a home.  It is an expression of dignity after a conviction for killing a violent and abusive spouse.  The program has taken on new life because it allows the introduction of retro evidence of the abuse, a commutation, and a place with recognition that an injustice prevented previous and timely evidence of the abuse: “That women who had unspeakable violence committed against them were not allowed to bring in evidence of the abuse is the quintessential injustice,” said Sunny Schwartz, the founder of Five Keys. “We were committed to making a vibrant, dignified and safe home, a place that says ‘you’re worthy.’ ”