Review miscarriages…

May 18, 2022

Globe and Mail – Patrick White
Senators call for exoneration of 12 Indigenous women who endured ‘systemic inequality’ in Canada’s criminal justice system

Is it possible that in Canada there could be a gross miscarriage of justice predicated simply on race and gender?  Senator Kim pate and a group of fellow senators says yes and provide twelve names and cases to redress.  Justice Minister David Lametti appointed a review panel last year.  “The request to re-examine the 12 cases would pose a significant test for Canada’s conviction review process, which is fated for a major retooling under Minister Lametti. Last year, he tapped Harry LaForme, the first Indigenous lawyer on an appellate court in Canada, and Juanita Westmoreland-Traoré, Quebec’s first Black judge, to report on how the government could create an independent commission to review miscarriages of justice.”  Mr. Lametti said he’s “currently working out parameters for a new conviction review body based on the work of the retired judges.”  The Senators says here’s a test of the new review practices.  Related article: The Toronto Star Editorial Board (May 16, 2022)    An alert system would break the silence over missing Indigenous people – ‘Whatever the final form of Indigenous alerts, a system is clearly needed. After all, when we pierce the silence, it ought to be with the sound of joy.’  (Advocacy for a systemic response to missing Indigenous children)

National Observer – Corey Shefman
Canada must reduce soaring number of Indigenous people in jails

Recently there have been many media articles and representation of the fact that Canada’s prisons are hugely disproportionately filled with Indigenous people, especially Indigenous women and girls.  The link offers an overview of the dimensions of the problem and the apparent ineffective efforts on the part of government to define the problem or to offer real solutions.  In this opinion piece, Shefman says:  “I used to think the solution to the disproportionate over-representation of Indigenous people in Canadian jails and prisons was largely a policy problem. That by changing policies, and making sure existing laws were enforced properly, Canada could address the crisis of Indigenous mass incarceration. But the time for incremental policy change has passed. What Canada needs now is “decarceration,” and we need it urgently.”  Related article: The Lawyer’s Daily – Pamela Palmater  Breaches of Indigenous human rights condemned by UN  Related article:  CTV News – Denio Lourenco    Documents show a pattern of human rights abuses against gender diverse prisoners

 CP 24 – Jim Bronskill, Canadian Press
Feds seek dismissal of planned class action against RCMP over facial recognition tool

The facial recognition software from Clearview AI is front and center in an effort to arrive at a class action lawsuit certification against the RCMP.   Ha Vi Doan insists that the millions of photos used from internet services, including her own photo, violates her privacy as well as the privacy of many others so collected, a move the government says caused her and the others no harm and therefore should not be certified.  Clearview AI has stopped offering the service in Canada.

Blogger Russell Webster (UK)
Probation League Table

Here’s a scorecard on the British probation system.  Following a report on six individual probation units, Russell translated the reports into scorecards and found that even the best rated still had room for improvement.  “The Chief Inspector, Justin Russell is so concerned about performance levels, many of them closely linked to dire and worsening staff shortages, that he told the Justice Select Committee that the probation service is currently “in survival mode”.  Eventually nine units were rated on organizational delivery and court work and case supervision.

The Lawyer’s Daily – John L. Hill
How judge’s jury instructions led to new murder trial

This is an interesting case but one well explained and worthy of a read by author Hill.  The case is still in limbo but first resulted in a conviction and a ten year sentence without possibility of early parole.  The appeal offered four grounds presented by James Lockyer and Jack Gemmell for overturning the conviction.  In the Appeal Court’s decision, the trial judge’s response to questions from the jury prompted the overturn.

Blogger S.N. Smith (May 18, 2022)
The Great Replacement Theory: An Islamic Response

This link is probably an unusual perspective for most of the readers of this Smart Justice Newsletter but it offers a Muslim perspective on the issues arising from the easy law enforcement concession that the recent mass shootings in Buffalo deliberately targeted Black persons and was a product of white supremacists acting out the Great Replacement theory.  Smith traces the presence of the theory on both the political and media life in the US.  A growing question for Canada is the extent to which the Great Replacement theory is prevalent in Canada, what is origin is and where it may go.  Related article: Organization for the Prevention of Violence (Canada)   Hate in Canada: A short guide to far-right extremist movements   Related blog:  Stephanie Carvin  “IMHO, the “great replacement” theory went mainstream in Canada with opposition to the UN Global Compact on Migration in 2018.”  Cf string)