Thursday, March 17, 2005

Un-fAIR India?

Every newspaper in town has it splashed across the front page in enormous font. I expect every daily across Canada has it so. Probably many newspapaers around the world have it front page.

The Air India Bombing suspects were found NOT GUILTY.

I was watching TV at work yesterday morning (yeah, it's a tough job), when the re-broadcast of the Daily show was interrupted for breaking news... Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri were found not guilty.

My oh my are people upset. Of course they are. They want justice. They've wanted justice for two decades.

The Canadian justice system failed to give it to them.

I have to side with Judge Josephson on this one. The evidence failed to rise to the standard required by Canadian law. Malik and Bagri may well have been involved with the bombings. Who am I to say? The evidence certainly has a strong surface indication of such. But that is not enough. We have standards of reasonable doubt in Canada, and in oprder to meet them, evidence must be solid and consistent.

The evidence in this case simply wasn't. We cannot fault the judge for that.

I hate the thought that these two men may well be guilty, but I hate the idea that we would compromise our established rules of law and order in order to convict them despite the failures of evidence collection... what would htat mean for the future? It's a slippery slope. And while it's never going to satisfy the families of the dead, I would rather live in a country where it's difficult to convict an innocent man than one where justice is served on a whim. Those whims are easily corruptible.

So... how did we fail to succeed in this case? Assuming that these men are guilty?

We need to look to the RCMP and CSIS, the two bodies responsible for collection of evidence in the bombings. I am in no position to say how they may or may not be culpable in this presumed failure, and there is likely no way to turn back the clock in order to effectively collect the information needed to effectively appeal the decision. All we can do is bolster our practices for the future. Without an idea as to where they fell short, I can't begin to fairly postulate upon effective solutions.

Questions I have...

Why, exactly is this case being tried in Canada? Because the flight originated here? Because the defendants live here? Because most of the victims were Canadian?
Why not Ireland? The debris landed off their coast.
Why not England? London was the destination.
Why not India? It was their plane.

(And not to trivialize the disaster by equating the trial to a relatively minor trial...)

But if you REALLY want to convict these men, why not put them to trial in a country where they are more likely to be found guilty? Steve Moore pulled that one in the Bertuzzi civil trial!

A few links...

The Canadian Press article on the verdict
Air Disaster.Com

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