Thursday, June 02, 2005

Renegging on the Devil

The Jackson trial is on the cusp of it's final phase. As I write this, the Prosecution is, according to the projected time-line, delivering thier closing arguments.
Naturally I have my thoughts, but I'm going to save them for tomorrow as today I want to weigh in on a criminal trial here at home.

Karla Holmolka.

In short for those who don't know the essence of the case.
Twelve years ago Karla Holmolka and her husband Paul Bernardo were tried for raping and murdering a pair of girls in their basement. Karla turned evidence on Paul - under the guise of the abused wife - for a reduced sentence (12 years). No sooner had the deal been inked when a video tape of the murders was uncovered. What did the video tape show? Holmolka gleefully participating in the murders with Bernardo - no sign of coersion.
Now, she is on the cusp of being released. But the courts are trying to put in place measures by which she will be monitored - possibly for life - as if she were on probation or even house arrest.

I don't know about this one. I can be quoted as recently having said in reference to her well publicized upcoming release, something to the effect of "she should be locked up for life." Which I think is absolutely true. I think that the deal that was made was a terrible mistake - but that is all in hindsight, isn't it? I believe that our country has got to stand behind our words, and the ground rules we lay out - even if they should prove faulty. Don't get me wrong. If a law (or legal decision such as it is in this case) is a problem, we should change it. But we can't change it retroactively. Any rulings based on a law that changes have GOT to be grandfathered, for better or for worse. Living any other way would be tyrannical.

Having said that. A large part of me really wants Holmolka monitored. It really makes me sick that she is to a greater or lesser degree getting away with murder. I wouldn't want her living in my neighbourhood un-watched - and I don't feel like I'm in any danger of her personally if she was. But she's got to live somewhere. (Lucky for me, it appears it's going to be Montreal.)

The fact of the matter is that despite it feeling like it's a tough call, in fact it is a no-brainer. She should walk the streets as freely as I do. Monitored only by the dozens and dozens of security cameras and identity tracking processes that exist in our ever more transparent society (thank you Dr. Brin). She made a legitimate deal, as unfortunatley un-necessary and mis-guided as it was, and it must be honoured as it stands on paper - not re-interpreted for the greater-good. Re-interpreting it would in fact be the top of a slippery-slope that ultimately would not serve the 'greater good.'

Perhaps next time - the inevitable Robert Pickton trial for example, not that anyone else is yet implicated, though conspiracy theories abound - the courts should word any such agreement with a clause that clearly states the understanding which the agreement is entered into under and that if evidence should arise that makes the need for the witness in question un-necessary - or that clearly implicates the witness to a greater degree than initially understood, the deal is off. The witness is not expected to testify - and any evidence thus already gained is deemed inadmissable - and any promises flowing in the opposite direction are, at best, discretional.

But perhaps Karla Holmolka should be in favour of being monitored. I expect that with the grusomeness of the crimes, the notoriety of the case, and the publicity of her release (as well as an upcoming feature film) that she may well be in some real danger. Lord knows how long realistically, but I doubt that she will be able to live her life of freedom in peace, and there may well be a day when someone decides to take the law into their own hands... that is if the transition into real-life doesn't kill her itself.

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