Pubdate: Wed, 14 Jan 2004
Source: Goderich Signal-Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2004 Goderich Signal-Star
Author: Michael J. Dee


Dear Editor:

In last week's editorial (Court ruling on drugs good news, Jan. 7) you
wrote that "the court ruled 6-3 that making marijuana possession a
criminal offence does not violate Charter of Rights guarantees of
liberty and security of person."

You continued by saying "following the decision, Martin said the
government would reintroduce a marijuana bill that died in November
when Parliament was prorogued. The bill would decriminalize the
activity, which means people caught with small amounts would face
fines rather than prison.

"Here's hoping the government gets their act together quickly and
realizes the far-reaching affects that any move towards
decriminalization will have in this country."

What you failed to understand is that the majority of the court
dismissed the threat to deprivation of liberty in the penalty phase
because there is no mandatory minimum. It does not matter that the
threat of imprisonment is used to make people comply with the
marijuana laws.

The majority of the Canadian Supreme Court wrote, "As, in our view,
the appellants have not established an infringement of rights there is
no need to call on the government for a justification."

This is because judges do to not sentence people to jail convicted for
simple possession, but what about traffickers?

I believe the majority of the court narrowed its focus to the
appellants. They ignored the fact that thousands of Canadian have been
in prison for violating the marijuana laws. Thousands who could be
knocking on the court doors for relief.

The court is saying the only time you can claim injury to "deprivation
of liberty," is after you have been sentenced to prison. And then the
Court says it is a section 12 issue, which does not question the
constitutionality of the law itself, that put you in prison.

The right to liberty means more than freedom from arrest.

In my opinion the penalty phase is not where deprivation of liberty
begins in the criminal justice system.

Does making it illegal to possess marijuana deprive you the liberty,
the freedom of choice to acquire and possess this property infringe on
rights? Is there a need to call on the government for a

Does being arrested and hauled off to jail for violating the marijuana
laws infringed on deprivation of liberty? Is there a need to call on
the government for a justification?

Does receiving a summons, an order to appear in court, by police
power, to face charges, infringe on a person's rights? Is there a need
to call on the government for a justification?

Does the unreasonable seizure of person and property ie marijuana,
infringe upon the Charter? "Everyone has the right to be secure
against unreasonable search or seizure." Is there a need to call on
the government for a justification?

These question were not presented in these court proceedings so the
door is not permanently closed.

There is a link between judges keeping constitutional questions at bay
and to the grow ops spreading across Canada by organized crime.

Thank you for your support.

Michael J. Dee

Windham, Maine
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