Pubdate: Tue, 19 Jan 2010
Source: Abbotsford Times (CN BC)
Copyright: 2010 The Abbotsford Times
Author: William Perry


Editor, the Times:

I find it troubling that the courts and law enforcement have such a 
low opinion of individuals that they label them as 'organized crime' 
yet consider informants as trustworthy, reliable and creditable.

Informants are not held in high esteem, so they are generally 
protected, by being segregated in prison or, if they are not 
incarcerated, relocated under a new identity.

Our criminal justice system has turned into a 'snitchery,' a 
wholesale reliance on the worst people, with the meanest of motives, 
to secure justice for all.

Law enforcement thinks anybody who comes to them must be truthful, 
that they have seen the error of their ways and is reformed. Sounds 
as cleansing as baptism: "All my sins have been washed away . . . 
including that Piggly Wiggly I knocked over in . . . The preacher's 
done warshed away all my sins and transgressions."

Altruism is not an informant's motive: self-preservation generally 
works for individuals attempting to duck drug charges and a lengthy 
jail term when working for police. There is also the financial 
reward. Law enforcement - I mean the taxpayer - shells out tens of 
thousands (of dollars) and so police hear what they need to hear.

It's time to revisit legislation to ensure that constitutional rights 
to fair procedure are maintained and examine the excessive secrecy of 
Canada's Witness Protection Program Act and its usage.

Our criminal justice system is based upon the principle that those 
accused of crimes are entitled to and will always receive a fair 
shake. Far too often, miscarriages of justice occasioned in whole or 
in part by informants, and their unreliable nature, undermines the 
system. How many wrongful convictions must there be before the use of 
these informants is forbidden?

Crown counsel and judges must be made aware of the irreparable damage 
that these informants can cause to the administration of justice in 
Canada. Does the end justify the means? As a former cop, I question that.

William Perry

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