You have the right to remain silent. Not a lawyer.

Further to today’s earlier post, one of — if not my favorite — reporters, Kirk Makin of the Globe and Mail explains why the SCC was so keen to look at a suspect’s rights during interrogation.

What I’ve always found interesting about police interrogations is how in their efforts to get at the truth, police can lie their faces off to a suspect.

Quoth Makin:

They said that suspects can easily become confused when they are confronted by police with bits and pieces of real or fictional evidence. Believing there is no hope, they may be induced to give up their right to silence.

“The right to counsel – and by extension, its meaningful exercise, cannot be made to depend on an interrogator’s opinion as to its opportunity or utility,” they said.

In the first case, the Court majority ruled that self-incriminating statements from Trent Terrence Sinclair, who was being interrogated about an alcohol-induced killing, were admissible at his trial.

If you’re planning on, or perhaps think you’re going to wind up on the wrong side of an interrogation (as I did, to a degree — it’s no fun, believe me), read Makin’s article to bone up on what you can expect from the law of the land when you’re in that little room at your neighbourhood police station.

PS – the 600 plus comments on the Globe/Makin article are fascinating, and virtually all of them say the same thing: Shut the hell up. And, then, generally speaking, you have to tell police your name, address and show ID. That’s it.

The rest is gravy to them.

Consider yourselves warned. 😉

UPDATE: Another of my faves, Brian Lilley of Sun Media has also written on the SCC’s decision, which must have caused no end of internal debate.

Mr. Swan goes to Vancouver

 

Andrew Swan is Manitoba's justice minister and attorney general

 

Interesting news statement from the provincial Justice minister a few moments ago.

STRENGTHENING YOUTH CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT TO HEAD MANITOBA’S AGENDA AT JUSTICE MINISTERS’ MEETINGS: SWAN
– – –
Province Also Supports Tougher Penalties for Johns to Reduce Sexual Exploitation

Making public safety a priority by strengthening the Youth
Criminal Justice Act and providing tougher consequences for johns
top the agenda Manitoba will put forward at a federal, provincial
and territorial (FPT) justice ministers’ meeting next week in
Vancouver, Attorney General Andrew Swan said today.

 

“Manitobans have a right to feel safe in their homes and in their

communities.  We work very hard every day to help protect them by
strengthening our laws as well as investing in police, in
prosecutors and in crime prevention,” said Swan.  “We have moved
ahead with new provincial legislative tools and now we are
calling on Ottawa to improve key federal legislation.”

Manitoba has repeatedly called for the reform of the Youth
Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) at past FPT meetings.  At this
meeting, Swan said he will raise concerns about Bill C-4 which
proposes YCJA amendments.  The minister said the bill, currently
before Parliament, does not adequately address deficiencies in
YCJA bail and sentencing provisions and needs to be changed to
deal more effectively with serious and repeat young offenders.
Swan said he will call upon FPT ministers to commit to a special
meeting on the YCJA if the parliamentary standing committee
currently reviewing the bill does not address Manitoba’s
concerns.

He said Manitoba will also suggest the Criminal Code should be
amended to provide Crown attorneys with the ability to seek
increased penalties for johns, in order to reduce sexual
exploitation, diminish negative impacts on communities where
prostitution is taking place and disrupt a key source of revenue
for organized crime.

In order to allow more time for police officers to be on the
streets, Swan said he will support recommendations to amend the
Criminal Code to permit routine police evidence to be presented
by written document rather than requiring police to spend time in
court giving oral testimony on such matters.

The meeting will take place Oct. 13 to 15 in Vancouver.

From the Canadian Bar Association:

OTTAWA – The Canadian Bar Association’s (CBA) National Criminal Justice Section says that while Bill C-4, Youth Criminal Justice Act amendments, contains some necessary changes, it should not be passed as it would undermine the long term protection of society.

“The CBA supports an approach to youth justice that leads to greater public safety over the long haul,” says Scott Bergman of Toronto, Member of the National Criminal Justice Section. “The Bill moves away from a restorative and rehabilitative model of youth justice to a more punitive model, which is both unnecessary and contrary to sound public policy based on well-accepted social science.”

In its submission, the CBA says the Bill would mean more young people would go to jail for longer periods of time, although youth crime has not been increasing, and the diversion and rehabilitation goals of the current Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) have been working well.

The submission notes that according to the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, overall crime has been falling since the early 1990s and violent youth crime has remained stable for several years. “Every province and territory has experienced reductions in youth court caseloads since the introduction of the YCJA, and fewer youth cases are resulting in jail sentences being imposed.”

“In other words,” says Scott Bergman, “there are fewer court cases and fewer youth in custody without any related increase in violent youth crime.”

The CBA is also concerned that the proposed amendments seem to send a message that three key participants in the criminal justice system – the police, Crown counsel and the judiciary – should not be trusted with discretionary powers. “The CBA opposes amendments which would directly or indirectly discourage these groups from exercising their professional discretion under the YCJA. Discretion is the cornerstone of a just system,” notes the brief.

Bill C-4 (first reading version) in its entirety here.

Manitoba’s in a tough spot. Many other places in the country don’t have the same youth crime severity problem as we do.

I wish Mr. Swan good luck. I also hope for his presence (and that of Winnipeg’s next mayor and police chief) at the standing committee in Parliament to put Manitoba and Winnipeg’s concerns about youth crime on the record and in full.

If they need some help developing case studies to present, I know a few people who would be glad to help out.

‘What the public doesn’t hear’ week 7

—An ongoing examination of publicly-recorded police activity and media reporting from the WPS. This is for the M-F period of Aug. 30 to Sept. 3

Apologies for the lateness of this. It’s been a crazy busy last two weeks.

(I also promised some kind of analysis, but it’s gonna take a bit longer due to the volume of data collected in the first six weeks.)

Notes:

PO = fail probation, unless preceded by the words ‘assault’ or ‘obstruct.’ in those cases PO= police officer

Fail attend= fail attend court

M= male, FM = female

If an offence or offences are in brackets, those are charges already laid an arrested person was pending on.

Monday

No briefing, emailed news release. info on missing girl found, the death of kylie armishaw from a fall at the colony square building, and results of a round of free vehicle inspections. Later in the day the announcement of the arrest of a guy named Trent Minski, who was wanted for a string of suspected credit card frauds.

Now, on the adult criminal intake docket [people arrested and locked up] from the weekend – does not include domestic violence-related arrests, youths arrested or people arrested and released on a promise to appear. Neither does it include RCMP arrests resulting in people being locked up in Winnipeg, which show up on the docket.

  • FM, fail bail x2 mischief property under $5K
  • M, fail bail x2
  • M, fail bail [fail bail]
  • M, fail youth sentence conditions
  • FM, assault with weapon, fail bail, aggravated assault, fail bail x3
  • M, fail bail x6
  • M, fail bail x3
  • FM, fail attend, fail bail x3
  • M, sex assault
  • M, fail PO [sex-offender-related]
  • M, fail bail x3, drug possession x2, possess property obtained by crime, HTA x2
  • M, fail show for fingerprinting as required
  • M, fail youth sentence x3, fail bail, fail attend, theft under, fail bail x2, obstruct PO, theft under, fail attend
  • M, fail PO
  • M, theft under
  • FM, fail attend, fail PO x2, fail bail x4, theft under, mischief under, utter threats, fail PO, fail youth sentence
  • M, fail PO x2, theft under 9 x credit fraud, 11 thefts,  house break enter and theft, possess criminal property, mischief
  • M, robbery with firearm, fraud, theft under, weapons
  • M, robbery with firearm, weapons
  • M, fail PO
  • M, fail attend ( assault weapon x9, house break enter and commit assault with weapon. Wanted on manslaughter warrant
  • M, drug possession, public mischief
  • FM, fail PO x2
  • M, theft under
  • M, fail bail x3, public mischief, HTA ( fail bail, possession for purpose of trafficking x2, drug possession)
  • M, fail police release
  • M, fail police release x4, fail attend

Tuesday

No briefing, no release.

Now, on the adult criminal intake docket [people arrested and locked up] from Monday- does not include domestic violence-related arrests, youths arrested or people arrested and released on a promise to appear. Neither does it include RCMP arrests resulting in people being locked up in Winnipeg, which show up on the docket.

  • M, weapons, uttering threats, mischief over $5K
  • FM, fail report for ID [theft under, prostitution x2, fail bail x2]
  • M, break, enter and theft [fail attend, fail youth sentence]
  • M, fail attend x2, 3x firearms, drug trafficking, possession of property obtained by crime, drive disqualified
  • M, fail bail
  • M, fail youth sentence x3, robbery with violence x2, personation, house break enter and commit robbery x2
  • M, fail PO, theft under
  • M, possess purpose trafficking, drug possession, possess criminal property (mad cowz)
  • M, possess purpose trafficking, drug possession, possess criminal property (mad cowz)
  • M, possess purpose trafficking, drug possession, possess criminal property (mad cowz)

Wednesday

Briefing held on city’s largest ever meth bust (but the suspects released on a promise to appear?), a school arson, the arrest of two wanted prisoners, and the arrest of the city’s latest HIV/AIDS assault suspect (cops say aggravated sexual assault x3, the crown says aggravated assault x2. Wires crossed)

Later in the day, some lost medication is announced.

Stranger, and later still (about 9 pm) police announce arrest of suspect who drove stolen military vehicle onto active runway at the airport. It happened at 5:15 am Wednesday.

Now, on the adult criminal intake docket [people arrested and locked up] from Tuesday – does not include domestic violence-related arrests, youths arrested or people arrested and released on a promise to appear. Neither does it include RCMP arrests resulting in people being locked up in Winnipeg, which show up on the docket.

  • M, fail bail x2, fail PO x2 [house break enter and theft]
  • FM, fail attend, fail youth sentence
  • FM, theft under, fail PO
  • M, house break enter and robbery, robbery with intent to assault
  • M, theft under, fail PO
  • M, forcible confinement, sexual assault, fail PO, anal intercourse
  • M, possess, possess purpose trafficking
  • FM, assault
  • M, theft under, possess break in tools, fail bail
  • M, fail attend court [possession, fail attend, fail bail]
  • M, fail PO x2, fail bail x3, possession

Thursday

Briefing held. More on military stolen vehicle, an assault weapon arrest and a bust of a grow-op. Later in the day: some corrections to the prior media release, but nothing fatal, just some wrong dates.

Now, on the adult criminal intake docket [people arrested and locked up] from Wednesday – does not include domestic violence-related arrests, youths arrested or people arrested and released on a promise to appear. Neither does it include RCMP arrests resulting in people being locked up in Winnipeg, which show up on the docket.

  • M, possess purp trafficking x3, trafficking, possession, possess criminal property over $5K
  • M, break, enter and theft x2
  • FM, fail attend, fail bail x2
  • FM, fail bail, possession, [possess purp trafficking, possess criminal property, hta]
  • M, fail bail [break enter with intent to steal/assault, possess break in tools, fail bail, theft under]
  • FM, fail bail
  • FM, witness warrant [theft under, fail attend court x2]
  • M, theft under [theft under x2, possess criminal property]
  • M, fail attend
  • M, theft under, possess break-in tools [theft under]
  • M, possess purp trafficking, break, enter with intent, possess weapon dangerous

Friday

Briefing held. Back to school safety, strong-arm robbery of a 13 year old, Man shot – request for help, commercial robbery- request for help , assault of cabbie.

Now, on the adult criminal intake docket [people arrested and locked up] from Thursday – does not include domestic violence-related arrests, youths arrested or people arrested and released on a promise to appear. Neither does it include RCMP arrests resulting in people being locked up in Winnipeg, which show up on the docket.

  • FM, report for ID
  • M, fail PO
  • M, fail bail
  • M, possess criminal property under, obstruct PO, ID fraud, possess purp trafficking
  • M, assault, utter threats x4, possess weapon dangerous
  • FM, assault with weapon, possess weapon dangerous, fail release from RCMP custody

-30-

Truth and Rec

A commenter on the CBC Manitoba website regarding the now-ongoing Truth and Reconciliation Commission kind of gets to the heart of the matter:

“… My father went to residential school where he was beaten for speaking his language and raped numerous times. Children died because they were given shabby clothing, insufficient food and regular physical abuse. Once boys got big enough (9 years old) they were sent into the fields to grow food that they we’re allowed to eat. My father was absent most my life because he was dealing with these demons. I would give up ever “special right” my status card gives me for a childhood with my father.”

These things happened. There can be no disputing this.

I’ve written a lot about youth crime and youth justice issues over the past few years. I can tell you honestly that one of the things that sits with me is how in 99 per cent of the youth-related criminal court cases I’ve covered, there are no parents to be found.

It’s no great secret that the majority of young offenders charged with serious crimes in Manitoba are aboriginal kids.

Yes, sometimes their grandmothers show up for hearings; occasionally it’s an aunt.

Most often, however, its a social worker. A state-appointed guardian who probably has 100 other ‘files’ to juggle.

It’s a shame – and you have to wonder how much the ‘generational’ nature of what happened residential schools is at play here.

I think it’s probably a lot.

People who know me know I’m not one to subscribe to the ‘hug a thug’ mentality.

But, in a young criminal’s mind – assuming they have reasonable grasp of their functions and aren’t addled with ADD or FAS [many of them are] – can they be expected to act in a way that contrasts with your psychological upbringing and makeup?

Just as I smoke cigarettes habitually – a learned, negative, behaviour – the vast majority of us are really creatures of habit.

I believe that many of the young car thieves, rapists, thugs and murderers would love a re-do of a childhood that appears to have been, from where I sit, anyways, empty of the true kind of care and attention most ‘normal’ people in Canada had the benefit of.