Sunday, November 15, 2015

Where Is Justice To Be Found?

For Adam Nobody, the answer appears to be 'nowhere.' Last week retired judge Lee Ferrier ruled at a police disciplinary tribunal that Toronto police Const. Babak Andalib-Goortani should lose five days' pay for his brutalization of Nobody, characterizing it as fleeting and physically minor. a strange way indeed to regard Nobody's broken nose and broken cheekbone.

The judge felt that Andalib-Goortani has already "suffered enough."

It is an assessment at odds with Toronto Star readers, a few of whose missives of outrage I reproduce below:
Police officer Babak Andalib-Goortani has essentially had his allowance docked as a punishment for his behaviour during the G20 protests in Toronto. The judge who heard his appeal apparently felt that the man wasn’t really bad, just naughty, “barely over the line of wrongfulness.” After all, he wasn’t the only police officer to wade into crowds after hiding or removing his name badge, and he’s suffered a marriage breakup, mental stress due to his criminal prosecution, and the loss of his home.

None of these hard times, it seems to me, came about because of what he did. They happened because he was caught, and that only if we discount all the other people in the world who suffered the same troubles without the excuse of legal proceedings in their lives.

If all we want from our justice system is punishment for criminals, which is what legal proceedings did determine the man is, then it’s arguable that he has already paid a price. If we want an offender to take responsibility, feel remorse, and genuinely try to address whatever in him lead to his mistake, with the goal of being welcomed back into a supportive community, neither Andalib-Goortani nor the rest of us are served by this judgment.

He has been judged to be a victim of an attempt to hold our police to civilized standards of behaviour. This does no favours to the man himself, our police, or the rest of us.

Jim Maloy, Barrie

Well, I guess it’s official: we live in a police state.

That a police officer, convicted of brutally beating an innocent, passive fellow citizen, should keep his job is utterly unbelievable – that is, assuming that we do live in a “free and democratic society,” as our constitution proclaims.

What’s happened in this case is called police impunity: the right of police officers to do anything they wish, no matter how criminal, with little or no consequence. The text of Judge Ferrier’s ruling could have been read out in Moscow or Beijing without anyone thinking it abnormal.

Because it’s poppy-time, I cannot help asking: Is this the kind of society that our brave soldiers, sailors, and aviators fought and died for?

Steven Spencer, Pickering

Like prosecutor Brendan Van Niejenhuism I was stunned that convicted Andalib-Goortani was simply docked five days pay for his assault with a weapon.

The retired judge assigned to the Police Tribunal, Lee Ferrier, simply confirmed by his irrational and unfair decision that justice is certainly not for all, but that there is one law for the police, and another for the average citizen.

It’s telling that in the 47-paragraph decision, not one line addressed the impact on the victim of the assault or the impact on public confidence in policing, but was devoted entirely to how Andalib-Goortani is a victim because of his assault on Adam Nobody. Too bad he lost his house and marriage because of his criminal actions, he should have lost his badge and his job too, if not sent to jail.
Until the police complaint system is overhauled, and pro-police biased judges are removed from the process, justice is just a catchphrase for unfair, and worthy of nothing but ridicule.

Gerry Young, Toronto


  1. This is outrageous. Assault ...with a weapon ...causing grievous bodily harm and the crime committed by a police officer who winds up with probation and a 5-day forfeiture of pay. If that's the way it is going to work in Toronto, no one there is safe.

    1. Ever since the police brutality of the Toronto G20 Summit, Mound, I have had a jaundiced view of the Toronto police. This outrage does nothing to change that.

  2. And in another example of the elite's forgetfulness, Blair, this man's police chief at the time and fundamentally responsible for his behaviour, now sits as a new Liberal MP. No doubt he also resents the provincial government's new rules on carding and will offer the new chief advice on how to thwart the regulations. After all, suited-up heavily-armed thugs masquerading as policemen with attitude need to be respected at all times, or it hurts their self-image, doncha know. And sends them into depression when they get found out breaking rules. Poor little macho man.

    1. Although Blair suffered no direct repercussions for the G20 debacle, Anon, I like to think that his exclusion from the new government's cabinet is at least a form of karma for his misdeeds.

  3. The rest of us slugs look the wrong way at a boss or get reported for murmuring about safety problems and we're on the first layoff or, more often than not, corralled in an immediate or periodic roundup.

    Five days’ pay: what a hardship. After chalking up their shares of the billion that Harper dispersed to them for taking part in this farce, our brothers in the police associations must be laughing their heads off. These guys have been living in a cocoon so long that it's long past time that they were introduced to the precarity of livelihood that they've been so intent on helping to ensure is delivered to the rest of us.

    The verdict is that the judge and this guy's superior officers approve of his conduct. Period to that.

    I'll bet that now that his name has spent some time up front, Const. Babak Andalib-Goortani will be closely observed both during and after his "probation", for indications of behavioural corrections that will confirm the success of remedial action and, before you can say "Adam Nobody", he'll have jumped over a dozen other guys on the merit list.

    1. Justice in today's world often proves elusive, John. In my past life as a teacher, I often saw those with little integrity or talent rising through the administrative ranks, only to reach positions where they able to make front-line workers' lives more difficult thanks to their ineptitude.
      No doubt that is a very real possibility for Andalib-Goortan who, according to the tribunal judge, has suffered more than his fair share of adversity. Adversity, as we know, often helps shape character, eh?