Reflections, Observations, and Analyses Pertaining to the Canadian Political Scene
I'd say justice was served. Under s. 239(1)(a.1), the minimum he could have been given is 4 years. Since Forcillo is a first offender and a cop, I'm amazed the judge went higher. The defence was asking for 2 years house arrest, the Crown wanted 8 to 10 in the pen. The judge sawed off closer to the Crown's position underlining his view, and mine, that this was “an egregious breach of trust.”
Thanks for your perspective, Anon. I guess the next question to consider is whether or not he should be given bail while an appeal is pending. On this, I am of the opinion that he should begin serving his sentence right away, and I do wonder whether an appeal would have any legal merit or basis.
To get bail, Forcillo needs to establish that there's some chance he'll succeed on appeal. So we should hear shortly whether a judge thinks his appeal may have merit.Much to the annoyance of Harper and his supporters, courts have struck down a number of mandatory minimums in recent years when the crime committed and the circumstances of the offender lead to a grossly disproportionate sentence being imposed. In Forcillo's case, I doubt a court would find the 4-year minimum is grossly disproportionate when the trial judge gave him 6 years. An appeal court normally defers to the trial judge who's heard all the evidence, and Justice Then is a respected senior judge. But the law allows the court to consider other hypothetical situations where the minimum sentence may be disproportionate. Depending on the creativity of his lawyers, Forcillo may succeed there. We'll see.
Thanks for the input, Anon. As you suggest, it is difficult to know the basis of an appeal. Anyone can launch one, I guess, but that fact alone should not influence whether bail should be granted. In my opinion, the sooner he starts serving his sentence, the sooner justice, after a fashion, can be served.
Is it justice? No. That much was clear when Forcillo was acquitted on the murder charge. This verdict on the attempted murder conviction is a poor substitute for the 25-year term Forcillo so plainly deserved. The entire reasoning was convoluted, nonsensical - the initial volley was justified, the second volley wasn't.Does that mean, had there been no 5-second pause in the barrage, that Forcillo would have been justified in slaughtering Yatim?This is something of a "no harm, no foul" approach to the murder charge. We all viewed the videos that presented the execution from two vantages. Yatim never set foot in the bus stairwell. Without that, on what conceivable basis could Forcillo claim he reasonably feared for his life, justifying the first shots?On what basis does he get to shoot Yatim more than once when his target went down with the first round, never to rise again? Are the rest of the rounds of the first volley some sort of judicial freebie?If Yatim didn't rush Forcillo, as the videos clearly show, were his taunts some sort of justification for the use of lethal force?The theory that the second volley following the 5-second pause constituted attempted murder is ridiculous. It is to conclude that Forcillo didn't intend to murder Yatim from the outset but formed that intent only in respect of the final rounds. He intended only to neutralize a threat at the outset and only halfway through did he develop a murderous intent. However, as the first volley inflicted mortal wounds, the second volley was essentially redundant to the death of Yatim. On what basis can anyone conclude the subsequent shots did not contribute materially to Yatim's death?How to explain this? Had the case been heard by judge alone I think a conviction would have been entered on the murder charge. The jury, in effect, fucked up. My take is that they got hopelessly confused by the legal theories which are, in fairness, somewhat intricate.Surely if Forcillo was capable of attempting to murder the mortally wounded Yatim he must have been capable of actually murdering the mortally wounded Yatim. If any of those final five rounds that constituted the second volley accelerated Yatim's moment of death that is enough. It's the "coup de grace" scenario.Would this have been allowed on a battlefield? No. Attitudes have changed due to advances in emergency medicine. Medics (in civilian life, paramedics) are able to keep severely wounded people alive long enough for them to make it to surgery. Remember that Canadian officer in Afghanistan who dispatched a mortally wounded Taliban fighter to put him out of his misery?No, the whole business was horribly botched. The only consolation is that Yatim's family apparently is satisfied with the sentence.
Thanks for the legal perspective, Mound. I, too, never understood the attempted murder conviction, but I guess some would say the fact that he got convicted at all is a major step forward. I heard on the news that over the years that there have been about 13 police officers charged with murder in Ontario, and all were found not guilty. Perhaps the jury felt that this conviction for attempted murder was the only reasonable way for Forcillo to pay even a small amount for his execution of Yatim.
How do you pay for a life? I'm glad I don't have to sentence anyone. I don't have a life where I am likely to be responsible for someone's life, but I am also kind of hyper-responsible in general. If I somehow killed someone I'm pretty sure it would destroy me. The guilt and sorrow would surely overwhelm me. I wonder if Forcillo feels those things?
I don't know what Forcillo feels, Karen, but he has affected a stoic visage throughout his trial. I do know that his testimony at the trial was self-serving and, as the judge said, at variance with the video footage of the execution. And parenthetically, I think we all know that there would have been no charge had that compelling video not existed. The 'blue wall' would have been erected to conceal the truth of what had happened.
And I've still heard nothing on the other Toronto police killing of the man phoning his mother after he ran into a "ravine", whatever that constitutes in urban TO. March 22 I think.Now we have two dipshits of out-of-control policemen in Ottawa who beat a man to death in front of multiple witnesses this week. The Ottawa police chief made stupid excuses, the police union guy was obviously a student of Himmler. I've never heard such overt rubbish and self-serving excuses for inexplicably murderous behaviour.BM
The man killed in the ravine, BM, was Alex Wettlaufer, who I posted about earlier in the year. (https://politicsanditsdiscontents.blogspot.ca/search/label/alex%20wettlaufer)the fact that it might take up to one year for the SIU to complete its investigation I find totally unacceptable, given that the current rules forbid any public comment by police or the SIU until it is complete. As I noted in one of my posts about him, there is an allegation by an anonymous source that his family is being re-victimized by the police in order to intimidate them into silence. Whether this is true I cannot say, but I tried to interest both the Toronto Star and Canadaland into looking into it, to no avail.The situation in Ottawa is especially disturbing. Dr Dawg wrote an interesting post on it recently: http://drdawgsblawg.ca/2016/07/to-serve-and-protect-in-ottawa.shtml
It seems to me that we are getting no where on ensuring fairness in the justice system as it relates to law enforcement agents. In my opinion they should be held to a higher standard, and yet they are obviously held to a lower one and it is almost universally assumed that they are acting in good faith when they commit violence. For a start we need a police investigative body that is run and administered by community members not political hacks and other police officers. We need entirely different kinds of hiring practices for the police as well as totally revamped training programs. We need community police officers who don't carry guns as a matter of course. We need a lot of changes, and the sad thing is that none of them are even on the political radar at the moment.
I have often thought, Kirby, that the reason, at least here in Ontario, that needed reform does not take place is the power of the police lobby. it is well-known, for example, that at trials involving police officers, the blue brotherhood packs the courtroom, as if to intimidate both the officers of the court and even the judge. In the realm of politics I think they exert even more influence. Otherwise, I am at a loss to explain why, for example, the government does not amend the law to allow police chiefs to suspend without pay police who are charged with serious crimes. In the area where I live, some of them have suspended with pay for years, 'ragging the puck' to delay trials and police service hearings. Many have accrued salaries in the interim of over $500,000.Justice has fallen into steady disrepute these past many years, but all our politicians seem to fear is the power of the police lobby and the chance that they might impair their re-election chances. It is unfortunate that expedience over integrity is the prevailing ethos of far to many of our 'leaders.'