The man who Paul Martin hand-picked to bring down his own government, Justice John Gomery, has chosen to become the voice of the Judiciary in Canada against PM Stephen Harper’s new crime bill. Retired since August, Gomery obviously feels free to speak his mind – and, in his opinion, the mind of most of Canada’s judges – regarding the increased use of mandatory minimum sentences in Conservative legislation. From Richard Foot, CanWest News Service, “Judges resent ‘implied criticism’ of minimum sentences: Gomery” :
“This legislation basically shows a mistrust of the judiciary to impose proper sentences when people come before them,” says Gomery.
Yes, sir, that would be correct. Judges have been shown time-and-time-again to go out of their way to avoid penalizing criminals – particularly the louses involved in the despicable Restorative Justice movement.
“Judges view this kind of legislation as a slap in the face.”
And a well-deserved one, at that.
Gomery, who retired from the Quebec Superior Court after wrapping up the sponsorship inquiry in 2006, says judges are unhappy about this and other legislation that suggest a failure on their part to impose proper sentences.
“Judges find that it’s an implied criticism when Parliament imposes mandatory sentences,” Gomery says. “It leaves the impression that judges aren’t using their discretion wisely or in accordance with the wishes of the legislature. And judges are resentful about that.”
How, exactly, does a man with such a weak grasp of elementary logic become a respected Judge? Sir: laws are made by the legislature. Judges must implement those laws. If judges won’t implement those laws by applying reasonable penalties, then the legislature MUST mandate specific sentences.
But wait…a speck of logic creeps in…
Gomery admits that mandatory sentences will relieve judges from what he calls the “agonizing” task of choosing an appropriate sentence.
“Most judges who sit on criminal matters would say sentencing is the hardest part of their job,” he says. “But if Parliament has said, ‘You’ve got to give this guy five years,’ then you shrug your shoulders and obey the law and sentence them, even if you feel it’s unnecessarily harsh.
Now we’ve gotten somewhere. Way to go, Gomery, you’re absolutely right! IT’S NOT FOR YOU TO DECIDE WHETHER A LEGISLATED PENALTY IS TOO HARSH! Congratulations, John. Uh oh…he concludes:
“Still, my own personal view is that it’s a mistake to take away discretion from judges,” says Gomery.
In other words: Judges know it’s wrong, but want to retain the right to override legislation at their every whim anyway.