The pinnacle of B.C.'s judicial court system, our Court of Appeal, has seen fit to increase the sentence of Vancouver's Warren Robert Allen. He was convicted and sentenced last January for distribution of child pornography and the raping of a child.
An increase to 60 months is a more suitable punishment and towards the middle of what is allowed for heinous behaviour of this sort. Certainly it is better than the egregious 39 months originally given. But this felon is dead, having killed himself last July.
With almost 100 per cent certainty, Mr. Allen is, at best, ambivalent towards serving this increased incarceration or more likely amused.
The Criminal Code of Canada (CCC) sets out the purposes of sentencing as: Denunciation, Deterrence, Separation of Offenders, Rehabilitation, Reparation and the Promotion of Responsibility.
So what point or purpose is being made by these legally trained minds on B.C.'s Court of Appeals? Postmortem sentencing would seem unlikely to satisfy the public nor the intent of the black letter law, within the CCC.
Perhaps this is a new definition for what constitutes "dead time," or how postmortem sentencing can be real, as it would be cost effective? Certainly it could be a harbinger of our judges being moved towards a new era of getting tough on criminals. We can only hope.
Short of the outright gerrymandering of justice, nothing brings B.C.'s courts nearer to the pinnacle of public disrepute than the current "milque toast" sentencing practices.
This is followed by the chronic wasting of expensive court time, a total lack of real judicial accountability, and their hypocritical and condescending attitude towards the general public, as being incapable of understanding crime and punishment.
One solution to this real or perceived pampering of the guilty would be to remove sentencing altogether from the judges. This would leave the bench to concern itself with the law, determination of fact and court procedure.
Simultaneously at trial a three-person sentencing jury would, by majority vote, determine and set sentencing as prescribed within the criminal code of Canada.
This would result in a fairer balance in meeting the public's needs and expectations, the victim's and family's needs and expectations to say nothing of holding the convicted accountable and responsible.
H. Doug Stead Coquitlam