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Miscarriages Of Justice: The Faults In The Canadian Criminal Justice System

1258 words - 6 pages

The Canadian Criminal Justice System is a system that is rooted in fairness, justice, and equality. It does not discriminate against religion, sex, or race, and it is governed by the rule of equity. All this would suggest that the Canadian Criminal Justice System is one that Canadians can have faith in, knowing that the system will protect everyone: society from the criminals, and innocent people from wrongful incarceration. It is interesting, then, that Canadians actually have quite little faith in the system; a study done by Ipsos-Reid for Justice Canada revealed that “only 17 per cent of respondents had high confidence, while 61 per cent had moderate faith and 22 per cent had low ...view middle of the document...

With no evidence, the Crown’s case was purely circumstantial; Truscott even had an alibi: he dropped Lynne Harper off after seven o’clock, arrived at his school before eight o’clock, and biked home at eight-thirty for babysitting duties. He would not have even had enough time to kill the young girl. Once the facts of this case are understood, it becomes very difficult for one to justify this wrongful conviction of a 14 year old boy, a boy who spent ten years in prison, and was even sentenced to death initially; however, the sentence was later changed to life in prison. While Truscott was awarded over ten million dollars for this wrongdoing, can any amount of money really vindicate ten years of imprisonment for a young boy, surrounded by tough criminals?
Another case that shocks Canadians even to this day, is the Coffin case. Once again, an innocent man was wrongfully convicted on little evidence; this time, though, the accused was executed. Wilbert Coffin was accused of murdering three American hunters on vacation in Quebec. Like in the Truscott case, the Crown’s evidence was circumstantial. The only proof they had, was of theft – Coffin stole a gas pump and binoculars from the men when he thought the Americans stood him up for a dinner in the bush. Coffin was poorly defended; his defense lawyer did not call any defense witnesses, and he did not let Coffin tell his story. In cases like these, the faults of the Criminal Justice System become apparent: your life is intrusted to another person, and if you want to be defended in the best possible way, you have to pay for it. Without a defense, it was easy for Coffin to lose; he was sentenced to be hanged. He was not given any appeals, as even the Supreme Court of Canada believed he had a fair trial. Shortly before he was to be executed, new evidence appeared that proved his innocence, but nothing could be done about it, as the Supreme Court already deemed his trial to have been fair – the new evidence could not even be heard. Wilbert Coffin was hung and died for a crime he did not commit; where was the system to help him, to protect him?
While the system has been proved to have its faults through cases where innocent people are convicted for another person’s crime, there are also cases where guilty people are able to get away with murder –literally¬– due to technicalities. One such case is the case of Karla Homolka, Paul Bernardo’s wife and accomplice to the rape and murder of young, female victims. The only reason she was able to get away with...

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