My 2 Sense My 2 Sense

My 2 Sense

Dufus of the Week

Without Prejudice - March 20, 2012
Catherine CarlsonProvincial Court Judge Catherine Carlson

Judge gives pedophile, Graham James, a slap on the wrist.

Manitoba Provincial Court Judge hasn't the faintest understanding of sexual abuse.

Two years in jail is not nearly enough for the crimes of Graham James. The trial judge, our justice system and the idiots we elect to Parliament simply do not grasp the magnitude of these crimes.

Mr. James, a junior hockey coach, sexually assaulted and raped two teenage boys, Theoren Fleury and Todd Holt, who looked to him as a mentor. He committed hundreds of sexual attacks on each one.

These crimes need a sentencing approach that recognizes the difference between one or two sexual assaults and the hundreds that Mr. Holt and Mr. Fleury endured. This was, truly, the worst of the worst, and deserved even more than the six years requested by the Crown.

The two teen victims barely survived – Mr. Fleury, who became a National Hockey League star, would one day put a gun in his mouth. The other, Todd Holt, said, “There are no words to describe the depths of suffering.” It really doesn't matter that no weapons were used, and no physical beatings occurred. Such was his expertise as a predator that he didn't need them.

The defence asked for house arrest, not jail, arguing that the crimes occurred in the 80s and 90s, and that Mr. James is no longer a danger to society. Whether he is a continuing threat or not, his behaviour needs to be denounced to express society's revulsion and pain at the victimization of the vulnerable, and at the abuse of trust.

Provincial Court Judge Catherine Carlson spoke of that abuse, of degradation, of the total control exercised by Mr. James, but then gave him credit for an expression of remorse, an apology, the “extreme degree of humiliation” he experienced and his willingness to come back from Mexico without an extradition hearing.

Graham James
Graham James
Graham James
Graham James

He deserved no such credit. He did not voluntarily own up to these crimes. He came forward when the victims laid charges, and the world closed in on him. This sentence can only feed the stereotypical notion on which the Conservative tough-on-crime agenda depends, that judges, left to their own devices, won't stand up to serious crime.

As Manitoba provincial court Judge Catherine Carlson said Tuesday as she passed sentence on former junior hockey coach Graham James for his prolonged sexual attacks on former National Hockey League star Theo Fleury and his cousin Todd Holt, “There is no sentence this court can impose that will give back to Mr. Holt and Mr. Fleury that which was taken by Mr. James.”

True that, but wouldn't it be nice if just once in a while, a judge gave it a whirl?

Carlson sent James back to jail for a whopping two years, but of course, like all inmates, he'll be eligible for passes and day parole after serving six months and full parole after eight months, or a third of his sentence.

Graham James' two-year sentence for sexual assault drew outrage from his victims and the public on Tuesday, even as legal experts suggested the seemingly light sentence is the norm in Canadian courts. It's not unusual for convicted sex offenders to receive sentences that seem far too lenient considering the pain and suffering endured by their victims, said University of British Columbia law professor Janine Benedet. “I think [the public] has a misperception about what the standard sentence is for sexual assault — it's actually quite low, compared to some other serious criminal offences in Canada,” she said.

Personal Note: I try to write this blog with some sense of irony and humour but there is nothing funny about child sexual abuse. These monsters should be put away for the rest of their lives. Period. I can think of worse things to do to them, but most importantly we must protect other children from these assholes. And Judge Carlson, you need to resign from the bench and get some sensitivity training because you haven't a fucking clue.

A letter to the Honourable Greg Selinger, Premier of the Province of Manitoba

Dear Sir; I respectfully ask that you remove Provincial Court Judge Catherine Carlson from the bench.

Her sentence of Graham James clearly indicates that she has absolutely NO understanding of the severity of child sexual abuse and the damage it does to the individuals in question and to society at large. This man deserves to be put away for the rest of his life, and Judge Carlson needs to get some sensitivity training while looking for a new job.

Courtney Smith

Email Premier Selinger yourself
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