As I write this blog, I am awaiting the final statements from the Judge Vaillancourt in the Senator Mike Duffy trial. Are you?
My reflection (for what it’s worth!) on the Duffy Trial and the Jian Ghomeshi trial are that both trials are about privilege and use of that privilege. Both situations went to a criminal trial, and from what I can see the criminality of either Mr. Ghomeshi or Senator Duffy will fail the criminal measurement. That is, that the case cannot be proven in a court of law. Does that mean that the assumption that there is nothing wrong with the actions of Mr. Ghomeshi or Senator Duffy is correct? Are they innocent?
In the Ghomeshi trial, much has been made of the fact that the complainants were unreliable witnesses and were not believed. Therefore the case could not be proved and Mr. Ghomeshi was acquitted. However, there has been a great deal of opinion and commentary that suggests that the criminal court system did not respond properly to the stress and struggles of the complainants, and so the true story could not be properly told. Those who would critique the legality issues might say that is not relevant. The upshot of that trial is that while Mr. Ghomeshi was acquitted, there are many in the public sphere who are not convinced he is innocent. The privilege of being a male perpetrator in a sexual assault case may have benefitted from the ways in which criminal trials are required to be held. The losers might in fact be those women who are sexually assaulted who may not proceed with a criminal charge knowing the difficulties they would face.
In the Senator Duffy trial,, it seems as though criminality is equally hard to prove, given all the interpretations of vague Senate directions and rules. Does that mean that the Senator is innocent and that what he did was the right thing? Regardless of the ruling by Judge Vaillancourt, there are those who would say Senator Duffy was wrong is what he did, and that he should have known better. If he had done that perhaps there would be no need for a criminal trial in the first place. For my part, although I believe that Senator Duffy manipulated the vague rules, he was not the only guilty one here. Certainly the government of the day, the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister’s Office had much to do with this smelly criminal trial. Who are the losers here? I believe that the Canadian citizens are true losers – in that all these extraordinarily wasteful costs are paid for by Canadian taxpayers for the personal benefit of a small group of people. The true losers are also those who are cynical of people in public office. The actions of Senator Duffy and the government of Canada have added to the general mistrust of the Canadian electorate. T’is a great pity.
Have a good weekend. See you Sunday. Rev. Boyd