Date: 2020 May 4
Life has certainly changed since my last post. I found it difficult to write a blog during the initial craze of the situation that gripped the world. However as the flood of information seems to have reached a plateau, I find the desire to blog again. While there are many topics blog worthy, I find myself drawn to a couple predominate themes that fit well with my novels.
Before I get into that I wanted to acknowledge and thank Indigo Barrie for hosting the APOK Derailed book tour 2 days before lockdown. While the overall numbers were low in the store, I had the opportunity to meet with many APOK fans. Since that time I received two much appreciated emails.
The one came from Erin Beleny; “Amazing book” indeed… I love it!!… I can’t wait for book number 3!!… I would not mind in the least if you posted my message on your website!… We need to spread the word about our local authors, because there is so much talent in this country that people don’t know about… You can definitely quote me!”
The second one came from Mark Pritchard; “After reading APOK I waited with much anticipation for the release of APOK Derailed. It did not disappoint, a suspenseful action packed page turner from beginning to end… it’s an awesome thriller in the battle between the forces of good and evil. Michael Walton is a much needed Canadian author who writes with both passion and suspense. I can’t wait for the sequel.”
Thank you Erin and Mark for taking the time to buy and read my work but also for taking the time to reach out. I won’t disappoint you with the third novel.
On a side note, with the cancellation of my book tour, I’ve been using that extra time to work on APOK III. Hopefully the wait for this one won’t be long.
Over the course of the next little while I will run a series of blogs dealing with serious issues. Not everyone is going to like what I have to say. Feel free to disagree with me and comment if you like. I don’t have all the answers but after 20 years as a Police Officer having investigated crimes across a wide range of levels, these are my opinions and they may shed light on things not normally seen.
There is a serious mistrust of elected officials … current poles taken in the last 3 years on both sides of the border have identified that nurses rank as the most trustworthy occupation while politicians are either last or near the bottom. Why such a difference? I believe everyone has their own opinion on this fact, however I believe that the proof is in their actions.
Nurses explain to you what they are doing to help you and do it, there is no hidden agenda, no tip for a job well done, they do it because they want to. A great many Politicians talk the talk but seldom walk the walk. In recent times information has bubbled to the top that reveal their real motivation and actions are self centered, if any action is taken at all.
So how do we move forward as a society if these are our common beliefs? If we know or believe that our politicians are liars, what is stopping us from creating a society with the right system, right leaders? While there are many reasons, I believe it started a long time ago with the laws that govern us… Laws, Laws and Lies…
LAWS, LAWS and LIES
Laws, it’s what keeps us on the same page isn’t it? The laws that were designed to bind us together are now tearing us apart. Laws were at one time a general moral code that everyone agreed should be obeyed. Over my lifetime alone, I have seen the law applied to the same situation in different ways. I find it frustrating to say the least to see the same set of circumstances resulting in one person being found guilty and one innocent. It makes no sense right, or am I alone here? I believe this plays a massive part in our trust and belief in our society leaders, or lack thereof.
Laws were designed to be understood by society… common sense… common law… not just for lawyers… after all, laws are designed to keep society in check… How does society stay in check if they don’t understand or agree with the laws put in place to govern them? For centuries societies across the globe have agreed on certain laws… do not steal… do not murder and others. Clear understandable rules, do it and you’ve committed the crime, get caught and do the time. Fortunately most people don’t see the inside of a courtroom, however I think everyone should if only as a spectator to understand my next comment. One major reason why our society is so messed up is; we live in an age and society that endorses LEGALIZED CORRUPTION.
There are many aspects and levels to “LEGALIZED CORRUPTION”, but let me start with one I know all too well. Currently the Criminal Justice system is an adversary system, meaning it’s a game, one fighting the other, where the rules are applied differently. From the start one is favored to win and the other has all the obstacles – imagine playing a sport where the referee only penalizes one team while the other team has free reign – it wouldn’t take long for those being overly law-ed to lose hope. It has been described to me by prominent lawyers as theatrics. Recently at court I overheard a lawyer coaching his clients in the open hallway outside the courtroom on how they are going to testify and laughed at the end saying that they are going to win an Oscar for their performance. Yes, this really happened!
Is murder illegal? Everyone knows the answer is yes, yet the system allows for a lawyer to argue their client’s innocence regardless if there is video evidence to prove it (Regina vs. Karla HOMOLKA). Regardless if the lawyer is successful or not, it is by definition and by all normal people standards; it is CORRUPT to attempt to convince the court or anyone that the person is “Not Guilty” because of a technicality that may or may not exist but is an argument in law. I don’t think I need to highlight the countless political corruption cases that have come to light and have seen many walk away unscathed because of an argument in law. In lies the problem.
It almost becomes like a game of hot potato, everyone becomes involved and no one wants to get caught with it and if you do get caught with it, don’t fear, just hire someone to argue that you didn’t. The question when caught is, can I hire the most right (expensive) lawyer to convince the others that I wasn’t holding the potato? Zealous lawyers seeking to make a name for themselves and a lot of money continually push the boundaries and make headlines with crazy stories of setting guilty people free. Word of this spreads and now anyone found committing something wrong feels entitled to fight against conviction, “Why should I go down for drunk driving when Michael Walton got away with murder.” The courts are now inundated with cases regardless of the evidence which causes backlog, delay and wastes court time and tax dollars. The Criminal Justice system has become an industry, pushed forward by those profiting off the delays… where is the motivation by lawyers or the criminals to move faster? The courts were designed to find the truth not as a stage where guilty persons play the system.
Currently even if we elected someone of good moral character to get tough on crime, lawyers will use existing laws to fight it and have successfully done so upsetting laws imposed by elected officials. It’s through these near endless hoops and loops that people lose hope and lose interest. Why even try, nothing is going to change? This figure is represented well in both Canadian and America, voter turnout at roughly sixty percent. Just over half of the population is selecting the leader who will govern the one hundred.
Although I have been known to enjoy a good bitch session, let’s take a proactive approach and toss around solutions. Here are a couple to start with;
The only way to clean up society is through revamping the way the system works and remove the notion of entitlement to get off on technicalities. It’s a two part system.
FIRST – Eliminate the adversarial system. This is an outdated and corrupt system that leads to further corruption. Lawyers are intended to be officers of the court, how can society support the idea of an officer of the court when they act and behave corruptly? We need to move towards a truth seeking system (France has more of a truth seeking system where the Judge is actually involved in the investigation seeking the truth not convictions). This would establish faith in the profession of lawyers and the legal system and eliminate the backlog and waste on stretched government resources. Criminals will know that court isn’t a game and if guilty, realize that it is far better to step up and accept responsibility then delay the process and receive a harsher sentence because of it.
SECOND – If Police have evidentiary technicalities there needs to be court to deal with that on its own (currently if the court deems that police have broken the rules of evidence collection or there is another technical issue the criminal goes free). By addressing individual Police Officers for these situations regardless how minor, we produce better Police Officers, and build public confidence as we remove the idea that criminals can get off a charge because of a technicality or a theory of a technical breach. (if interested read a technical example of mine below).
There would be no doubt growing pains in revamping the system but if we are going to continue to exist we need to generate a society that treats people fairly, and build public trust that the system works, without it, we are susceptible to anarchy – a state of disorder due to absence or non-recognition of authority.
Very, very early in my career I stopped a car for drinking and driving. I had a roadside alcohol screening device (breathalyzer) that I tested and demonstrated to the person under investigation. For anyone who hasn’t provided a breath sample in one of these machines, it’s similar to blowing in a straw and making bubbles in your drink; extremely easy. The person kept playing with the machine and I gave them warning after warning if they didn’t provide a sample that they would be charged with REFUSE, which carries the same penalties as IMPAIRED. Needless to say they were charged with REFUSE.
While filling out the paperwork to charge them, the man told me that they owned a store and if I didn’t charge him, I would be treated like royalty and could have anything I want (BRIBE). I refused and completed the paperwork. When releasing the person, I was letting him out of the back of the car when he saw his Driver’s License on the dash of my car. They jumped through my open police car door window and tried to grab their Driver’s License. I wrestled with his lower half of his body until I pulled him completely from the car. I arrested them this time for OBSTRUCT. After settling the situation, I let the person go charged only with REFUSE, giving him a break on BRIBE and OSTRUCT (I was young and inexperienced – to be honest I think this was one of my first solo arrests).
To my surprise, he fought the charge and during the court procedure, I advised the court (Judge) in great detail the information above. The Crown Prosecutor asked me about the machine that I used for the Breath Test. I explained that the device was a DRAGER 7410 Alcotest machine provided to me by the Police Service for use. I explained how I demonstrated to the person several times how to provide a sample, and they wouldn’t do it properly. The Crown Prosecutor asked me several times what machine I used, and I repeated, a DRAGER 7410 Alcotest. The case was thrown out having not provided the necessary evidence and the Judge warned the person charged never to do this again. Afterwards I asked the Crown Prosecutor what happened, and I was told that I was supposed to say, DRAGER 7410 Alcotest GLC. Yes, the only part missing was me verbalizing three letters, G L C.
This is a simply example of how technical things can be in court.
Until next time,