Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Justice denied in Graham James case
By definition, a judge is a public officer or magistrate charged with the administration of justice, based on a careful weighing of evidence and testing of premises. Presumably, anyone appointed to the bench is elevated based on courtroom experience, wisdom and an acquired understanding of what constitutes justice.
So how does that explain Catherine Carlson, the Manitoba provincial court judge who sentenced former junior hockey coach Graham James to two years in prison for sexually abusing players in his charge in the 1980s and 90s? That's an even bigger joke than the three-and-a-half years James was sentenced to 15 years ago for similar assaults on other players.
Carlson attempted to justify her leniency in part by noting that James had suffered extreme public scrutiny and humiliation for a prolonged period of time, and that he had made strides in learning to cope with his sexual deviancy. Well, huzzah for him. His victims should be so lucky in their recovery and rehabilitation, which we can only assume requires a significantly longer time period than two years, and doesn't include the benefit of day passes or early parole from the ongoing emotional torment of a ruthless betrayal by a trusted authority figure.
In presiding over a high profile case involving a societal scourge that requires a much heavier hand than the justice system has traditionally been willing to wield, Judge Catherine Carlson had an opportunity to send a clear message, and she did exactly that. Unfortunately, her message to pedophiles was "business as usual - carry on."