Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Violent Pedophiles and the Attorney General

Robert W.G. Gillen

Assistant Deputy Attorney General

Criminal Justice Branch

Dear Mr. Gillen,

Re: your letter to Mel Galea:

You assure Mr. Galea and others that the way in which Mr. Brundrett advised the Court on my sentence appeal was right and proper. You insist that by Mr. Brundrett's use of the cases of two violent pedophile sex offenders in comparison to my sentence for blockading at Eagleridge Bluffs was not at all meant to equate me with these two debased men with diseased minds.

I take umbrage with your protestations of innocent intent, but first, I am sure you will agree there are two kinds of law; statute law (Criminal Code) and case law (what other judges have decided on like cases). We also need to explain to others who may not know that on sentence appeal, the Appeal Court can adjust a sentence up or down, so there is always a risk of a greater sentence when appealing an original sentence.

And as you know very well, Mr. Gillen, but others might not, materials that are to be considered by the judges (three judges) on appeal are submitted in advance in writing before the actual court hearing. And because I brought the appeal I had to submit a Factum, that is, my reason for appealing, and it was per court rules; in writing. Again Mr. Gillen, as I am sure you know, but others might not, This Factum is extremely important as it is the primary information submitted by me upon which the judges will make a decision. After receiving a copy of my Factum, Mr. Brundrett then submitted to the Court his Responses to my Factum and his recommendations that the Court should follow in case the Court decides to give me additional time. And of course, Mr. Brundrett's written response to my Factum was the most important material the Court would see from the Crown's side.

And while it is true that Mr. Brundrett did not verbally say in Court that he thought I should be sentenced to life imprisonment or given a twenty-five year sentence like the violent pedophile cases he brought forth for comparison, he said it through Case Law. That is, in his written submissions to the Court which carries most weight ,Mr. Brundrett, by his submissions and comparisons, signalled to the Appeals Court that the Attorney General's office thought I should be given life imprisonment.

And the case that Mr. Brundrett emphasized in his submissions is as follows: In Regina v. M. (C.A.) , J.A. Jessup expressing the sentencing principal in Hill, at p. 147: " When an accused has been convicted of a serious crime in itself calling for a substantial sentence and when he suffers from some mental or personality disorder rendering him a danger to the community but not subject to confinement in a mental institution and when it is uncertain when, if ever, the accused will be cured of his affliction, in my opinion the appropriate sentence is one of life." And Mr. Brundrett emphasized the words "the appropriate sentence is one of life" by underlining them.

By emphasizing this section of Case Law Mr. Brundrett has accomplished two things: (a) he has equated my mens rea (my mind) with those of these debased men and (b) has attempted to anchor in the judge's minds the notion that I have committed like crimes (after all, repeated infractions of the law) and should therefore be similarly sentenced. If this were not so, why would Mr. Brundrett have submitted these two horrible cases as comparable to my own? And according to Madam Justice Brown in sentence of me (Page 2 of Madam Justice Brown's Oral Reason for Sentence [3]; ..."A sentence should be similar to sentences imposed on similar offenders in similar circumstances."

Mr. Gillen, I am not a similar offender nor am I, or was I, in similar circumstances as these two debased violent pedophiles presented to the court by your office and I am highly offended that you and Mr. Brundrett seem to think I am. Protest as you please, the case law that was submitted by your office to guide the Court in considering my appeal case is conniving and cowardly. Perhaps it reflects the attitude of the Attorney General's office only too well. Sincerely yours,Betty Krawczyk

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The way the Court system works is a mystery to most people including me. It's the language, for one thing. It's in a special code. The biggest problem I have encountered is simply trying to break the code. Even after all these years of being hammered by legal language I am still puzzled by most of it but what I do understand, or think I do, I will pass along to you.

First, I asked the Court in my written factum, which must be submitted to the Court before the day of the hearing, that I be given a new trial with a jury. The Crown (Mike Brundrett who represents the Attorney General of BC) asked in his written response to my factum, by using case law (what other judges have decided in other cases) that the Court should consider that I be declared a dangerous habitual offender and given life. This was evidenced by Mr. Brundrett in his written response by using two cases of violent pedophiles who attacked their own children repeatedly. By this Mr. Brundrett accomplished two things:
(a) he associated my name and person with violent, debased men in the hopes of anchoring this message in the judges' heads
(b) he brought to the court's attention that I had repeatedly broken other judges' orders- which is what an injunctions is and which no judge likes to hear about.

I based my argument on two main things:
(a) that a summary process (which mine was) is defined in the Criminal Code as sentencing that does not exceed six months. I was given ten.
(b) when Madam Justice Brown ruled on my application that she would not allow for a jury trial, she was not considering sentencing me to over five years (which is the time frame for being eligible to apply for a jury trial) and yet the Crown came back on appeal and recommended to the Court, through case law, that I should be sentenced to life in prison. Only in his written words to the judges did Mike Brundrett recommend this and, sneakily, only in his written responses to the Court did he propose that I should be given life. And to make sure the appeal judges didn't miss his message, he emphasized "should be given life".

The appeal judges have reserved their decision. Of course I am hoping for a new trial with a jury, but failing that, it would be heartfelt hopeful if they gave me enough room in their decisions to take it to the Supreme Court of Canada. If they did, I would walk to Ottawa. I think...

In any case, I will be sure to let you know.

In the mean time, you can listen to my interview with the Current on the CBC regarding the appeal arguments:

Betty K

Thursday, October 07, 2010

What The Women In Prison Said

What The Women in Prison Said
Having spent a considerable amount of time in British Columbia’s jails and prison over eco-disputes (my objection to the rapid deforestation of this province) I have always listened to any conversation going on around me with the ear of a journalist (that’s what I am, in addition to being an activist). As the women prisoners accepted me as a criminal (after all, that’s what the Attorney General said I was), the inmates spoke freely before me. And I didn’t flinch from these women’s stories of child rape and family abuse, poverty, addictions, pimps, violence, gangs, and the means they employed to survive, as they were truth telling as they had experienced it. And at age 82 I am reasonably shock proof. Except one story I heard over and over from many different women, stories repeated endlessly in the prison compound and prison yard. It was about the Pickton farm and the murdered women.
At first I didn’t believe these stories, stories that went above and beyond the fact that an insane man had killed sex trade workers and fed them to his pigs. But the reasons behind this as described by the women, were simply too ghastly to be true. I dismissed the stories completely. The police, the RCMP, the provincial government just could not allow such things to happen as these stories suggested, the ones circulating in prison, especially in a civilized country and province like British Columbia. There just simply could not be any elevation of degradation beyond killing women and feeding their bodies to pigs. Even when a jury convicted Pickten of second degree murder because, as I understood it, they believed other people must have been involved, I did not want to give credence to these inmate’s stories. But lately, I’m not so sure. And these doubts have been prompted, by of all things, an article in the Times Colonist.
Sept. 29, Pickton inquiry already off track
“Former attorney general Wally Oppal is the wrong choice to head the Pickten inquiry. Its credibility has been dealt a serious blow before the work even begins.”
And the article goes on to point out that Oppal’s appointment creates a perception of bias and conflict of interest. As former attorney general he sat at the cabinet table and discussed policy issues that could well be part of the inquiry’s focus. And he defended the Liberal government’s position on policing and other relevant issues. When he was Attorney General he tried to keep evidence from an inquiry into the death of Frank Paul, a native man dumped in an alleyway and left to die and he was, until he was defeated 16 months ago, a partisan politician. That is, a liberal hack. And Oppal will not, according to The Times Colonist (hardly a left leaning paper) recommend for sweeping change, including a regional police force, and the very terms of reference will prevent the commission from addressing relevant issues like how did it happen that these women’s disappearance was treated so trivially by everybody in charge? The women I heard talk in prison think they know. They think the grisly truth is that criminal gangs were making “snuff” films at Pickton’s farm. Evidently there are men in the world who will pay big money for videos of women being murdered and dismembered. Could it be true? Well, certainly Wally Oppal’s commission won’t find out.