Janelle Guyatt, left, with Derek Descoteau’s mother Brenda Smith outside the Duncan courthouse. They’re frustrated with the justice system like everyone else these days. (File photo by Don Bodger)

EDITORIAL: Where’s the time to match the crime?

Justice system failing good citizens with too much leniency for offenders

Sadly, Canada’s injustice system is in a sad state and badly needs an overhaul.

The injustices are especially mounting lately, causing outrage for affected victims of crimes and their families with the incredible leniency being shown toward perpetrators.

Our justice system is supposed to protect us. Now it seems like we’re going back to the wild west lawless days where anything goes.

People are being released far too early or given privileged conditions for serious crimes, creating fear for those who’ve already gone through enough turmoil dealing with these offenders that they might strike again with a bit of freedom.

There are a lot of claims of mental illness going around in court cases. Whether the experts can clearly decipher which criminals have a legitimate mental illness and which ones are faking it as a way to diminish the extent of their charges is debatable.

If that doesn’t work, the latest tactic is to bring in the good old “someone else did it” style of defence. Most of the time that seems to be plucked out of thin air without any concrete evidence, but all the defence has to do is prove reasonable doubt and confused juries will let their clients walk.

We’ve seen both examples used in high-profile Island cases just in the past few weeks. It was used with success by the defence in the stabbing death of Derek Descoteau, a move that has the public shocked, horrified, just plain alarmed and any other adjective you care to choose.

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The focus is so much on rehab for the criminals and their rights that the victims – the civilized majority – are left to fend for themselves and try to overcome their disillusionment.

Brenda Smith is one of the nicest persons you’ll ever meet. She had already lost one son in a car accident a couple of short years before her other son, Descoteau, was murdered in Chemainus.

Smith doesn’t deserve any of this. Now she’s in a battle to see justice done for Derek with the court system dragging along into more than three years of red tape.

People like Smith are justifiably upset and frustrated with the lack of accountability being administered by the courts. We cater more to those who aren’t doing the appropriate time for their crimes. Makes no sense.

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