Analysis of Victoria's Charter of Human Rights

Other blogs, other terror trials

Just a quick note that I’ve added a new link category (lower right of your screen) of blogs that cover some of the subject-matter covered by this one. They are:

  • Osgoode Hall’s Supreme Court of Canada blog: this is a great resource, with continuous coverage of pending and recent cases from arguably the most significant comparator court on human rights law (due to its long history of rights enforcement, Canada’s similarity to Australia, its always interesting docket and the high quality of its judges.) The posts are penned by staff and students and its very nicely laid out.
  • Don Mathias’s NZ Criminal Law blog: the name belies this blog’s international nature. He covers decisions of comparative top courts, including Australia, the UK, Canada and the US, in addition to NZ. Given NZ’s nearly twenty years of a Charter-like Bill of Rights Act, his analysis of those cases is often quite relevant to Victorians.
  • “Alex”‘s Criminal Review: this lacks the gravitas of the other two blogs, but makes up for it in its continuing hilarious coverage of day-to-day criminal law issues (including Charter issues) in Canada.

All three of these blogs have recent posts on the Canadian sniffer dog cases.

The highlight (to me) of Alex’s blog is his coverage of Toronto’s ongoing terror trial (which might strike a chord with Victorians.) Here’s a taste, in a post appropriately titled Beavis and Butthead’s Terror Plot:

One of the few things that are still said in defense of the Worst U. S. President Ever is that he has somehow managed to “keep America safe” during the so-called War on Terror. I have never found these arguments particularly convincing. It seems to me that he bears some responsibility for the failures leading up to the attacks on 9/11. And since then the only large-scale disaster in the “homeland” has been Hurricane Katrina, which was another spectacular failure in readiness and response. In demanding ever-greater executive authority, however, there are vague references thrown out about how various terrorist plots have been foiled due to increased surveillance or the use of torture, etc. We never hear a lot of details, presumably because to do so would in some way compromise intelligence programs. But what information does come out has been underwhelming to say the least. People have been vaguely planning or thinking about doing something. A recent example of this was the group of elderly fellows from the Caribbean who were supposedly scheming to blow up JFK airport. Or at least that was something they were talking about while sitting around getting high.

In any event, Canada’s very own terror trial is now under way in a Bramptom courtroom. 18 adults and youths were swept up by the police for allegely being part of an al-Qaeda inspired terrorist cell. I have no idea if there was any connection between al-Qaeda and these people or not. Judging from the “shocking and sensational” inner workings of the cell as reported today in the Toronto Star, I suspect there was not. Indeed, their terrorist camp seems to have been little more than a getaway in the woods to play at being commandos. One of them did have a pistol. And another was working on a remote control detonation device, with a range of nine metres (”30 feet away? So you have to get blown up? Might as well sit in the car”). And here, shocking and sensational indeed, is a discussion between a few of the alleged terrorists discussing “Operation Badr,” which involved “storming” Parliament Hill (presumably they would have found another pistol):

Person 3: “What happens, what happens at the Parliament?”

Person 1: “We go and kill everybody.”

Person 3: “And then what?”

Informant: “And then read about it . . . ”

Person 1: “We get victory.”

Informant: “And take, uh, Paul, um, what’s his name ____. Paul loser.”

Person 1: “Paul Martin.”

Person 3: “Yeah.”

Person 1: “Nah, I wish he had won guy.”

Informant: “What you . . . what you talkin’ about?”

Person 1: “Now it’s the other guy, Harper.”

I’m not saying these guys weren’t breaking the law and should have been stopped, but if this is the kind of terrorist threat we’re faced with I’m feeling pretty safe right now.

I wonder if we are missing out on something similar because of all those damned suppression orders?

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