Friday, August 30, 2013

CANADA - Child Sex Crimes To Draw Tougher Penalties

Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Stephen Harper
Original Article


By Allison Jones

TORONTO - Child sex offenders, particularly those who victimize multiple kids, could spend longer in prison under a range of harsher penalties proposed Thursday by the prime minister.

The Conservative government plans to introduce legislation this fall aimed at cracking down on people who sexually exploit children, Stephen Harper announced.
- Does that include other people who exploit children in other non-sexual ways, like politicians for example?

"Sadly there are truly evil people out there. The fact is we don't understand them and we don't particularly care to. We understand only that they must be dealt with," Harper said at an event in Toronto.

"To protect our children we must create a justice system that is more responsive to victims and especially more responsive to children and to the families of children who have been victimized by sexual predators."

A main plank of the proposed amendments would see people convicted of more than one such offence serve their sentences consecutively, rather than the current system in which sentences are served concurrently.

Harper cited in his announcement the case of [name withheld].

The 64-year-old — who was once an usher at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens — was originally convicted in 1997 for sex assaults on 24 boys while he worked at the famed hockey arena between 1969 and 1988.

Harper pointed out that [name withheld] was originally sentenced to two years less a day, a sentence which was followed by the suicide of Martin Kruze, the victim who brought the sex abuse scandal to light.

[name withheld]' sentence was later increased to five years and he was out on parole in 2001 after serving two-thirds of it.

"Three years, for 20 very serious offences," Harper said. "That sort of thing was common at the time. Of course the victims, on the other hand, have to cope for the rest of their lives with what such people have done to them."
- That is not always true.

[name withheld] now faces nearly 100 fresh charges, all laid in the past year, which relate to alleged offences that took place decades ago.

Lianna McDonald, the executive director of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, said particularly when a sex offender has abused several children, the sentences don't seem like enough.

"In many cases where one individual might have multiple victims the sentence has not to date adequately reflect the number of those victims," she said after the announcement.

"For some victims in some circumstances it may not even seem that what happened to them really mattered in terms of the totality of the sentence."

The proposed law would also increase minimum and maximum penalties for child sexual offences.

Currently, people convicted of sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching or sexual exploitation are sentenced to a minimum of one year and a maximum of 10.

Making and distributing child pornography convictions carry the same sentence range. Convictions for accessing or possessing child pornography see people sentenced to a minimum of six months and a maximum of five years.

Harper's Conservative government has brought in a number of mandatory minimum sentences for various crimes over the years, including previously raising the minimum sentences for the aforementioned offences.

They have brought with them controversies and court challenges.

The Ontario Court of Appeal is considering the constitutionality of minimum sentences for gun crimes after it convened a special five-judge panel in February to hear six such cases at the same time.

In Quebec, the provincial bar association launched a legal challenge seeking to strike down sections of the Conservatives' 2012 omnibus bill involving mandatory minimums. The bar association said the provisions don't protect the public and represent an unconstitutional interference from one branch of government, the legislature, in the business of another, the judiciary.

Critics of mandatory minimum sentences say they don't actually help reduce crime and do more harm than good.

To understand the impact of mandatory minimums one need look no further than the United States, where harsh mandatory minimums were enacted decades ago, said criminal defence lawyer Nader Hasan.

"What even some of the most Conservative law-and-order-oriented judges and politicians south of the border have begun to realize is that mandatory minimums do no make us safer," said Hasan.
- Isn't it ironic that in the early 30's and 40's we were all using Nazi Germany as the example, now the US has become that example and laughing stock.

"What they do is overcrowd prisons and bankrupt legislatures."

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder recently said the Justice Department would target long mandatory sentences that he said have flooded the nation's prisons with low-level drug offenders and diverted crime-fighting dollars that could be better spent.

Hasan, who teaches a course at the University of Toronto titled "Crime & Punishment: Mandatory Minimums, The Death Penalty & other Current Debates," said data from the U.S. shows little deterrent effect.

"The Harper government's fascination with mandatory minimums is all the more perplexing given that these policies have been tried but have failed miserably in the United States," Hasan said.

McDonald, from the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, said her hope is that the harsher penalties will keep offenders behind bars longer so that it prevents them, for a time, from committing future offences.

The proposed amendments would also ensure the spouse of a person charged with child pornography offences could be obliged to testify in court and increase penalties for those convicted of child sex offences who break conditions of supervision orders.


Loneranger said...

Oh what the world must think of the US. we publicise how we abuse children and the problem is of such a magnitude nothing works to stop it. Sex abuse running ramped and no woman safe until she knows who might be living around her and then maybe not. Ok we have done this to ourselves and really have made the men in the US look like we just can't control ourselves. We abuse and rape our own. We have such a failed justice system that we can not reform anyone. We are such a failed system that the only thing we can do is lock them up and we have more in prison than any country on the planet to prove it. Can anyone else see a problem here? Even if all this was not used to diminish everyone in the US by foreign countries for their own benefit others that are like minded see what we do as a dismal failure and what not to do. the sex offender registration and all the laws attached only amplify the perceived moral decline this nation has when viewed by other countries. Remember they only see and hear what the media puts out. You tell a lie enough and the world will believe it. All the laws written on controlling sex offenders are directly influenced by what Hitler and his henchmen did in Germany. why? To strip the people of the US of their constitutional protections. Any country that has allowed this to happen is a threat to the rest of the world as we are now controlled by a President that on his word can bypass congress or any safeguard and toss us into a war. When we allow the constitution to be weakened and or made null and void on the whim of one man who is no better than Hitler then the world should look at us as a bunch of deviants as we tell them over and over we are. What country would want our perceived lack of morality to rescue and bring our system to them? What the world see's is a failed system and a bunch of bullies that want to control not only everyone in this country but theirs as well. Russia said they would take America without firing a shot. Well looks like they might just make good on that promise.

Daver said...

"Sadly there are truly evil people out there. The fact is we don't understand them and we don't particularly care to. We understand only that they must be dealt with," Harper said at an event in Toronto.
Yea they are called Politicians!