Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Personal bias has no place in the criminal justice system

R. v. Nguyen, 2013 ONCA 51 is a good reminder that judges must be careful in their language and avoid stereotypes and bias:

[5]          On the second point, we agree that, against the backdrop of no evidence in the record, the trial judge should not have said that "[t]o a certain extent, there is an ethnic element in that certain groups of new Canadians, or Canadian citizens sharing cultural and ethnic heritage, appear before the court in unusual numbers charged with marijuana production." There is no place in the Canadian criminal justice system for this type of negative and stereotypical comment.


9 comments:

Ernest Julius Guiste said...

Who said that ?

Ernest Julius Guiste said...

Who said that ?

James C Morton said...

On appeal from the sentence imposed on March 11, 2011 by Justice Gregory A. Pockele of the Ontario Court of Justice, sitting without a jury.

James C Morton said...

On appeal from the sentence imposed on March 11, 2011 by Justice Gregory A. Pockele of the Ontario Court of Justice, sitting without a jury.

Anonymous said...

So, he just shouldn't SAY it. You can't tell him not to think it.

The Mound of Sound said...

No, the point is, Anon, that the judge should have purged that bias from his adjudication. We're actually entitled to expect that of judges and the law demands it of them. That's one of the commitments they agree to in accepting the position.

Anonymous said...

You are naive mound.

James C Morton said...

Well, I fear that many do think like this and perhaps it is better they actually say what they think so it can be seen. We do not want any prejudice on the bench -- it is the opposite of what is fair and balanced.

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Criminal law is that body of rules that defines crimes, treats for its punishments, and provides for the process of applying these said rules in certain and specific cases.

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