Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Joseph K enters London

We'll be seeing more stories like this in the future, now that Comrade Kwinter's bill has been passed:

London police are investigating why a 24-year-old man who went to hospital with a gunshot wound was arrested and held in custody for five days without valid reason.

Iman Omar showed up at a London hospital May 25 with a bullet wound in his shoulder. He was arrested after surgery because he had a cellphone, police said.

He was charged with violating a bail condition connected to drug charges that had been withdrawn nine days earlier.

But the information about the withdrawal by a federal prosecutor wasn't relayed from the courthouse to the police or entered on a nationwide computer system.

[..] In a justice system still heavily reliant on paper, police require an updated court file for their records, Arbing said.

While police handle the files in the Ontario Court of Justice, cases that go to the Superior Court are in the control of court staff.

Once a case is completed, the file is sent to the provincial sentencing unit, then by police courier to headquarters, where it's updated on paper and electronically.

Omar's information wasn't received by the police until May 31 -- 14 days after Omar's charges were withdrawn and a day after he had been released from jail on a judge's order obtained by his lawyer, Glen Donald.
Eventually, all records connected with Joseph K were lost; despite K's insistence that he came to London after city staff offered him the job of human rights specialist, the authorities insisted that there was no such person on record and so K was deemed a non-person.

Let us now take a moment of silence in honour of Comrade Kwinter, a man who discriminates against marijuana users and personal privacy:
The law will protect health-care facilities, allowing administrators to identify patients without worrying about violating privacy rights, Kwinter said.

Doctors, nurses and other medical staff must verbally report the names of people who are treated for gunshot wounds to local police as soon as possible.

But Kwinter said they won't have to restrain victims before officers arrive.
As the gunshot wound victim will have to wait in line for at least eight hours before receiving treatment, the police will have ample time to finish their donuts and still arrive in time to restrain the victim, thereby saving medical staff the bother. Wouldn't want anyone to be overly concerned with privacy rights.

This story immediately brought to mind another botched police job from back in 2002, involving a marijuana raid, a search warrant containing outdated and inaccurate information and a dead dog:
In October 2002, police in London, Ontario, broke into a woman's apartment and killed her dog during a botched marijuana raid.

Marcia Carroll, 22, was not at home when six officers, some in riot gear, smashed down the door of her apartment. Carroll rushed home from work after a call from her landlord, to find her home trashed and her pet dog slain by police.

Officers showed Carroll a search warrant that didn't even have her name on it. Carroll's landlord told the media that the person whose name appeared on the warrant had never lived in the building. No marijuana was found.
The hunt for marijuana might inconvenience a few honest people, but there is no need to worry citizens; recall the reassuring words of one of our greatest Canadians, Emily Murphy:
Getting a warrant to search a place for a suspected câche of poisons is almost as difficult as getting a passport to Russia. Society holds up its hands in horror and talks of "violated rights" if a policeman appears at its door with an order for search, and calls him names, the scope of which can only be measured by their ability to pronounce the English language. It is absolutely astounding what a hullabaloo can be made by an otherwise perfectly gentle lady, who has been asked to open her trunk or pass over her keys.

A most causal consideration shows, however, that if a câche of deleterious drugs be found in a suspected house, the magistrate's order was justified; if not found, the householder has a very high joke on his side and all the satisfaction. He may know, too, that as a citizen he has "the proved pre-eminence of worth," or —well, that the police through some favorable revolution of the stars, walked right over the câche and never noticed it.

If a housewife has the corners of her cupboards clean, and last night's dishes washed, there is no great trouble in the letting police "look through" any more than prospective buyers or inspectors from the gas company.