However, that’s not what I find shocking. We know injustices like this occur. What shocks me is that there is very little moral outrage that it occurred.
Have we become so desensitized to corruption, abuse of process and abuse of power that we either no longer recognize it or simply don’t care? Is it really okay with our government, the media and the public at large to have our Justice system undermined in this way?
Let’s look at the facts:
1. Byron Sonne was the only person arrested during the G8/G20 Summit who was held without bail for over 300 days despite the fact that he committed no violent crime.
This includes people who actually committed violent acts like the fire-bombings of the Royal Bank of Canada and the vandalism in downtown Toronto.
Clement, one of the firebombers, and the only one of the three arrested who was held without bail, went to trial in December, 2010, less than 6 months after his June arrest. Pflug-Back was alleged to have committed thousands of dollars worth of vandalism and was released on bail.
Why was Byron treated in this discriminatory manner? What exactly did he do to deserve this “special” treatment?
a. “guilt by association” claims based on his reading material and email lists he was following;
b. speculation about legal chemicals and other materials he had on his property, some of which were for geek experiments that he was able to demonstrate he was working on;
c. his open and public admission of blackbox testing G8/G20 security.
None of which are criminal acts as far as I know.
In contrast. The cases against Clement, Pflug-Back and some others included video evidence of what appeared to be them actually committing the crimes.
And yet they weren't held without bail for over 300 days.
Where is the actual evidence against Sonne to support the charges? If there was none, why were the charges not dropped in their entirety? What is the standard required to legitimately arrest and charge someone? Was this standard actually met here or was it ignored by both the Detective Tam Bui, the lead investigator, and the Crown?
3. An appearance of extreme bias on the part of Detective Tam Bui occurred both in the interview tapes and with the dramatic street theatre associated with the potassium chlorate recently dug up in Byron's yard. The dig occurred based on information that wasn't a secret and the police presumably should have known long before this. Although they claim that they found out from the Defense Closing remarks. Whether that is true or not doesn't really matter.
What matters is that the drama was quite unnecessary.
Perhaps I'm wrong but it seems patently obvious to me that the police and the HazMat team knew the compound wasn’t explosive otherwise why would they have burned it in an open fire? They did this immediately after they created a huge drama by stopping traffic all over the city as the truck took the compound to the dump to be disposed of.
In other words, publicly treating it as though it was an explosive even though they had determined that it wasn't and didn't treat it as an explosive when they disposed of it.
The Judge was initially writing her decision based on the fact that Sonne didn’t make a bomb. Now, with what appear to be deceptive tactics, the Judge has presumably been left with the false impression that he did. An impression which could have an impact on the outcome of the case if the Judge doesn’t research this new issue carefully or register the nuances.
Whether Mr. Sonne is declared Guilty or not when this Judgement is handed in, I certainly hope that not just for his sake but for the sake of all Torontonians he will sue everyone involved in meting out this injustice.
There is no Justice without Accountability and those who engage in corruption, abuse of process or abuse of power to further agendas of personal bias must be held accountable. Especially those in positions of special trust like civil servants.
If they're not held accountable, they'll do it over and over again and every citizen will be placed at risk of becoming vulnerable to this abuse.
And I'm not assuming that this kind of abuse hasn't already occurred to others.