Allen Carlos Background Article
Taken from Cdn-Firearms Digest Tuesday, September 18 2001 Volume 04 : Number 117
Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2001 14:56:53 -0600
Subject: Re: Tiers in Justice System
HOW MANY TIERS ARE IN A JUSTICE SYSTEM?
by Jane Gaffin
August 3 was not much different from any other day in courtroom 5. A man stood in the prisoner's box having his say.
The judge had heard it all before. "You don't have to tell me about family violence," Judge Heino Lilles interrupted the prisoner, curtly. "I know all about family violence."
Yes, he does. He can find family violence where family violence doesn't exist. This judge signed a 57-page application for a search warrant on the assumption that my friend was a threat to public safety and to his family.
The wife, two grown sons and teen-age daughter didn't know their husband and father was a threat to their safety. And his friends, neighbors and rest of the community didn't know he was a threat to public safety.
Yet, for a moment on August 9, I thought Judge Lilles was going to redeem himself in my eyes and earn my respect. He presided over the trial of a 17-year-old cocaine abuser whose fists were weapons used to cause life-threatening injuries to a 19-year-old man.
A concerned mother of another teen, assaulted by the same youth on trial, told the court she had spoken to the police about crime and young offenders. She sensibly suggested maybe some outside professional help was of essence to avert some of these horrible crimes before they happened.
The judge said the court can't round up people on the street because we think they're a high risk and are going to do something. Court is reactive, not predictive, he noted.
We can do a lot of harm if we intervene too soon. We don't want to be proactive, pulling people out of their homes, he added.
In context, the judge's word "people" related to young offenders. But how many tiers are in a justice system, anyway?
My friend is an adult "people" without any history of violent behaviour or wrongdoing. He is a decent, honest, hard-working, law-abiding family man of high morals and old-fashioned values.
The system was proactive and predictive toward him, pointing to him as a high risk to commit an offense without any valid reason.
It used to be standard procedure for a judge to be presented with "reasonable and probable grounds" that an offense TOOK place and that the police's request for a warrant is likely to result in some kind of relevant evidence. (Irregularities were disclosed in the procedure during the trial regarding firearms storage infractions, but it would have been highly unusual for the trial judge to quash the warrant.)
Yet the application for the warrant deemed the victim guilty before he had a chance to prove innocence. It says: "That upon seizure of the firearms, a report will be submitted to Crown Counsel requesting a firearms prohibition hearing to determine whether Allen Carlos should legally be permitted to possess firearms."
Curiously, on December 13, 1999, two months before the warrant was requested and before any charges were laid, three men had a meeting.
Constable Wayne Gork met with Crown counsel David McWhinnie, who later prosecuted the Carlos case, and Yukon chief firearms officer Sgt. Dan Otterbein, who had refused authorization for Mr. Carlos to carry a restricted firearm.
Sgt. Otterbein's decision was based on what was said to be concern about public safety, although Mr. Carlos is an expert woodsman and has safely handled guns for over 45 years.
Before this fracas, he had been issued permits to carry hand guns for his prospecting work for the past 27 years, which is a good indicator he is not a threat to society.
Make no mistake, men in lofty positions had Mr. Carlos in their crosshairs. The application for a warrant was based on an unsubstantiated story that had been resurrected from a dormant police file.
Nearly a year earlier, on January 19, 1999, two federal female employees, Sandra Orban and Julie Nordmann, had filed incident reports with the police.
Somebody called CBC radio. Curiously, chief mining inspector David Latoski was interviewed the very next morning about the incident for CBC's 7:30 a.m. news broadcast. No other medium considered the complaint newsworthy.
RCMP Constable Sydney investigated and determined the complaint had no substance. Orban's accusation was five months old. The officer shelved the report, promising it would be automatically shredded in a year.
Constable Gork re-opened the investigation on egging from senior mining inspectors to the police. By the time Constable Gork applied to Judge Lilles for a warrant to storm the Carlos home, 18 months had passed since mining land-use inspectors Orban and Steve Howes had visited the Carlos mining property at Grew Creek near the village of Ross River in August of 1998.
Yet the determination that it was undesirable in the interest of public safety for Mr. Carlos to possess any "weapon, prohibited device, ammunition, prohibited ammunition or explosive substance" was based predominantly on Orban's testimony, which wasn't even a signed affidavit.
The female fed claimed Mr. Carlos had threatened to shoot anybody who came into his camp packing a gun. Her field partner Howes denied in two separate police interviews that Carlos ever uttered any such threats.
Only one can be telling the truth. The judge ignored Howes and authorized permission for four plainclothes officers to storm the Riverdale home on February 15, 2000.
While a sharp knife and axe are always "loaded", contends Mr. Carlos, the police were only interested in the guns. The long arms taken even included a new Annie Oakley commemorative rifle given to the Carloses' daughter for her 13th birthday.
Mr. Carlos wasn't charged with an offense first so the court could decide if he should or shouldn't be allowed to own guns. And the prohibition hearing, where Mr. Carlos would have the opportunity to face his accusers in court, has been rescheduled no less than six times. (And yet another one was rescheduled on Friday, September 14.)
Make no doubt about it, he was "guilty until proven innocent". Only a few privileged people still enjoy the old system of law.
An August 27 Star letter was headed "Criminal Histories Must Be Accurately Reported." In a matter involving high-risk sex offender, John Walter Sam, who likes to impersonate women, Crown counsel Peter Chisholm declared: "All individuals are innocent until proven guilty."
The reader can guess my choice of expletives to that statement. What Mr. Chisholm really means is a high-risk sex offender is more privileged to be "innocent until proven guilty" than a gun owner is.
Three days later, another letter appeared in the Star. It was headed "Let's Wait for Hughes to Report". It refers to conflict of interest commissioner, Ted Hughes, examining the possibility that Yukon Premier Pat Duncan has committed a sin.
Letter-writer N. McLennan asked good questions: "Shouldn't the benefit of the doubt go to the person who hasn't spent time in prison for perjury? What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty?"
It obviously is still intact for sex offenders and the premier. Nobody has taken away Ms. Duncan's keys to the washroom yet.
But for miners, loggers, big-game outfitters, firearms owners and us commoners who don't sit in high places or do kinky things, "innocent until proven guilty" went out the bureaucratic and political windows with the encroachment of the radical environmental and feminist movements.
Laws pertaining to environment, wildlife, firearms--to name a few-- are written in such a way that ordinary people and corporations are guilty until proven innocent. And the laws are so convoluted as to be nearly impossible for the alleged sinner to prove innocence.
Licenses are revoked first, then the sinner spends three or four years twirling around the courts; firearms are seized first, then there's three or four years waiting before you get to court to meet the accuser. Meanwhile, the money metre is ticking and the private property (gun collection) is scattered all over Whitehorse, from the police detachment to the basement of the Justice building.
The police never would have been in the Carlos dwelling had it not been for the original complaints of Orban and Nordmann.
In a revived investigation, other female feds--Pauline Drapeau, Leah Richardson and Tina Thomas--joined the parade. They gave testimonials that read like collusion in a Danielle Steele novel.
Feminist icon Doris Lessing is appalled that women have made men the new victims in a sex war. The 81-year-old author noted that an insidious culture has taken hold within feminism.
"The most stupid, ill-educated and nasty woman can rubbish the nicest, kindest and most intelligent man," she told a recent Edinburgh book festival. "And no one protests."
I'm protesting. The police, who were sidetracked from the "pressing public safety issue", charged Mr. Carlos for what they considered to be three storage infractions of firearms found in the privacy of his own home while he was home when they came in unexpectedly on their fishing expedition.
Mr. Carlos was tried, acquitted; Crown appealed, acquitted again. On an unlimited amount of resources and a determination to convict this man to make an example of him to the gun-owner community, the Crown is appealing the Carlos case to the Supreme Court of Canada. It will carry a pricetag of between $50,000 to $80,000 to defend.
I know this man and his family. And I'm willing to bet my last nickel that he and his wife and three children, who learned to handle firearms safely at their father's knee, have never pointed a firearm at anybody.
Now get a load of this. While I was in the courtroom, a police officer moved to a seat in front of me. Judge Lilles granted him permission to speak briefly with the Crown prosecutor, who was handling a sexual assault case that had a publication ban on it.
When the officer leaned over the railing and stuck his derriere in the air, his holster twisted on his belt.
Excuse me, Mr. Officer and Mr. Judge? I get twitchy as a witch when somebody points a firearm at me. Do you really think it's okay for a loaded 9mm firearm to be pointed straight at my head in the courtroom?
How many tiers are there in this justice system, anyway?
P.S. A trust fund for Allen Carlos has been set up at the Bank of Montreal. All donations to the account will be gratefully accepted. For more information, please phone Paul Rogan of the Responsible Firearms Owners Coalition, Whitehorse, Yukon, 1-867-668-5609, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations may be sent to either of the following places.
Al Carlos Defense Fund Trust
c/o Canadian Access To Firearms
7225 - 7th Avenue
Whitehorse, YT Y1A 1R8
Allen Carlos Defense Trust Fund
(Acct. 8075-985, Transit No. 0998)
Bank of Montreal
11 Main Street
Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 2A7
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