Posts Tagged ‘rahim jaffer’

In Dalton McGuinty’s Ontario…

April 15th, 2010


The last time I wrote an In Dalton McGuinty’s Ontario post, it was about Rahim Jaffer’s plea from impaired driving and possession of cocaine to careless driving. One commentator took me mildly, and fairly, to task:

What the fu- does this have to do with McGuinty? You are seriously reaching dude.

I thought hard before attaching that story to the “In Dalton McGuinty’s Ontario…” meme. I was not, as anon suggested, trying to tie the story directly to McGuinty. However, there is a culture in Ontario justice that I felt was at play here. It was Dalton’s Police force, lead by Dalton’s hand picked chief, that charged Jaffer. It was Dalton’s crown who decided there was no chance at conviction:

According to sources close to the case, police made two fateful decisions: repeatedly denying Jaffer access to his own lawyers and a strip search after he was pulled over on a rural road on Sept. 11 in the southern Ontario community of Palgrave, northwest of Toronto…

A so-called “blow test… came up positive.

[OPP officer Kim] Stapleton handcuffed the former rising star of the Conservative Party and placed him in her cruiser… she then went back to the Ford Escape and grabbed Jaffer’s sport jacket from the passenger seat.

She noticed a bag inside one of the pockets — what would later be determined to be about a gram of cocaine… for which possession is a federal crime…

He tried to contact two lawyers in Calgary, but couldn’t reach them and left a message…

Midway through the test, one of Jaffer’s Calgary lawyers called the detachment several times but was told he must wait because the breathalyzer was being administered… The second lawyer also returned Jaffer’s call in that time and was told it was too late… legal experts say he should have been given the opportunity to speak to counsel of his choice…

Shortly after the breathalyzer, police made another key decision: to strip search the former MP, an act [Toronto defence lawyer Scott] Cowan argues wasn’t “defensible at all” in the Jaffer case.

The Dalton’s Ontario tag is meant to catalogue issues that arise in Ontario, not necessarily that are a direct link to Dalton McGuinty, but which can, I think, be attributable to the culture which McGuinty is harvesting in Ontario. McGuinty wears this case because his police force screwed up, his crowns don’t have the guts/resources to try cases that hinge on a technicality (note the complete lack of suggestion that Jaffer was not a)drunk b)in possesion of the cocaine).

The truth is Jaffer got off because he had the phone number of two lawyers at his disposal. Anybody wealthy enough or who has worked in legal and political circles has an inherent advantage. And that’s not about to change as long as it is, Dalton McGuinty’s Ontario.

In Dalton McGuinty’s Ontario… , ,