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Making Waves

An Appetite For The Legal Route


By Ken Hashizume

There seems to be lots of reaction to the news of sexual misconduct allegations made against former PC leader Patrick Brown. But police in Brown's hometown of Barrie say they don't intend to start an investigation, and the accusers seemed to be satisfied with just the reporting the allegations to a television station.
I have a problem with that. Serious allegations only have weight if the suspects are tried in a court of law. That means an investigation by police, testifying in front of a judge and jury, facing questions from all sides, and a decision by an unbiased jury of citizens. But there seems to be no appetite to go after these individuals through the legal route. Instead there is a troublesome trend going around of basing a person's guilt by allegations alone. This is how black men getting stopped by police got started.
Speaking of which, before sexual assault became the accusation of the month, racism was the popular allegation to hurl. You have all heard the story about a girl in Toronto reporting an alleged hate crime to police that turned out not to be true. Believe it or not, I happen to fit her description of the alleged suspect. Imagine what would have happen to me?
An allegation of a crime should be taken seriously. One would think the recent conviction of Michigan State University Physician Doctor Larry Nassar would be a great moment in the #MeToo movement. But contrary to popular belief, it is not. The more individuals get tried in social media than in a court of law, the more innocent people are going to be wrongfully targeted. But I guess as long as the ends justify the means, this is how you and I will be judged. Is that the kind of society you want to live in? I don't think you like to have your fate decided on my word alone.

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