Criminal Law

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R v Oland 2019 NBQB 151

R v Oland 2019 NBQB 151

The Decision of Justice Terrence J. Morrison
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Punished for Aging

Punished for Aging

Vulnerability, Rights, and Access to Justice in Canadian Penitentiaries
also available: Hardcover Paperback
tagged : criminology
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Passion for Law Reform
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From the Chapter "Building Bigger Prisons"

I found a 31-year-old man guilty for his part in an ill conceived drug-fueled bank robbery that was right out of a script for Larry, Curly and Mo. The total take was $345, except the dye pack blew up right outside the bank. He and the female co-accused were apprehended shortly after.

His early years were horrific. His father was unknown. He was savagely abused by his mother as an infant. He was locked in a room for days on end as an infant, tied up and repeatedly submerged in water , his hands were held to burn on stove elements. This torture was by his mother and her boyfriends. He was finally taken into care at age five, diagnosed with ADHD and from age five to eighteen, he was in 52 foster homes. In seven of those homes, he was physically and sexually abused. One of his foster homes was that of Donald Bakker, then a well regarded justice of the peace. The same Donald Bakker who later gained infamy as Canada’ss first convicted sex trafficker, a pedophile known for his sadistic sexual treatment of children in Thailand and women in Canada.

In 2000, a twenty-year-old young man on a fifth robbery charge was before me for sentencing in Supreme Court. In addition to the defence lawyer’s submissions, the accused had written a letter to the court on his own behalf. The letter was well written and showed keen intelligence. His youth record began at age twelve and was one of the longest records I had ever seen. The word ‘tragic’ would not begin to describe this young man’s personal history. Many foster homes and years of sexual abuse in six of those homes, including the home of the same Donald Bakker.

I know there were judges other than me who had to think, How would society like me to punish this youth or man? To really teach him a lesson. What more can I do to him that will beat what has already been done?

Our need for universal child care, more resources and trained workers to help these kids has long been a national disgrace. Early child care is imperative to assist those who need it, parents unable to handle the care of their infants for all the reasons that we know: a mom so young she is still a child herself, substance abuse problems, domestic violence, sexual abuse, poverty so dire kids are sent to school without breakfast or lunch. We know the value of early intervention to help families and to assess children, whether their problems are nutrition, learning disabilities, mental or physical health, or abuse.

Instead of building a national child care network, we have been building bigger prisons.

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