Courts need to get serious about sentencing

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If you do the crime you need to do the time unless… you are a police officer, young offender, related to a police officer, or are lucky enough to have your case investigated by a bumbling police department.

The current trial of a former St. Paul’s police officer Harvey-Zenk in the early morning crash which killed a young Crystal Taman is just one of many cases where plea bargains, shoddy investigations, lenient judges, or poorly constructed laws let those who’s lack of judgment and risky behavior get them into trouble are allowed walk away from jail time.

Today’s Winnipeg Free Press reveals that the police officer had possibly been drinking after duty with other officers and had fallen asleep at the wheel. He failed to stop at a light on the perimeter and plowed into Ms. Taman’s bright yellow Chevy Sprint convertible riding up and over the soft top and killing her instantly.

The investigating East St. Paul’s Police department, according to the prosecutor, botched the investigation taking few notes and gathering little useable evidence. Harvey-Zenk’s drinking buddies quickly covered their trail saying he may have had a couple of drinks but did not appear intoxicated. These are the same officers who every Saturday night deal with the cautastrofic result of too much booze. I hope they have told the truth as less that that will be hard to live with.

But its not just the “boys club” of cops, it’s judges who are so in love with the specifics of the law that they are blind to the havoc they perpetuate releasing criminals back onto the mean streets and refusing to dole out sentences that hold people responsible for their actions. When asked to justify their verdicts they are full of bluster and pomposity. If pushed they blame weak kneed politicians for making soft laws rather than taking seriously the responsibility we the people have bestowed on them and administering justice. A judge is deliberating on Mr. Harvey-Zenk’s sentence and I hope he has the strength to deliver justice that punishes the guilty and molifies the wronged.

Politicians too must take their share of blame writing laws as full of holes as a fine Swiss cheese. Politicians must write law that holds up to court challenges. They need to consult then lead rather than follow the ever-changing winds of pollsters and focus groups.

But in the end those that bare the ultimate responsibility are you and I. We don’t get moved to action calling, writing or emailing those who must answer to us. We are too busy making deals and money, purchasing goods we don’t need and trying to climb the social ladder by stepping on those below us. Politicians know that if they can weather the initial storm we will forget, too caught up in our own minor lives to insist they change and make change for the greater good.

Shame on us. We need to look on the shattered remains of Crystal Taman’s cute yellow convertible and vow that never again will we allow such action to go unpunished and take action. Write our politicians, express ourselves on talk radio, demand more from our police and vote out those giving us lip service rather than action.


Jim Burns » Nov 3rd 2007, 07:31


You have nailed it on the head this contry is what we have allowed it to become and it is time to change it. The public Inquiry doe's nothing but make Lawyers richer, there needs to be a retrail this one stinks to much.

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Chris Brown

  • 64 years old
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba, C
  • User since Aug 31st 2007, 15:47