Foreign justice - Macleans.ca
 

Foreign justice


 

The Justice Minister’s decision to order the extradition of Hassan Diab is a source of concern. Meanwhile, interim Liberal leader Bob Rae has written to the governor of Montana to plead for clemency for Ronald Allen Smith.

Without excusing the brutality of the crimes committed by Mr. Smith or the severity of their impact on the families of his victims, his execution is still clearly unwarranted.  It runs counter to basic principles of civil rights and fundamental justice, and offers no benefit to public safety.  In writing you in this way I am standing by longstanding Canadian public policy and jurisprudence.  The Canadian law is clear: the death penalty is tantamount to cruel and unusual punishment, and retribution alone does nothing to heal or rehabilitate communities.

In 2008, the Canadian House of Commons adopted a motion that the government should stand against the death penalty as a matter of principle, both in Canada and around the world, and I would reiterate the Liberal Party’s principled and unwavering support for that motion.


 

Foreign justice

  1. My problem with this case has always been
    the unequal application of the law. Ronald Smith did not act alone. He had two
    accomplices. Wikipedia defines an accomplice as “a person who actively
    participates in the commission of a crime, even though they take no part in the
    actual criminal offense.” And says that “an accomplice has the same degree of
    guilt as the person he or she is assisting, is subject to prosecution for the
    same crime, and faces the same criminal penalties.”

     

    Ronald Smith and Rodney Munro were both
    charged with capital murder in 1982. Munro, who apparently stabbed one of the
    two men, copped a plea bargain, was sentenced to life in prison and was
    released on parole in 1998. The second accomplice, Andre Fontaine, who was not
    directly involved in the murders, pleaded guilty to aggravated kidnapping, was
    sentenced to 60 years in prison and was also released in 1998. As I understand
    it, Munro returned to Canada and remains here, a free man. I don’t know what
    happened to Fontaine. People who believe Smith should die because he killed two
    men, and it appears our government believes that, should explain why they are
    not disturbed by the fact that his two accomplices are not with him on death
    row. That they may, in fact, be walking the streets of Canada, even though,
    under the law they are as guilty as he is.

    • His 2 accomplices are not with him on death row because they accepted the county attorney’s plea bargain. Smith refused it, pleaded guilty, and actually asked for a death sentence. Had he accepted the plea bargain, he too would likely be free today. This helps explain why his “accomplices” are free despite Munro being charged with capital murder.

      • My point is that if you believe the punishment must fit the crime, you must believe there is no place for plea bargains.  And there is also no reason to put accomplices in quotation marks.

        •  You don’t have to believe that at all .

          • Then you must believe it’s OK to execute a man not because he murdered two people, but because 30 years ago he rejected a plea bargain.

          • Now you make even less sense.  I understand you think there’s a discrepancy of sentence here, but there’s a reason for it and your comparisons are absurd.