You can learn a lot about the justice system by simply sitting in Penticton court any day of the week.
But then again, you might not want to learn what goes on in there.
Be prepared for a lot of legal speak, adjournments, delays, inside jokes and more adjournments.
The wheels of justice definitely churn like molasses, and you can’t help but think it was designed that way for the sole benefit of lawyers. The longer a case is adjourned, the more money they make.
Last Wednesday’s court date was supposed to start at 9:30 a.m. but didn’t actually get underway until 10 a.m. There was a lot of waiting, lawyers coming and going, the sheriff talking to relatives of people in custody, and the Crown prosecutor looking around the room.
No doubt the judge was waiting for that knock on the door from the court clerk to indicate the show was about to begin.
The judge walks in and sits down. The rest of us sit down.
The first case is related to child pornography, but fortunately no details are given. The accused has entered a guilty plea and the judge sets the case over for one month to give time for a pre-sentence report and offer police more time to sift through volumes of material.
Another editorial: It’s a prison, what do you expect?
In another case, a woman in custody is shown on a TV screen, which is live video from the Okanagan Correctional Centre. The woman wants to see her mother and is told that a visit is planned.
Another man is shown via video and pleas guilty to an attempted break-in on Winnipeg Street. The man has a history of property crimes. He was actually on probation for breaking and entering at the time of this attempt in Penticton.
The court heard the man had a good childhood but later fell into drug addiction.
He was run over by a vehicle, stabbed 17 times and shot in the foot.
The 45 year old has been taking classes to upgrade his education. He apologizes to the court several times, admitting he led a terrible lifestyle and needs to “pull up my big boy pants.”
He admits his shame, adding he is thinking more clearly and eating better.
The judge says it is “quite exhausting” dealing will all of these addictions and property crimes. But he acknowledges the accused is educated and willing to work. In fact, while the judge is doing the math out loud, trying to figure out how many days in custody the man has left to serve, factoring in time already spent in jail, the man blurted out, “85 days.” The judge looked at him and smiles, saying he is correct.
Hey, someone give this guy an accounting job, will you?