On Monday the justice system in this case lost the appearance of fairness … at least for the time being. The most serious bail-hearing case of the day was the manslaughter charge, among others, facing Montsion. Surprisingly, the constable had been released directly from the Kanata OPP detachment by the Special Investigations Unit so he didn’t appear.
The SIU has a great number of former police investigators on its staff.
This had the local legal community wondering what happened. So too the court which scrambled around trying to find the manslaughter accused. The SIU was working within the law in releasing Montsion but had the court and legal community confused by the rare decision.
Perhaps the law enforcement services need to be reminded that Ottawans, in and out of multicultural communities, are watching this case very closely.
The integrity of the police system is on trial, too. That is not to say that fair-minded people are pre-judging Montsion. Ottawans want to see that he is treated like everyone else and that he gets a fair trial.
This is a case with hot-button issues that go far beyond the charge of manslaughter. Residents are looking for evidence that Montsion doesn’t catch a break because of who he is.
Then the SIU releases Montsion at the station and he doesn’t have to make a court appearance. In terms of appearance and public relations, this is a bad blunder. People with agendas far different than the case itself will say that Montsion caught a break and that brings forward the whole issue of fairness.
The move makes the law enforcement community look as though it is not being objective … particularly so early in the case.
Ottawa Police Services chairman Eli El-Chantiry called on the police and the community to move forward after the death of Abdi.
The SIU move retards that process. It’s an odd way to move forward.
The PSB, the mayor, the police chief, the province, city council, the courts and the community should be concerned about the actions at the station.
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