Montsion Case: Appearance Of Fairness Lost

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Not only must the manslaughter trial of Const. Daniel Montsion in connection with the death of Abdirahman Abdi be fair, it must appear to be fair.

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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11 thoughts on “Montsion Case: Appearance Of Fairness Lost

  1. It’s astounding that whoever the “senior officer on duty” at the police station was didn’t think about the optics of a procedure that is not normally used in manslaughter cases being used for the benefit of a fellow officer. Does he or she not understand that, with the level of attention that’s being given this case, OPS has to be cleaner-than-clean in its treatment of Montsion? It surprises me that Bordeleau hasn’t issued orders that they are to err on the side of caution when making decisions on how to handle any aspect of the case.

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    1. I am sure they did think about the optics. But behind the blue wall, one doesn’t care about that. The optics of what people on civvie street think are irrelevant. Gotta protect your brothers.

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      1. Bob,
        Protecting your brothers mentality does not only apply to the blue wall. Too much emphasis on the concept of fraternity have resulted with many things being hidden from public scrutiny.
        Loyalty is an excellent quality but, it is oft taken to the extreme.

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      2. We now find out that it was SIU that released him and they did it at the OPP station instead of either the OPS station or the courthouse. They should have been more careful so as not to undermine their report on the confrontation with Mr. Abdi. If the public perceives that they are giving him an easier booking experience that anyone else would be given, that same public will question the fairness of his treatment.

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  2. “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the LIGHT.”
    Plato

    I sure hope the optics on this issue improve.

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    1. Ken,
      Realized almost immediately after posting, that what I stated would be edited.
      Would prefer my post not be posted if it is edited since my point was not made.

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      1. Fed-Up:

        Your point was made and I am being very careful about ensuring that media coverage from this source will not compromise the trial.

        All comments are subject to editing for accuracy, contempt and libel.

        I wish I had an editor for my posts. They’ve saved me many times.

        Mature journalists appreciate good editing.

        My editing style is not heavy-handed at all. Witness the lack of complaints.

        If you want tough editing, write something for the Toronto Star.

        Years ago almost everything at the Star was completely re-written.

        If there is an error in the editing, I’d be happy to hear it.

        cheers

        kgray

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        1. Ken,
          Am in total agreement re ensuring nothing compromises the trial and thus my realization that the post would be edited and a name removed.
          While I agreed that the OPS should have thought of the optics so that everything is fair and appears to be fair. I also added that am not happy that some local media are tilted in their coverage.
          On further reflection, am not sure if it is the OPS or the Crown who determines if the person has to appear or not.

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          1. Fed-Up:

            Thank you for this. I was concerned that you were not specific in the criticism of the media. I didn’t know what media you were criticizing or what they had done. Accordingly, I took that part out.

            cheers

            kgray

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            1. Ken,
              Not specific because I did not feel you would want to publish the names. Anyway, we have it sorted now.
              Merci.

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