We did go to court in Southend and about an hour earlier than needed. The Youth Centre , a young multi- million dollar edifice that is used for Her Majesty’s Court of Queen’s Bench is in a war zone state: steel boarded windows, chipped linoleum, grime. Sixty young people and a few parents are milling about. The two overworked and understaffed mounties are slapping at least thirty fat files on a table. There is no crown prosecutor, no lawyers, no court staff. The weather is cloudy with a 30% chance of snow so the plane didn’t fly. The mounties connect a telephone line to someone, unidentified, with a voice as authoritative as a greeter at Walmart. This is the judge, or to quote John Caswell, IF she is a judge.
The accused steps to the phone has a friendly chat with the alleged judge and sits down or leaves. I’m trying to escape the flourescent lights and find a blackened room. Everything is locked. The flu kicks in. One young man in the hallway is complaining about “ bull s---- charges”. He will get no more innocent- until- proven- treatment than anyone else. He will get zilch.
The names called are often our former campers. These are the people for whom we pray every night. These are OUR young people. They’re not being taught serious consequences for serious actions, protection of the innocent, and nothing about due process.
They’re not being taught anything except Follow the Herd. Go with the Flow.
Four times I have been involved in phone- in court. One of those times the court claimed they phoned me but they didn’t. The court went ahead anyway and found me guilty. The other three times I was at a clear disadvantage. The lawyer complained because I expected people to identify themselves. The lawyer and judge were very chummy and may or may not have been in the same room and I was just an outside annoyance.
I can’t take it. I ask John to take me home. If the judge couldn’t make it then neither can I. We head for Brabant Lake and feel we’re driving to heaven and away from demonic chaos. Some people actually talk about Southend taking over Brabant Lake. These are the kind of people who made the decisions that have led to this chaos in the first place..
Verdict: The Saskatchewan court system is a mess. Young people are not getting justice, either by true punishment for a proven crime or by protection of the innocent. At the Appeals level I am told “ You can’t have a trial because what you said are serious allegations.” I hear “ don’t allow her time to get a lawyer. She is on the computer all the time.” At the local level in Southend, court is taken as seriously as handing out chits in a school cafeteria
Solution: Quit wasting our time over non- court courts, over non- trial trials, over unproven charges in which we are expected to self destruct ourselves and our property.
Help us get some funds so we can hire a dozen young moral people who will run our camps and visit Southend and other communities at least all summer. Help us get a priest who is moral, caring and courageous. And find us some courageous lawyers who want to fight and want to win. Take the pope’s advise and ask for the help of Ste. Joan of Arc. Gay