Saturday, June 09, 2007

Ombudsman to investigate the SIU..

SIU investigator on the scene of the crime...

The Ontario’s Ombudsman is taking on the Special Investigation Unit (SIU), the Civilian Agency that Probes serious injuries and deaths involving Police, over concern that it maybe biased towards the Police.

Ombudsman Andre Marin, himself, SIU director in the l990 said that there has been a troubling increase of complaints from the Public that the SIU is alleged to not doing its job properly.

The Ombudsman told a news conference that his investigation is based on complaints from 8 families who have suggested that the SIU probes of Police Conducts lack objectivity and were less thorough.

Twenty complaints were given preliminary investigation and 8 of them will be put under the "microscope".

A few among them was the case of Jeffrey Reodica, a Pilipino Youth shot and killed by a Metro Officer in which the SIU investigations declared that the Officer was justified in his Actions.

But the Coroner’s Inquest that followed, found so many defects and inconsistencies to the investigations and processes.

Note: The Reodica Family had filed a $5.4 millions civil lawsuits against the police services, the officer and the chief.

And here’s another case: Toronto Lawyer Julian Falconer who said he represented two of the cases cite one of his cases.

Hafeez Mohamed had been stopped in Pickering for drunk driving by Durham Regional Police, with four times the legal limit of alcohol in his blood last May and spent over a month in intensive care, yet the SIU found the use of force was "appropriate and reasonable," Falconer told a news conference.

"There’s a potential reality that a pro-police culture has taken over the SIU."

Mohamed said he was too drunk to remember if he resisted the police or not.

The Ombudsman said his reports will be ready by the end of October.

If the Politicians, the Liberal Government of Premier McGuinty, in particular Attorney General Michael Bryant, had followed up on the many complaints voiced against the SIU, there would be no Ombudsman's probe necessary.

Obviously the Government has been sitting on the complaints, so Ombudsman Marin has to step in.

Worth Repeating:

Editorial... Toronto Star
Jun 08, 2007 04:30 AM

Organizers of a Toronto gala and opera celebrating the accomplishments of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela say they are "devastated" by Canada's refusal to allow their political hero into the country. And Madikizela-Mandela, the 70-year-old ex-wife of former South African president Nelson Mandela, is understandably upset too.

Their distress, though, should be tempered by the fact that Canadian officials are right to refuse to allow a visit by this controversial figure.

Madikizela-Mandela's many admirers celebrate her work as an anti-apartheid activist and a bold campaigner in the fight against AIDS in South Africa. Indeed, she has been effective on both those fronts.

But there is another side to Madikizela-Mandela that must not be ignored, or indirectly condoned, by letting her into Canada to be celebrated. In 1991, she was convicted of having a role in the kidnapping and subsequent murder of Stompie Moeketsi, a 14-year-old boy accused of being a police informer. Her six-year jail sentence was reduced to a fine on appeal. Then in 2003 she was convicted of 68 counts of theft and fraud, for which she received a suspended sentence.

These were not trumped-up charges, or accusations that had no legal merit. And the resulting convictions surely justify barring Madikizela-Mandela from the country under a Canadian rule refusing admission to anyone convicted of serious crimes.

Madikizela-Mandela's supporters have a right to focus only on the bright side and mark her achievements with glowing speeches and a new play, titled The Passion of Winnie, which opens tonight. But Canada's government is obliged to look at the entire record. And that record is troubling to such a degree that it justifies keeping her out.
In a speak out section of Toronto Star, I have this to say:
"We have a process to be followed in admitting visitors and immigrants to our country, irregardless of whom they maybe and that is including Ms Mandela, that we under our policy to apply equality to all and I applaud our immigration officers for adhering to such". ---vic