EDITORIAL: Pursuit of justice

While the law is often criticized as too slow or too lenient, we can only hope that, ultimately, justice will be served

By the time a verdict is made in the brazen killing of South Surrey’s Craig Widdifield, it will have been nearly four years since the 28-year-old father was killed.

The timespan is certainly not the longest wait endured by those eager to see justice served following the murder of a loved one – the trial of Jamie Kyle Bacon, one of the men accused in the 2007 ‘Surrey Six’ murders, in which two of those killed were innocent bystanders, isn’t expected to get underway until March of next year. And even that is an uncertainty at this point.

But two things are certain in the Widdifield proceedings nonetheless: the wait feels like an eternity to all involved; and, regardless of the outcome, the judgment will not undo the harm done.

Widdified died on April 24, 2013, when he was shot by a lone gunman in the parking lot of Morgan Crossing Shopping Centre.

Over the course of the trial that began last fall and concluded last week, the court learned Widdifield was getting into his white Mercedes SUV when shots rang out and his life was abruptly ended.

The gunman sped off, followed by a man who testified in September that he had “direct line of sight” to the killing.

The man accused of pulling the trigger, Brody Robert Paterson, was arrested 18 months after the shooting and charged with first-degree murder.

Among other things, the court heard that Paterson was involved in the drug trade prior to Widdifield’s death. He testified, however, that he had no part in the murder.

Should the judge find that the evidence gives reason to doubt his involvement, Paterson will walk away a free man.

If found guilty, Paterson may forget how “free” feels – he’ll face a prison term that is longer than he has been alive.

And while the latter may bring some sense of justice and peace to Widdifield’s friends and family, it would likely still feel too small a price for the person responsible to pay.

Nothing can truly compensate for their loss.

While the law is often criticized as too slow or too lenient, we can only hope that whatever comes of this case – or of any case for that matter – that justice will be served.