EDITORIAL: System must be given the chance to work

As imperfect as our system is, for it to mean anything it must stand for a principle of justice, rather than a desire for vengeance.

It’s been 2½ years since South Surrey resident Jim Neiss was killed in a head-on collision as he drove to work along 16 Avenue.

Monday, the trial of the man accused of dangerous driving causing death in connection with the horrific collision got underway in Surrey Provincial Court.

Glen Theriault has pleaded not guilty to the charge against him, and there’s no doubt that over the course of this week, the judge will continue to hear many heart-wrenching details of the case.

Tempting as it may be for members of the public to render judgment of their own long before a verdict is pronounced – and many, no doubt, already have – it is paramount that one of the cornerstones of our legal system not be forgotten: innocence until guilt is proven.

Few would argue that there are those who knowingly take advantage of what can appear to be a system that favours offenders; grasping at every straw available until the inevitable – time behind bars – can no longer be avoided.

It does not help that sentences imposed often seem to fall short when compared to the level of harm done. Two years in jail for an act that cuts someone’s life short will never feel like enough to those who have to go on living without their loved one.

But we cannot forget that not everyone before the courts is playing the system. Even though investigation techniques have improved vastly over the course of a century, it is still possible for people to be charged with crimes for which they are not guilty.

Others may have made mistakes – sometimes grievous mistakes – which they will pay for, in some way, for the rest of their lives. In some instances, many of us, if we’re being entirely honest, might say “there but for the grace of God, go I.”

No one would suggest for a moment that the culpability of the accused not be explored, but they are also entitled to a fair hearing and a defense that ensures that any and all extenuating circumstances are known and understood.

As imperfect as our system is, for it to mean anything it must stand for a principle of justice, rather than a desire for vengeance.

 

Just Posted

Charges dropped against officer who shot and killed Hudson Brooks in South Surrey

‘I feel like I’ve lost Hudson all over again,’ says mom

Here’s why you may not have seen many federal election signs in Surrey

Earlier this year, Surrey council banned election signs on public property, highways

‘Men of Curling’ calendar features Surrey’s Tardi, who went rock climbing with a curling rock

Tyler Tardi, 21, now curls on men’s circuit, meaning he won’t play at 2020 nationals in Langley

Police, volunteers to deliver South Surrey students’ road-safety messages

Elementary designs aim to remind drivers to slow down, pay attention on the road

‘Jail’ time for Surrey business and community leaders in Crime Stoppers fundraiser

Metro Vancouver organization to host Jail & Bail event Friday at Central City’s outdoor plaza

Chilliwack woman wins right to medically assisted death after three-year court battle

Julia Lamb has been the lead plaintiff in a legal battle to ease restrictions on Canada’s assisted dying laws

NDP, Liberals promise more spending, while Tories promise spending cuts

Making life more affordable for Canadians a focus in the 2019 election

UPDATE: Police probe third threat against a Kamloops high school in eight days

Police have not released any further details into what the threat includes

B.C. Interior caribou protection area big enough, minister says

Proposals sparked protest in Kootenays, Williams Lake region

Two B.C. women selected to compete on ABC’s The Bachelor

Mykenna Dorn and Alexis Thind will compete for bachelor Peter Weber’s heart

Break out the tiki torches: Open fires allowed again in B.C.’s coastal region

All open fires allowed effective at noon on Sept. 18

Rainbow crosswalk coming to Chilliwack school district parking lot

Fractious debate at school board meeting ends with 4-3 vote

Vaping-related illness confirmed in Ontario believed to be first in Canada

Middlesex-London Health Unit had no further details about the case — believed to be the first confirmed in Canada

Canadian stars Virtue, Moir say in video they’re ‘stepping away’ from ice dancing

The pair thank fans for their support in an emotional message

Most Read

l -->