An audacious master (alleged) criminal seems to have scored a spectacular checkmate against the Canadian Criminal Justice system.
Jamal Hazime, former owner of Big 3 Pre-Owned Auto Sales and 5 Diamond Motors was brought up on multiple fraud charges in October 2011, accused of defrauding customers by sticking them with higher car prices, finance rates and loan terms than agreed to and forging signatures on contracts.
But in an unforeseen move of strategic brilliance, Hazime asked the court for permission to return to his home country of Lebanon where his mother was said to be gravely ill. Under such extreme and extenuating circumstances, Superior Court Justice Richard Gates ascented to Hazime taking the trip provided he return to Windsor by November 3.
Incredibly, and in a turn that has set the Canadian Justice system on its ear, November 3rd came and went with no sign of Hazime returning to Canada.
"It staggers the imagination that a person brought into court on fraud charges might actually lie to the presiding justice," says Tink Husbandblood, a judicial assistant. "It's unprecedented and was wholly and entirely unforeseen that the defendant's request came from anything other than an honest desire to visit his ailing mother. Personally, I don't know where this leaves the Canadian Justice system if defendants can merely go before the court and fib."
Criminologist Meredith Hundorthia concurs. "I suspect some people who are not versed in criminal court proceedings in Canada will look at Justice Gates and wonder how he could be so easily duped. But what your average Canadian citizen doesn't realize is that lying to a justice is unprecedented. We've got stats going back fifty years and until this case, we've never seen a defendant lie in court. Hopefully that will put things in perspective."
It may for some, but not for all.
Gus Smokeberg, crime beat reporter retired from the Rankinford Pillager, seemed to speak for ordinary citizens who don't have any immediate connection to Canadian courts: "It's . . ." he said, spittle flying, his face reddening. "It's just beyond all comprehension that a Canadian justice could be so . . . so . . . so fucking gawdamned cunting stupid to give a defendant like this permission to leave the country! It's . . ." At this time, Mr. Smokeberg's eyes rolled back in his head and he passed out, falling to the floor, and required medical attention.
Emotions run high in cases such as this, where dozens of innocent citizens have been (allegedly) grossly defrauded by a defendant who appears to have escaped justice.
"It's probably just as well Hazime fled," said a lawyer who asked not to be identified. "It's not like he would have received much of a sentence. If found guilty, he'd be asked to pay back a small portion of the money he stole. At worst, he'd serve a short stint of house arrest."
So, there it is -- another giant shrug from the Canadian Justice system.