Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Harsh words in court have legal experts pondering how accused survived

Canadian legal experts and court-watchers are in a state of shock and nauseated disbelief after a Windsor judge unleashed a seismic tongue-lashing on Ahmed Ahmed -- not to be confused with the other Ahmed Ahmed -- an offender who'd been caught by police with 3.9 grams of crack inside anus.

First, Judge Rawlins sentenced Ahmed to a staggering 30 days house arrest.

Next, Judge Rawlins compounded that devastating sentence with two years (24 months!) probation.

If this judicial one-two punch didn't already have Ahmed reeling, surely Judge Rawlins' coup de grace all but psychologically destroyed him:

The judge decreed that Ahmed is banned from entering Essex county for the duration of his probation.

Women fainted. Infants had to be rushed from the courtroom. Crown and defense attorneys brought their hands to their mouths as though ready to be sick. The bailiff -- suddenly pale and unsteady on his feet -- had to be escorted from the courtroom by his understudy.

This statement had other members of the court gallery reflexively reaching for the portable defibrillation device mounted on the wall. Others instinctively broke the glass on the wall mounts housing a fire hose and emergency axe. Anything to defend the defendant from this verbal onslaught, such a tide of venomous rhetoric that it was!

But Judge Rawlins was not finished with the spiritually diminished, quivering shell of a drug mule. She tersely added:

"What I want you to do is keep your drugs in Toronto. . . Detroit makes Toronto look like Toronto the Good . . . We don’t need to import people from other jurisdictions to bring drugs to Windsor. We have plenty coming across the border. Drugs, guns, we have it up to here."

"It was . . . too much," said Samuel Grimfall, a court blogger and advocate for criminals' rights. "Who could endure such a verbal assault? I believe Mr. Ahmed has a very clear-cut case for the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. I'll testify as his first witness."

"I think Judge Rawlins should be arrested and charged with crimes against humanity," said a visibly shaken Sheila Goodnightbridge, former Liberal MP candidate. "She should be hauled off to the Hague and given a tongue-lashing of her own! See how she likes it!"

Still other court-watchers wondered how Ahmed physically endured such a verbal barrage.

Canadian judges, known far and wide for holding the very fabric of civilization together with their supple, pink hands -- so great is their power -- have a reputation for verbal ruthlessness when it comes to reprimanding drug dealers, rapists, murders and child abusers. Words like "disappointed" "riff raff" and "unconscionable" are used with startling frequency.

The question is: how does a mere mortal -- a human being not averse to tucking 3.9 grams of crack cocaine up his second major orifice -- survive a verbal vivisection from one of Canada's judicial titans?

That question will be debated for decades to come.

The only consolation in this monstrous display of power came from Ahmed's defense attorney, Neil Rooke, who said of his client's acceptance of this stiff sentence: "He was content with that. [The ban from Essex County for 24 months] was not an issue for him."

Well, thank Gawd for that! The drug mule arrested with 3.9 grams of crack cocaine in his anus was content with the conditions of his sentence.

Could you imagine if a convicted drug offender wasn't content with the conditions of his sentence?

Could you imagine what message that would send to the criminal community?

Southwestern Ontario might earn a bad reputation among the province's underworld.

But crisis was averted -- Ahmed was content. That's all that matters.

Unfortunately, Judge Rawlins remains on the bench, ready to perform another verbal courtroom autopsy on another unsuspecting suspect.

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