The ends and the means

Y’know, it’s interesting.

Not the fact that a perjury case involving two police officers was tossed out of court. Not the fact that one of the city’s most reputable lawyers made an error (although that certainly had tongues wagging in the city today).

What’s interesting is how far some people believe police should be allowed to go to put the bad guys in jail.

A selection of comments from CBC today on the sudden end to the O’Kane-Zebrun trial illustrates this:


Let’s not lose focus here. These two police officers took a lot of drugs and a scumbag off the street that night! They did not hurt anyone, they did not kill anyone, they did not cause harm to anyone! They did their job!

Justice was served today, we need these two men back on the streets protecting us.


So just so I’m clear… there WERE drugs and there WERE the profit from crimes and there WERE criminals in the hotel room….

Maybe the crown should better use my tax dollar on real criminals…. drug dealers behind bars saves lives…


I see this from a more pracitical angle. The ‘Crown alleged the officers illegally entered the room prior to obtaining a search warrant.’ — So the officers went inside, discovered the drugs, obtained a warrant and were able to charge crack cocaine dealers.

If what is alleged is true then the officers had a choice – tell what I would consider a ‘white lie’ and the dealers stay behind bars – or give an exact timeline and the dealers go free. They weren’t trying to frame anyone – they weren’t lying to protect another officer – they tried to ensure that we were protected from some pretty vile people.

In what world does it make sense to say – ‘we saw the drugs, guns, child porn, rape kits, suitcases of cash…….but we didn’t have a warrant so those things don’t exist – sorry our hands our tied.’ And if an officer bends the truth so those things do exist – and everyone’s upset and saying the cops are the bad guys.

Sometimes the ends justify the means.


we the people just want to see all the dealers and suppliers of crack cocaine locked up,off the street. these 2 police officers had to move fast because the lawyers sure do.


It seems obvious to me that despite the irregularities in obtaining a warrant, the “alleged drug dealers” really were engaged in drug trafficking. So they should be behind bars. If the police officers made mistakes, they should not get off on a technicality – instead, what they did should be judged against the urgent necessity of getting drug dealers off the street.

So they would get off with a warning – and a criminal record, which would mean they would have to find another line of work.

And as a society, we would find a way to enable the police to sweep all the drug dealers off our streets – without taking any of this kind of “shortcut”.

Now don’t get me wrong. This by and large was not the viewpoint that was flouted most often. That must be reserved for the anti-cop posters and conspiracy theorists.

But it does go some length to show that a sentiment exists in society that mistakes one public good for another.

On one hand, you have ‘putting the bad guys away at all costs’ and allowing law-enforcement to do whatever’s necessary to achieve that goal.

I can see the attractiveness in this position: Don’t cause trouble, and there’s naught that can go wrong.

On the other hand, you have the more foundational (and easier to forget) necessity that there have to be rules of engagement. Otherwise there’s chaos.

I’d submit that once you wind up in the jackpot for something you did (or didn’t) do, people in the former camp would soon change their tunes. Remember, the officers now cleared in this case had some of the best city lawyers working on their behalf. There’s a reason for that. There have to be rules, and there have to be people trained in the rules to advocate for each and every one of us.

Justice Keyser tossed the charges out today because the Crown broke the rules of the law.

The officers were charged on suspicion that they broke the rules of the law.

The officers suspected a known drug trafficker broke the rules of the law.

We can wish for times where the law doesn’t apply, but without it, we’re hooped.


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