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The path of least resistance

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The Ontario Attorney General decided not to call evidence in the second murder trial of Robert Baltovich, which automatically obligates the jury in the case to acquit. The prosecutor in the case determined there was not enough evidence to support a reasonable likelihood of conviction. So more than 16 years after Baltovich was convicted of murdering his former girlfriend, Elizabeth Bain, he is a free man acquitted of the charges against him.I won't go into the tortured details of the case. For those who are interested, Derek Finkle's seminal book, No Claim to Mercy: The Controversial Case for Murder Against Robert Baltovich, will more than explain the botched investigation and tenuous prosecution of Baltovich. It will also explain why Baltovich's lawyers, including noted criminal attorney James Lockyer, believe Paul Bernardo is the more likely suspect.In the wake of the confirmation of a wrongful conviction, it has been my observation that there are usually two camps among those who feel a need to speak out. There are those who weighed the evidence available and, as objectively as possible, confronted the reality of the allegations without dismissing or ignoring the nagging shortcomings. These people are not convinced that a guilty verdict is necessarily a just verdict.Then, there are those who cannot get beyond their outrage at the crime, and allow that to blind them to what's really going on.It's easy to be outraged about the brutal murder of a young women. It's a horrible, horrible crime, and any reasonable person with even a remote grasp on sanity would be outraged. But it's lazy and willfully ignorant to dismiss the problems with the investigation and prosecution of any heinous crime and instead continue to harp on and on about how outraged you are about the crime.Justice isn't about putting ANYONE away for a horrible crime. It's about getting the RIGHT person behind bars. Those who are outraged about the crime should save a little of that outrage for a justice system that allows murderers to go free because the wrong person is behind bars.-30-

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About Dan Lett

Dan Lett came to Winnipeg in 1986, less than a year out of journalism school.

Despite the fact that he’s originally from Toronto and has a fatal attraction to the Maple Leafs, Winnipeggers let him stay.

In the following years, he has worked at bureaus covering every level of government – from city hall to the national bureau in Ottawa.

He has had bricks thrown at him in riots following the 1995 Quebec referendum, wrote stories that helped in part to free three wrongly convicted men, met Fidel Castro, interviewed three Philippine presidents, crossed several borders in Africa illegally, chased Somali pirates in a Canadian warship and had several guns pointed at him.

In other words, he’s had every experience a journalist could even hope for. He has also been fortunate enough to be a two-time nominee for a National Newspaper Award, winning in 2003 for investigations.

Other awards include the B’Nai Brith National Human Rights Media Award and nominee for the Michener Award for Meritorious Public Service in Journalism.

Now firmly rooted in Winnipeg, Dan visits Toronto often but no longer pines to live there.

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