Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
You want justice? It's going to cost us
The case of an HIV-positive African immigrant currently sitting in a Winnipeg jail cell awaiting sentencing raises an interesting judicial dilemma.The man - who can't be named under a court order - was convicted earlier this summer of exposing two former girlfriends to the potentially deadly virus by having unprotected sex without telling him about his medical status. (Read full story HERE
)It's a shocking crime which cries out for stiff punishment.The man will automatically be deported from Canada based on his offence. Now the only question left to be decided is when he gets on the plane with a one-way ticket.The man has already spent 34 months behind bars while his case dragged through the courts. Of course, under the magical 2-for1 Canadian system, he will be given credit for 68 months served.The Crown believes the man's actions are deserving of an even further prison term and asked a judge this week for another 28 months, which would be an eight year sentence - at least on paper.The man's lawyer says he's already done enough time and should be sentenced to time in custody.For reasons that aren't entirely clear to me, Canada will only deport a criminal once they have served their ENTIRE sentence.
So, that means that if the Crown's wish is granted, this man will spent another two years, four months on Canadian soil - in custody, of course - before he's punted out of the country.If the defence gets their way, he leaves almost immediately.I've heard estimates that it costs Canadian taxpayers at least $80,000 per year to keep a prisoner locked up. By my math, that would mean it'll require nearly $200,000 in federal funding if the Crown's submission is accepted by the judge.Not to mention the nearly $240,000 we'd have already spent on this guy during the time he's already served.And if you consider the medical costs that were incurred by his victims - and thank God they didn't become HIV positive - the total would be much higher.So what's the return on this investment? What will this man give back to the country that took him in?A big, fat nothing.I realize that, normally, we want to see a criminal given as much punishment as possible. But it seems to me the smartest thing to do in this case would be to cut our losses as quickly as we can.Thoughts? Post 'em below. You can also click HERE to vote on this issue in my latest Jury Poll question.