Robert Marshall

  • Gladue slope remains slippery

    The Supreme Court's Gladue decision is 13 years old and is as wrong today as it was then. Rendered by the best of Canadian legal minds, the decision is not only wrong-headed, it's been ineffective. The groundbreaking ruling was hailed as a way to reduce the over-representation of aboriginal people in jail. But instead of taking measures to reduce the amount of crime committed by aboriginal offenders, the Supreme Court took a simpler route -- some suggest an embarrassingly simple route.
  • The good, the too bad and the ugly

    It eats up the biggest piece of the civic tax pie, yet it took until last week for the Winnipeg Police Service to release its annual report for 2010 -- providing the public with police-related information that's immediately dated. That rant aside, it was good to read about the hard work of our city's finest and some of the awards presented in 2010. One went to constables Lana Borroughs and David Aitken for their life-saving efforts after they rescued a baby born face down in a toilet.
  • The customer is always right

    EVERY year across the country, police and the justice system garner their fair share of headlines, and 2011 was no different. Just two weeks into January and Toronto’s Sgt. Ryan Russell was mowed down in the line of duty trying to end a man’s rampage on a stolen snow plow.
  • Perversion doesn't recognize holidays

    Former NHLer Sheldon Kennedy was spot-on last week when he testified before a U.S. Senate committee about child sexual abuse. "The abusers, the perpetrators, the pedophiles -- they like our ignorance as a society. They like our indifference."
  • When seeing is believing

    It seemed simple enough. The surveillance photos from the bank were good and were shown around to a group of Winnipeg detectives. One of them recognized the guy and he was brought in. The supposed thief was shown the photos and he was cooperating. That was him in the pictures, alright. But he was emphatic. He said that he'd never ever been in that bank and that he sure as hell didn't rob it.
  • Gegwetch might still be alive today

    With strong support from the provincial NDP, the federal Conservatives' public safety initiatives are moving ahead. Had they been in force a year ago, Winnipeg might not have registered its record-breaking homicide when it did. Homicide No. 35, Harry Wellington Gegwetch, 42, was killed after being beaten and abandoned in a Carlton Street apartment that was then set ablaze. Darrell Longclaws stands charged as the alleged killer.
  • A little spit could catch a killer

    The Pickton inquiry underway in Vancouver has made clear how powerful and vital the police use of DNA science was in bringing serial killer Robert "Willie" Pickton to justice.  
  • Protest flies in the face of reality

    The timing of a rally at the legislature Tuesday to protest the provincial NDP's support for the federal crime bill couldn't have been much worse. The rally -- attended mostly by the John Howard Society and its partners -- received minimal coverage and was largely overshadowed by the Occupy folks, who have their own gripe with the NDP after being denied use of the legislature's bathrooms. And then there are the real-life crime stories that surely washed away the rally's painted placards.
  • Health care cuts murder rate

    Emergency medical care should get a big part of the credit in explaining the good news of a declining murder rate across most of Canada. Recent numbers tell us the rate of homicide has dropped to a level not seen since the mid-1960s. But do those numbers make sense when other stats say seriously violent crime -- that can result in death -- is a continuing concern?
  • Get-tough laws can reduce crime rate

    While some cling to the idea that the government dictates one's lot in life, it's no surprise that Stephen Harper's Conservative government is being blamed for the expected increases in Canada's prison population in the coming years. Among those who believe in the cradle-to-grave responsibility of government, the self-anointed, largely socialist "smart-on-crime" club is loath to place responsibility for criminality where it belongs -- with the individuals who will occupy those future cells and prison cottages.
  • A judge with moxy

    There was good news for the Supreme Court of Canada earlier this week when the prime minister announced the nomination of Ontario Court of Appeal Justice Michael Moldaver to the country's highest court. Highly regarded, the impeccable jurist is no wallflower. Instead, he's well-known for his moxy on the issue of Canada's courts.
  • Is Kyle Unger’s case just a legal lottery?

    Kyle Unger is suing the cops and some lawyers for $14 million. That's a lot of dough. However, workplace indemnification means it will be the taxpayers footing any payday, so the province shouldn't be too quick to settle with our money. At least not yet.
  • A parking handicap

    Winnipeg and its parking authority could take a lesson from private enterprise. On most mall parking lots, the big ones and those small, strip ones, there are spots appropriated for drivers or passengers with physical challenges. They are marked clearly with signs and the asphalt spot is painted, alerting drivers that the area is, in no uncertain terms, reserved for those whose getting around is more difficult and more painful than it is for the average guy.
  • Imagination becomes the villain

    We'll soon be at the polls in a province where missing and murdered women have taken on a huge profile. But just how big the issue will be in the coming election (or if it will be an issue) remains to be seen. Two years ago, after relentless goading, the NDP government, along with the its two biggest policing organizations, the RCMP and Winnipeg Police Service, took to the stage with a promise to investigate and solve these cases.
  • An uncanny ability to dodge the odds

    Last week, I was again reminded of the incredible strength that women possess as my sister-in-law -- my wife Jean's sister -- passed away. Lynda became a Klassen years ago but was born a Johnson, part of the baby boomer generation. Her mettle showed early in life as one of seven children, one who suffered unfairly like any child who begins life battling illness.
  • The middle class just pays and pays

    THE left-thinking crowd has taken a massive hit, square in the beak. At least in England. Riots, only hours old (that made Vancouver look like Romper Room,) had the left out in full force, chirping from their perches that the wanton violence, burning and looting were the fault of rising tuition, government cutbacks, overbearing police and lack of opportunity.
  • White eyes on native history

    The history between First Nations people and the European populations that moved in and settled across Canada is pretty raw. At least it was for the aboriginal people who were pushed aside on a very uneven playing field to meet the wants of the growing and powerful white communities. In some corners it's viewed as one big injustice for its first people. But I suspect the newcomers of a hundred years ago didn't quite see it that way.
  • What's best for the child

    The summer crime numbers are out -- and they're down we're told -- as the critics howl about the federal government's omnibus crime bill that is expected to tighten up the laws governing young people. Back in 1984, politicians did away with the Juvenile Delinquent Act with its focus on "misdirected (children)... in need of aid, encouragement, help and assistance," and replaced it with the disastrous, rights-oriented Young Offenders Act.
  • Officer down -- but not out

    Jim Slater's life was changed in ways he never could have imagined just four days after he started working as a police officer patrolling Winnipeg's downtown. Wounded, as he was, his story is one of a simple and ugly twist of fate that backed him into a corner. But, he drew on his personal strength and the support of his family and a host of others as he moved forward.
  • Conjecture is no way to judge our homicide unit

    Can the police service manage its employees within its own policies? That's the question a labour complaint hearing that has gone into overtime is trying to answer. The complaint centres on Sgt. Jim Jewell and his contention he was treated unfairly this spring when he was laterally transferred from a supervisory position in the homicide unit to a uniform job in St. James.
  • Two-for-one hangover proves jackpot for Jiwa

    Had the federal Conservatives not initiated change, Canadian charade-justice would have continued on its slippery slope to hell. Proof came last week when Nadeem Jiwa was sentenced for the 2007 killing of Det. Robert Plunkett, of York Regional Police.
  • Most Winnipeg cops are colour-blind

    One of the first things I discovered 35 years ago as a newly minted cop on the Main Street beat was that aboriginal people had a top-notch sense of humour. There were also many who had a ton of social problems. I spent a lot of my career working with First Nations people as victims, witnesses and suspects, mostly downtown, with a short stint in the North End. Like those along the Main Street drag, many of them shared in the problems of poverty, addiction and lack of education.
  • Go get 'em, Vancouver Hockey rioters deserve jail

    Canadians are known for their accommodating and forgiving ways. A small piece of that image comes from the few corners of this great country where people are apt to turn the other cheek in lieu of a principled stand.  
  • Canuck fever Winnipeg bound

    VANCOUVER -- The afternoon of the big announcement we boarded a plane for a quick getaway to Vancouver. The timing couldn't have been better as the Canucks were set to commence battle for the Stanley Cup. But on the plane it was all about Winnipeg.
  • When freedom isn't worth spit

    We enjoy tremendous freedom in Canada. So much so that we've just been anointed as the second best place in all the world to live. Most believe that freedom comes with a parallel duty of responsibility -- that as citizens, we are duty bound to do what we can to make life safe and comfortable for all. And when that safety and comfort is attacked it becomes our obligation to pitch in and do the right thing.


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