- Robert Marshall - Judge joins silly parade - Robert Marshall - Judge joins silly parade

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Judge joins silly parade


Lunacy trampled justice in Winnipeg recently, leaving its biggest footprint yet.

Last week Judge Ted Lismer decided the fate of an addicted thug who robbed three businesses and threatened a young woman at knifepoint while he sexually assaulted her.

Christopher Irvine, 42, terrorized real people in a real community. But the judge ruled the goon was worthy of the community's trust. So the thug avoided real consequence and stays home where he can soak in a tub, smoke cigars, whatever.

And it was as simple as saying he'd been good while on bail. Nobody really checked.

In the circumstances, bail was a generous gift. And it was a gift that kept on giving. Because he cashed in his on-bail time for reduced punishment. That reduction allowed for a conditional sentence. That means he can stay home. And we should all just trust a sexual offender with an addiction who wields a knife.

Credit for time while out on bail is a whole new game for Winnipeg justice fans. But not in Ontario, according to the thug's lawyer, Sarah Inness.

She's right. This type of "progress" left its mark in Ontario some time ago. The murder of Andy Moffitt says it all.

Andy was a young and promising Ottawa engineering student who tried to break up a fight in a bar two days before Christmas in 1998. He was killed when one of the brawlers, a punk drug dealer named Henry Danninger, plunged a knife into him.

Toronto Sun columnist Mark Bonokoski followed and wrote about the case. After his arrest, Danninger was released on bail with an overnight curfew and the usual keep-the-peace-and-be-of-good-behaviour. But he had issues.

While on bail, the Sun reported that Danninger "began skulking out of his mother's house after midnight, armed with a bucket of urine and feces he had hidden away in the garage. And then he took that bucket and poured its contents over his neighbour's car and driveway."

The regular nature of the attacks prompted that victim to set up video surveillance. Danninger was caught "not once or twice, but on 24 separate occasions. The assaults were virtually nightly. Urine over the car, feces in the driveway, sardines on the doorstep." His bail was yanked.

In 2003 Andy Moffit was posthumously awarded the Governor General's Medal of Bravery -- the same year Danninger was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Roydon Kealey, who doled out his own awards to the convicted killer.

Danninger's sentence was reduced to recognize the time he sat in jail awaiting trial. Even though he was locked up because of his issues with urine and feces.

It gets better. Judge Kealey gave him two-for-one credits for the time he spent loafing at home before his bail was revoked. And incredibly, his credits "included the 24 days during which he snuck out on his midnight prowls to pour buckets of urine over his neighbour's car."

Danninger ended up serving three years. Never was there more perfect nonsense. And now Judge Lismer has joined that perfectly silly parade.

Parliament must quit stalling and start listening to Canadians. Outlaw conditional sentences for all violence, set minimum sentences for crimes involving weapons and bring sentence calculation back to the real world. It's time to quit toying with victims' lives. It's time to grow up.

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   Andy's Story
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