Quebec’s broken justice system

This week-end I almost feel over with the news that i received.  the reason for my reaction, was the complete and utter disgrace that our justice system has turned into.  I will explain to the best of my ability the situation, and let you be the judge.

A good friend of the family called my house on Friday in tears.  She had just received a telephone call from her EX’s parents ( the father of her 2 children ).  They feared that he was suicidal.  Not to sound mean or anything, but our concern wasn’t that he was suicidal, but that he was suicidal, AND had custody of the kids this week-end.  The first thing she did was to tell his parents to call the police with their suspicions.  If she had called, they would have simply assumed “crazy ex-wife” and not done anything, so having the call come from HIS parents, they should probably listen.  So they called the local police station, and were told, and I quote “There is nothing we can do, nothing has happened yet”.  The police didn’t even write down their ( or their son’s ) name, or information to follow up on.

This incident comes only a short few months, after her eldest child ( almost 7 years old ) told the mother ( our friend ) and the paternal grand-parents, that “daddy leaves us alone sometimes to go play poker at his friend’s house down the street” ( first, why does a 6 year old know anything about poker ).  Some context here, this guy ( the father ), also filled for bankruptcy this past summer due to gambling debts, so gambling for him is not a hobby, but a problem.  Our friend called the police at that, and was told, unless he is caught in the act, we can’t do anything.  She also called the social worker in charge of their custody case ( shared custody ), and was told the same thing, “If we don’t catch him in the act, there is no proof, and therefor nothing we can do”.  This to me seems sad, that we need outward signs of neglect just to initiate an investigation.

So what can be done?  If she goes to get her kids, she is at fault and the courts will award him full custody. If she keeps her kids at home, the courts find her guilty ( of breaking the shared custody ruling ) and awards custody to him.  If she leaves the kids with him, isn’t she putting them in danger?  I can maybe see the reason for the police not to trust the ex-wife, but why, when its his own parents, do they not take a minute and think….maybe we should at least go and talk to him, or have the social worker go and talk to him.

Considering the NUMEROUS cases of “we need proof”, being too late, I am surprised that they aren’t trying to be more pro-active.  Just take into consideration the case of Emmanuelle and Laurie Phaneuf.  Emmanuelle went to the police station to try and get help because he was beginning to act irrational, and the police told her “He hasn’t done anything yet, so there is nothing we can do.”

I can understand that the police are over-worked, under-staffed and under paid for the work they do.  They probably also have a lot of people who create false complaints ( angry ex’s trying to get revenge ).  But at some point shouldn’t it at least be investigated.  I would much rather have it turn out to be a false alarm, then for them to ignore, and it be the real deal.

When are we, as a people, going to stand up and say “that’s enough”.  We want our justice system fixed.  Enough with raising politicians salaries and benefits.  Use some of the money that the government is collecting, and help the people.  There is a great video going around the web from the “generation we“, that you should definitely take a look at.  That simply brings to light, that if we want change, we need to take the steps to put those changes into motion.

I leave you with a question,  do you think the police should “wait for proof” before even beginning to investigate?  Where do we draw the line of reasonable cause?

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Tim Voet has been in the IT industry since 1997. Tim started his career doing tech support and network administration at a large Pharma company. He then spent the next 12 years doing development, leading and managing development teams, mostly in Java, but also some PHP, and Ruby on Rails. Tim has always hands on, and loves challenges that make most people cringe. When he isn't at work, he's spending as much time as he can with his wife and 3 boys. Life can be a busy time with that many young kids. He is currently open to new consulting opportunities, please feel free to contact him with your project information tim - at - timvoet dot com

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