Column: Lessons learned

Many people feel an injustice was done with the “not guilty” decision at the Jian Ghomeshi trial.

Many people feel an injustice was done with the “not guilty” decision at the Jian Ghomeshi trial, but the presumption of innocence is the foundation of criminal justice and our basic human rights.

Those rights are protected by the courts, they are not dependent on public opinion.

Given the circumstances, Judge William Horkins could hardly have ruled otherwise.

I do wonder though if the outcome would be different if the three women who accused Mr. Ghomeshi had been better prepared for the court proceedings. There are lessons to be learned. An assault should be reported right away, not years later (13 in this case) when memories could be fuzzy. Accusers should reveal all the circumstances surrounding the assault no matter how kinky it appears.

The system obviously doesn’t work if Crown prosecutors are blindsided because they don’t have all the information. Also there should be help, support and counselling available to the accusers so they know what to expect in court. I was pleased to hear that our local Women’s Contact group is receiving provincial funding for a Sexual Assault Community Response Team that will provide the resources to victims of sexual assault.

***

Most of us are enjoying the early spring in the Cariboo. Data released this month from NASA showed February was the warmest February in the 157 years of recorded history.

That news, along with reports of the faster-than-predicted melting of Arctic ice, has climate scientists having a second look at their projections. Not to worry, though.

Premier Christy Clark recently appointed Fazil Mihlar as Deputy Minister of Climate Leadership. His mandate is to help lead the creation of B.C.’s new Climate Leadership Plan. Mr. Mihlar has a distinguished background in the private sector, but is not known as a champion of the environment. According to reports, when he was a director at the Fraser Institute (which questions the science of climate change) Mr. Mihlar co-authored a paper that, among other things, advised BC to do away with its Environmental Assessment Act. Many will be watching his new role with interest.

Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.