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Colin Randall wrote here on France, things Anglo-French and more......but has moved

November 15, 2006

Qualities of mercy

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Of two reports from Canada, both of which I must take at face value, one does deal with the Nathalie Gettliffe affair and one does not.

When I express the hope that this wretched woman will be dealt with mercifully two weeks from now, I respectfully draw the sentencing judge's attention to the second matter, a quite extraordinary case that has nothing to do with her.

I had just finished reading the Globe and Mail website account of the latest judicial attack on Gettliffe, this time by one Madam Justice Nicole Garson, when I saw another Canadian court report.

Pair held teen girls as sex slaves, ran the headline to a story from the Court of Queen's Bench in Manitoba.

The crimes of this evil pair, accused in connection with vile sexual assaults on two abducted girls aged 12 and 13, make for sickening reading. The woman's role included holding one victim by the shoulders while her companion raped her. She "played no part in the abduction", the judge said, but was guilty of forcible confinement.

The couple have had their comeuppance. But those tough-on-crime, show-'em-no-compassion champions of Canadian justice who inhabit this blog will have some explaining to do if a Vancouver judge comes down heavily on Gettliffe when she is sentenced (I am told on Dec 1).

For that comeuppance amounted, for our friendly neighbourhood sex fiends, to 10 years for the man, four for the woman. Credits for time served awaiting trial mean that man will serve only seven years for ruining two girls' lives.

Astonishingly, his co-accused qualified for almost immediate release under the so-called two-for-one scheme taking account of her two years spent in custody.

Nathalie Gettliffe was foolish and wrong to take her two children by her former husband, Scott Grant, to France in defiance of a court order. She may, as Judge Garson implied in the latest hearing, have begun criticising the religious activites of her former husband only after her flight.

I remain of the view that the humanitarian approach would nevertheless have been to grant Gettliffe bail, on whatever terms Canadian judges chose to impose, rather than force her to give birth as a prisoner and keep that poor infant in jail for the first weeks of his life.

That doesn't mean I swallow the more extravagant claims of some of Gettliffe's supporters about the treatment she has received in prison. I have no reliable information on suggestions that at least one suspected killer and people accused of serious drug offences have been freed on bail within the same jurisdiction that requires a heavily pregnant woman to be locked up in a child custody case.

Nor do I see it as especially edifying to see Gettliffe putting herself up for the French presidency.

Judge Garson appears to have made some compelling points, while refusing Gettliffe joint custody of Grant's children, about the effects of her actions. She had denied the children, she said, "permission to love their father" by taking them to France despite the court order and then vilifying him.

While I would not like to give the impression that this seemed an even-handed judgment, Judge Garson did increase Gettliffe's disgracefully meagre access to the children.

She also ordered that a neutral French speaker should be present at these meetings - once a fortnight under the more generous provisions - to prevent disparaging remarks about Grant or his religion. I am aware of no such order restraining Grant in what he says to the children (or the Canadian press) about their mother.

But let us get back to the kidnappers and where I feel their treatment has some bearing on what the Gettliffe sentencing judge, whoever this turns out to be, has to decide.

Assuming - big assumption, I know - that we now more or less know the worst about Gettliffe, is there a judge in British Columbia who could review the two cases and regard her as meriting a moment's further imprisonment? Another learned man of the bench has, after all, set down two years in pre-trial custody as a sanction stiff enough for a woman involved in what the Globe and Mail called "one of the province's most shocking sex crimes"?

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20 Comments:

At November 15, 2006 4:20 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

In tomorrow's blog: Colin Randall compares apples with oranges. His disingenuousness is beginning to border on dishonesty.
For the record, there is every likelihood that the Crown will appeal the derisory sentence handed down to the two Manitoba sex criminals. There's also every likelihood that Nathalie Gettliffe will walk free on Dec. 1.

 
At November 15, 2006 6:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

By chance I came across a website run by supporters of Nathalie Getliffe, which promised to answer any questions posted. I would be tempted to ask:
1. Did she break the law of Canada?
2. Has she since pleaded guilty to the charge?
3. Is she now awaiting sentencing with or without psychiatric reports?
4. Where would you place her, Colin Randall, in a list of ladies deprived of their liberty, headed by Aung San Suu Kyi and Ingrid Bettancourt?
5. Could we just leave Canadian justice to do its job without the whole world giving inexpert and uninformed advice?

SH

 
At November 15, 2006 6:48 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

This sounds like a direct attack on the sweepers of the world. You are ignorant and uninfomed so you have no right to an opinion. It will be a sad day indeed when the rest of the world stops worrying about young mothers having babies in prisons.

 
At November 15, 2006 7:02 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Nathalie Gettliffe didn't have her baby in prison. To quote from a newspaper story I posted on Colin's Oct. 27 "Back Soon" blog:
"Ms. Gettliffe gave birth in late September to her new son, Martin, at a public hospital near the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women...
"Since the birth, she has been given a single room in a special wing of the medium-security prison to allow her to care for the baby."

 
At November 15, 2006 7:36 PM, Blogger Colin Randall said...

In other words, gave birth as a prisoner, wherever delivery took place. And baby's in prison. Which is what I wrote.

If I treat with caution the wilder claims of the Gettliffe camp about the details of her imprisonment, allow me to be sceptical about the home-from-home impression given in some Canadian reports, including Bill Taylor's contributions.

SH may be right to trust Canadian judges more than he, by implication, trusts Burmese judges. But it will be a sad day for democracy and decency when judges anywhere can act without the least public scrutiny.

 
At November 15, 2006 7:43 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

That is indeed what you wrote, Colin. But it's not what Richard wrote. Don't be so egotistical!
And surely not even you at your most disingenuous would compare Canadian and Burmese judges or the "democracy and decency" of the two countries. Canada's judges are wide-open to public scrutiny and comment. Burma's are anything but.

 
At November 15, 2006 7:56 PM, Blogger anne gilbert said...

Attention to detail.
Ability to express one's self.
Assuredness in point of view.
A solid Brit of great courage.

With all these attributes, and there are others,Colin Randall should be joining MI6.

MI6 are you reading this?

Mercy.If they cannot see ASA.

 
At November 15, 2006 8:16 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

Bill at least I am relieved to learn that Canadian prisons don't have functioning maternity wards in them. They have to outsource. Is that for cost reasons or lack of volume?

 
At November 15, 2006 8:20 PM, Anonymous SH said...

Well, thanks a bunch Roo! So I am ignorant and uninformed and have no right to an opinion. Do all these taxes you constantly boast about paying in France entitle you to your own "milice" to march people like me off to Drancy or the Vel d'Hiv?

It would be a better day for the world if young mothers thought about their actions so they didn't have to give birth in prison.

And Colin Randall, it would be a sad day for justice if judges had to consider public opinion instead of the law.

 
At November 15, 2006 8:30 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

I just accessed on-line a British Home Office report on prison babies. It seems there are four jails in the U.K. with units (a total of 64 places) accommodating mothers and their babies up to the age of 18 months. The report says: "The Prison Service often faces pressure to expand these facilities to cater for older children." Think of all those warders becoming honorary aunties.

 
At November 15, 2006 9:07 PM, Anonymous anonymous/brain dead said...

Just Thought I'd Say Hi !!!!!

I'm Having my Lobotomy Tomorrow. Doc Says It Might Improve My Personality!!!!!!

Blue Cross/Blue Shield Refusing to Provide Cover!! Write to Your Congressman/Senator Now !!!!

Switch on your anti-spam filter, Colin Randall !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 
At November 15, 2006 9:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Colin, to get rid of spam, use the letter identification system where posters have to copy down a number of letters into a box. That should remove your 'make a million' spammers.

 
At November 15, 2006 9:13 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Don't disturb him, Sarah. He's signing up to see if it works...

 
At November 15, 2006 9:14 PM, Anonymous the real anonymous(accept no other) said...

tell Colin Berry to flog his get rich quick schemes on his own blog not ours

 
At November 15, 2006 9:19 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Political update: I see from the Tokyo newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun, that Japan's sanctions against North Korea have been expanded to include a ban on exports of jewellery and perfume to the rogue state.
That should make them rethink their nuclear ambitions!

 
At November 15, 2006 9:37 PM, Anonymous real anonymous(accept no other) said...

Cancel that last message !

Having one of my bouts of repetitive c**p syndrome. Takes form of mindlessly reflecting imagined insults, long after the threat has been removed. Anyone know where I can get a cheap lobotomy ?

 
At November 15, 2006 10:02 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Procedural question, Colin: If you get rid of the spam posts, does it not also make sense to get rid of the legitimate posts pertaining to the spam, which now make very little sense? Just asking.

 
At November 15, 2006 10:25 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

Sh You didn't catch my meaning. The 'you' was not you. It was what one would call in a more sophisticated language 'on' or 'man'. That is I was honing in on your statement that "Could we just leave Canadian justice to do its job without the whole world giving inexpert and uninformed advice?" Which seems to me to be outrageous, implying that only the legal profession has a right to an opinion on whether Getliffe should be in gaol or not.

The tax issue on which I have had no satifactory response is as follows. I object to people who oppose tax harmonisation and tax equalisation within Europe and who then go to a low tax area when they are young and high earning, followed by going to a country with excellent public services for a comfortable later life. It is cynical opportunism. This is not aimed at any individual but as a general point and notably the 200,000 odd UK citizens now living in France.

 
At November 30, 2006 9:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I expect that in line with the previous conduct and comments of Judge Nicole Gerson, and the actions of the British Columbia Supreme Court, Prosecutors and Social Services, that Nathalie Gettliffe will be sentenced to the maximum 10 years in prison, and that sole custody of her children will be awarded to her ex-husband Scott Grant. Visitation rights will continue to be limited to two visits per month (which will not take place for reasons conjured by Mr. Grant, B.C. Social services and/or the penal system)in the presence of a "neutral" French speaking witness and representatives of B.C. Social Services Any free expression ofcriticism of Scott Grant or the Universal Church of Christ will not be permitted, although no such restrictions will be placed on Mr. Grant re: criticsm of Ms. Gettliffe. Mr. Grant will contine to have right of censorship and control of any communication between the children, relatives, friends and the partner of Ms. Gettliffe. I further believe that a pretext will be found to remove her son Martin from the custody of Ms. Gettliffe at the earliest possible opportunity. I believe that during her incarceration that Ms. Getliffe will be charged with child support payments payable to the Mr. Grant for the children's care. In addition I predict that the children on reaching majority will have nothing further to do with Mr. Grant. With good fortune (although reasons may well be found to extend Ms. Gettliffes time in prison and/or a penal mental health care facility) she may be released in 2016. I believe that on reaching their majority the children will have no further contact with their birth father. There will be no justice in this case.

 
At April 22, 2007 4:04 PM, Blogger help alienated parents said...

The reason Mr. Grant was awarded sole custody and right of censorship and control of any communication between the children, relatives, friends and the partner of Ms. Gettliffe is that he was proven to be the best parent to act in the children's best interest. It has never been proven or even suggested by anyone (other than Mrs Getliffe) that he has ever disparaged her to his children. Before everyone takes such a hardline against him look up parental alienation syndrome. The damage Mrs. Getliffe has done to these chidren is likely irreparable.

 

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