FOULDS: If rioters are truly remorseful, why the need for lawyers?
It's been a week since hundreds of idiots went on a rampage in downtown Vancouver following the Canucks’ Game 7 loss to Boston in the Stanley Cup final.
Much ink has been spilled on the riot and its aftermath, most notably the role social media (Facebook and Twitter in particular) has played in identifying the culprits.
But, within the past seven days, commentary has gone from attacking what these cretins did to criticizing some of those who are outing the guilty.
Nathan Kotylak is a 17-year-old elite water-polo player caught on camera trying to light a police car on fire.
His father is a surgeon and his mother is a registered nurse, so obviously Kotylak’s anarchistic actions are a direct result of his deeply unprivileged upbringing in the inner city that is Maple Ridge.
Kotylak turned himself in to police. His father has hired a lawyer who has already started the talk-show circuit in an obvious bid to reshape the pathetic image of his client.
Kotylak has apologized and allowed his name to be used in the media (under Canada’s Youth Criminal Justice Act, those under 18 are minors and cannot be named in criminal matters).
Kotylak is the first of many more to come — rioters who turn themselves in, offer an apology and pledge to take their punishment.
The problem is they have no choice but to do all of the above in this age of social media and TV news crews and newspaper cameras documenting every minute of their disgraceful actions.
Would these rioters be walking into police stations while uttering mea culpas if their faces had not been plastered all over the Internet?
There is only one way to find out.
If Kotylak and others truly are remorseful, there would be no need to hire lawyers, whose sole job will be to make money while getting the best deal for their clients.
If Kotylak and others are truly sorry for what they have done, they will plead guilty to charges they are facing; they will apologize in person and in public to the owners of the vehicle/business they destroyed; they will apologize in person and in public to those brave enough to try to stop the carnage, only to be pummelled by rioters; they will pay all costs required to replace and repair said vehicle/business; and they will accept without question whatever sentence is handed down in court.
A truly remorseful person would do all of the above.
My bet is not one rioter arrested and charged will do so.
My bet is all will hire lawyers and all will try their best to get the most lenient sentence possible, hoping time will help in sending their actions fading into the background of public discourse.
Quick question: Whatever happened to those black-clad idiots who broke business windows in downtown Vancouver during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games?
Don’t know? Me neither.
There will be much talk by lawyers of rioters arguing evidential minutiae.
Yet, if we have video footage of three young men flipping a vehicle, high-fiving after the act, then posing for photos in front of the overturned and now burning wreck, and we have successfully identified the three vandals, can anybody explain why there should be a court process of any kind?
If we have video of three identified goons intentionally destroying a car in the midst of a riot, should that not result in a guilty verdict and sentence immediately?
Why the need for lawyers? Why the need to set court dates ad nauseam into the next year or two?
Sending any of these rioters to jail would be less effective than forcing them to pay all damages and stand in the public spotlight as they apologize to their victims and to the city, and as they carry out whatever community-service demands imposed upon them by court.
On another note, the owners of the countless vehicles overturned and set ablaze will no doubt have their rides replaced via ICBC and private insurance companies.
Owners of businesses damaged and ransacked may have insurance protection.
Would it not make sense for ICBC and these private insurance companies to sue those responsible?
Here’s hoping the court process facing Kotylak and countless others will be followed by a very painful financial civil suit.