Off Topic

I think, therefore I harm

Canada’s Alternate Justice System

Please note that this article was posted as an April Fool Day hoax. While some of the details were inspired by real life events, nothing should be interpreted as true.

Canada has an alternate justice system, one that is not controlled or even initiated by the government. This is something that you will barely ever hear on TV or read about in the newspaper or the Internet. Very few people wrote or talked about this, by fear of retaliation. I am taking a chance and decided to talk about it, as I suppose I should be safe since I am doing it in a nice and positive way.

As a short introduction leading to the main topic of this post, let’s mention a small bit of history for my non Canadian readers (which, it seems, is every single of my readers). Canada was founded in 1867 as a British colony, and therefore we inherited their justice system. Though I know very little about the British, I feel they probably evolved their system over the years. We, Canadians, didn’t. We are stuck with the very same system we adopted a century and a half ago.

We have ridiculously short and light sentences. If you kill a person, you get ten years. If you kill 763423 people, you still get ten years. Also, many crimes are not considered crimes. If you kill your children and then attempt and fail to kill yourself, you are not considered criminally responsible for the murder. Also, it is acceptable to kill an homosexual who courted you. On the political scene, you are allowed to steal from the public treasury if you are a former prime minister.

During the 1970s, the population revolted against that system, which was deemed a satire of justice. Many popular events were organized to send a clear message to the authorities: We want a real justice system. At first calm and pacific, these ended up in violent showdowns, leading to many innocent deaths. Things eventually calmed down, but no changes were brought to the system.

Katniss Everdeen

Katniss Everdeen – The Hunger Games (2012)
Not really related to the post, but I had to give her a place somewhere on my blog since she is cute

In April of 1978, the first of a series of surprising events occurred. A policeman was being sued for beating an unarmed man to death. The case lasted for many months, but eventually it ended up by the judge announcing that the policeman couldn’t be recognized as guilty because what he did was not a crime under any law. Then, a man entered the court room with a bow and shot the policeman dead, then fled the scene before any guard could react. Though he was being searched for weeks, he was never found.

In May of the same year, a man was recognized guilty of murdering his wife after he caught her cheating. Although it is a crime to kill someone no matter the reason, the judge explained that he could understand the man’s reaction, mentioned that he would probably have done the same, and sentenced him to the minimum allowable three months of prison. Seconds later, a lady entered the room wielding a bow and shot the man dead. She fled and was never found.

Over the next few months, a few more similar cases happened. For a while, authorities were actively investigating these cases, in the search for who was responsible for these crimes. But soon, the population realized that what these people were doing was to finally bring justice to the country, taking care of those cases which the judges couldn’t deal adequately because of lacking laws. Eventually, even the police ceased any active investigation, though not officially. By December, funny caricatures which bore no resemblance to the actual bowmen where being published in the newspapers, similar to how criminal pictures are commonly published, with captions such as “Police is actively searching for this gentleman” or “Reward $20,000 (to be paid to this man)”.

In early 1979, the name Justice Archers was coined to designate the group of archers which entered courtroom to give a better sentence to criminals. During that year, the occurrence of bowmen was more regular. It became common for people to publicly wish for the appearance of a bowman in cases where obviously guilty people were about to receive a ridiculous sentence or to get away with their crime completely. By the end of that year though, in an apparent common agreement, the media stopped mentioning these cases at all. In odd cases, it was sometimes stated that someone had been taken care of by the Justice Archers, but in most cases it was only said that justice had been brought.

By the mid-1980s, the Justice Archers were mostly considered part of the court process. A 1986 article states the case of a doctor who was guilty of raping a teenage patient. At the moment when she should have pronounced the sentence, the judge simply got up, without the ritual hammer hit, and left the room. In sync like a dance, the guards left the room too. Though the article ends there, it is generally accepted that the doctor had been taken care of.

In recent history, I don’t remember having heard of the Justice Archers explicitly in the media, though it is generally understood that they performed their duty when it is said, after the case is summarized, that the fisherman had a good day.

Please note that this article was posted as an April Fool Day hoax. While some of the details were inspired by real life events, nothing should be interpreted as true.

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9 comments on “Canada’s Alternate Justice System

  1. Lidia
    April 1, 2013

    If i would be a man, I’d totally crush all over Katniss.
    “In May of the same year, a man was recognized guilty of murdering his wife after he caught her cheating. Although it is a crime to kill someone no matter the reason, the judge explained that he could understand the man’s reaction, mentioned that he would probably have done the same, and sentenced him to the minimum allowable three months of prison.” Seriously?! That is insane and not fair.

    • Tom Duhamel
      April 1, 2013

      I think you should return to the post and read the other comments. I’m sorry 🙂

      • Lidia
        April 2, 2013

        DONT TELL ME THAT WAS AN APRIL FOOLS!
        I always fall for those jokes!

        • Tom Duhamel
          April 2, 2013

          It wouldn’t be as fun if nobody fell for it 🙂

  2. heretherebespiders
    April 1, 2013

    Hmmm… The date of this post makes me suspicious 🙂

    • Tom Duhamel
      April 1, 2013

      And indeed, you should 🙂

      For my own curiosity, at what point did you become to be suspicious?

  3. heretherebespiders
    April 1, 2013

    Ha! When there was a second archer. I was pretty damn sure after they got the name Justice Archers! 🙂

    I’ve been in a lot of courthouses, it would be HARD to sneak in a bow! But full points for creativity, and, hey, maybe you gave someone a good idea!

    • Tom Duhamel
      April 1, 2013

      How did you read that question and decided not to point out the obvious wrong word? Obviously, I meant “At what point did you BEGIN to be suspicious?” but it seems like you got it anyway.

      Indeed, courthouses are quite well guarded places. Sneaking in with a bow, quite a large weapon, hard to conceal, is probably impossible.

      After the success of “Christmas and Egypt” (my third most viewed post) I was looking forward to write something for other festivities. I considered Chinese New Year, but dropped it at the last minute because I realized that while I know a bit about it, I have absolutely no personal connection to that celebration. I really dropped Easter for both time constraint and lack of a topic (I didn’t want to write another anti-religious post this year and couldn’t think of anything interesting). About a month ago, I decided I really wanted to do something for April first. At about the same time, the concept of the Justice Archers came to me, both based on my fascination for bows, renewed by my recent viewing of The Hunger Games, and because there had been a few weird cases in a short times which all showed the deficiency of our justice system. It only been a short while before I mixed the two concepts in my head to plan this post.

      The goal of this post was to denounce a faulty system (not that this fact didn’t come to light with those late cases) while being funny. Unfortunately, all of the cases which I used are very true (though they are recent, the dates where invented to make the story plausible), except for one, the one Dianda quoted in her comment above. At that point I was wondering just how far I could go and keep the reader hooked. Of course, the system isn’t *this* bad.

      The very first paragraph was an attempt at using a notion which is common in this kind of writing. Try to mystify the reader to both intrigue and hook them into the story. The very last paragraph was a return on that mystery, and a lame attempt at trying to keep a reader hooked, if any was still hooked at that point (I’m trying to avoid poking fun at Dianda right now). The last few words (italicized) were the hint supposed to get any fish off the hook.

      Trust me, I’ve spent the entire day waiting for that moment I could finally go back home and see who, if any, got caught. Still trying to avoid… well… I’m sorry Dianda, you know I like you a lot 🙂

      • Tom Duhamel
        April 1, 2013

        Gosh I forgot….

        The very first case I mentioned is not only true, it’s terrible. A doctor killed both of his children (an apparent case of vengeance on his ex-wife), and then drank a gallon of windshield washer, this in the hope that it would look like he tried to killed himself. He is a doctor though, so he knew that windshield washer is toxic, but not lethal. Mind you, he went away with that. He was declared insane, and thus not criminally responsible for the double murder. Upon being freed, he announced his intentions to move to a different province (where it is less likely that people will know what he did), remarry and have other children.

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