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Letter: Contempt of court is meaningless

Maybe, because we were seen as commie-pinko-radicals halting the wheels of industry

Contempt of court is meaningless

It wasn’t too many years ago when contempt of court meant something.

In my lifetime when loggers and sawmill workers were off the job on a legal strike, it wasn’t long before the police arrived and arrested anyone blocking the road to logging camps and in front of the gates of the sawmills.

They were taken away and put in the lock-up for a few hours before being brought before a judge. There was no catch-and-release in those days. The judge, in no uncertain terms, told the offenders not to block company access again. If they did it again, justice was swifter, jail again, this time longer and then up before the judge.

This is where contempt of court meant something. Judges don’t like to be insulted because it defied the dignity of judges, the courts, its officers and the legal system.

Society and the law needed to be protected from the likes of these lawless strikers. Besides having an angered lecture from a judge it also might mean automatic jail time and a fine that a worker on a legal strike often could not pay. There was no Facebook begging for donations or professional fundraising in those days, getting instant freedom.

Now, however the courts are so lenient the law breakers go back and break the law, and contempt of court, again and again knowing those three words are meaningless. Not only do they ignore the courts and law, they add to the workload of police trying to uphold the law.

So why is it that some years ago the term contempt of court meant more to the judges and prosecutors than it does today? Maybe, because we were seen as commie-pinko-radicals halting the wheels of industry. Now it seems, the let’s-save-a-tree people are children and grannies from very good families and need to be treated differently.

I hope not.

Ken McEwan

Duncan

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