report on kim rivera federal court hearing, part two

[Part one here.]

The Crown's rebuttal was short and nonsensical.

The lawyer argued that there is no evidence that war resisters were punished for their beliefs or for being outspoken, citing the negative decision in Dale Landry's case that "a handful of affidavits" does not statistical analysis make. Supposedly there are no hard numbers to prove outspoken resisters are being punished more harshly than ordinary AWOL soldiers.

In the usual dismissive, sarcastic tone that Ministry representatives take in war resister cases, Mr Gold said that naturally those people who were sentenced feel they were punished too harshly, and statements from their spouses or "professional advocates" is not real evidence.

Mr Gold also introduced new evidence from out of nowhere, handing copies of a statement to Alyssa and the clerk. This is not done: lawyers do not see evidence for the first time when they are in a courtroom. Justice Russell asked Alyssa if she was ok with this; she had to shake her head, mystified, and say, "I don't know," since she didn't know what it said.

To Alyssa's point that the PRA officer did not demonstrate that he considered the new evidence, the Crown said, in essence, "Yes he did," without offering any proof.

The Crown claimed Kim's decision to not file a conscientious objector application because she knew it would be no help was "speculative" in nature.

I'm saving the best for last. In response to Alyssa's assertion that the PRA officer did not consider what happened to AWOL soldiers who were sent back from Canada, Mr Gold said she did: right here, where she referenced the case of Mr James Corey Glass.

Corey Glass lives in Sault Ste Marie.

He was never sent back from Canada.

NCF, Allan and I were all staring at each other with our mouths hanging open, whispering, "Corey?? Corey??"

In his general closing remarks, the Crown lawyer claimed that since Kim was denied leave to appeal the negative decision in her Humanitarian & Compassionate Application, this appeal of the PRA should be automatically denied; that the court should not "hypercritically and microscopically dissect" decisions; and that Kim Rivera has already had "more than one turn at bat" (ack, baseball metaphor!) to stay in Canada.

In other words, just take our word for it, the PRA officer did her job properly, you've had your chance, now go away.

* * * *

Alyssa's rebuttal was beautiful. She's a great lawyer and a terrific speaker, but she's at her absolute best in rebuttal. Her attitude is the perfect balance of strength and respect, with just a whisper of sarcasm and disgust.

Alyssa demolished the notion that the court not granting leave to appeal an H&C has any relevance in the appeal of the PRA. Since no reasons were given for the denial of leave to appeal, it was not a comment on the merits of the case. Period.

Indeed, Alyssa showed, Kim Rivera has not had more than one turn at bat, because the issues in her case have not been properly assessed even once.

To the nonsense about Corey, Alyssa responded as if she were brushing off a fly that had landed on her robe. She remarked briefly that using the case of James Corey Glass as proof that the PRA officer examined the circumstances of other AWOL soldiers who were sent back from Canada would seem impossible, since Corey Glass lives in Canada.

Alyssa easily and definitively struck down the idea that evidence of differential treatment is supported only by the opinions of supporters. She showed how the important points being raised are not personal opinions, but facts. Evidence of the resisters' outspokenness was used against them at court martial and their opposition to the war was an aggravating factor in their sentencing. That's why Amnesty International is prepared to consider some of the war resisters prisoners of conscience if they are court martialed and imprisoned.

Alyssa refuted each and every point in a clear and thorough fashion. In her conclusion, she reiterated that the PRA officer "borrowed her analysis from a colleague" without making reference to new evidence, and suggested that if officers are permitted to borrow language from other cases in this way, perhaps "the integrity of the entire decision-making system" is compromised.

* * * *

One more note. After Alyssa's rebuttal, the Crown insisted that the PRA officer citing Corey Glass was relevant, because even though Corey wasn't sent back from Canada, there's evidence about what punishment he received.

What punishment this is or from whom Corey received it is anybody's guess. Corey lives and works in Sault Ste Marie with his wife and Canadian-born child.

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