Turning inner space into outer space

January 7, 2011

Excuses, excuses

You can’t blame a defence lawyer for trying to mitigate the circumstances of his client’s misdeeds — it’s all part of the give and take of sentencing in the justice system. But there were some particularly feeble excuses in the case of a 33-year-old Williams Lake man who talked a 14-year-old Kamloops girl into having sex with him via messages on Facebook.

Excuse number 1: He looked much younger at the time. The law doesn’t take into account what you look like. It refers only to your actual age. He was an adult, and it’s against the law for adults to take advantage of children.

Excuse number 2: He is “intellectually challenged,” and thus sought girls he considered to be his intellectual equal. Not to put too fine a point on it, but this phrase is a politically correct way of saying stupid, inferior, or uneducated. If we were to let people off for being “intellectually challenged,” we could close down at least half the prisons.

In a similar case last summer, a 24-year-old Prince Edward Island man was found guilty of almost exactly the same offence — trying to lure a 14-year-old girl into sex via Facebook. They apparently never did the deed, but what the man did do was clearly wrong. Here is what the Crown lawyer had to say:

“There may very well be people who have not yet realized that using a computer, or by means of a computer, (and) having sexual conversations with an underage person is an offence and they may well face charges.”

This time, the defence’s excuse was that the girl was an active participant in the Facebook conversations. The judge, quite rightly, said this was irrelevant.