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Exposing Deadbeat Judges - Canada

National Post

Exposing deadbeat judges

The National Post, Wednesday, June 18, 2008, by Barbara Kay

I once sued a horse dealer for fraud. The evidence in hand was irrefutable, so justice-wise the case was a lock. Nevertheless, my world-weary lawyer, familiar with the presiding judge's record, told me I would likely torpedo my case on the witness stand. Stung, I protested I was truthful and knew my case backwards.

Precisely, he replied. This judge is a small town guy. You're too urban and obviously competent and articulate for his comfort. He'll assume you could have looked out for your interests. The defendant will play up her humble rural working life (she did) and he'll be sympathetic to her.

It was as he predicted, and I lost on a meaningless legal technicality.

One lesson of many I took from this misadventure -- the main one being that justice and judgments are two separate animals --is that although a judge must be knowledgeable in the law, he may also be a social idiot, with zero interest or ability in reading human behaviour, as well as blind to his own bias (the furious blushes that accompanied my opponent's lies, so outrageous they drew spontaneous gasps of incredulity from onlookers familiar with the facts, were ignored).

My case only involved money. Rewind my little vignette and play it out in family court where the right to parent one's own children is at stake. In 90% of disputed custody cases mothers walk away with "primary care" (in effect sole custody) of their children because, deservedly or not, judges feel sorry for them and find -- not a reason, which I learned by experience they don't actually need -- a technical or legal opening to issue the judgment they have already made in their hearts.

The introduction to a book presently nearing completion called Deadbeat Judges: How Courts Disenfranchise Fathers outlines the triple cause of the syndrome. In the absence of constitutional protection of parental rights, and masking their power-grab under the guise of "best interests of the child," courts.

Brown has seen it all: ignoring evidence, affidavits and expert testimony that favour the father have usurped disputatious parents' natural right to equal guardianship of their children. Add to that judges' superannuated impulse toward chivalry for the perceived underdog--virtually always the mother in their eyes--bolstered by a legal culture dominated by third-wave, anti-father feminism.

The result is a perfect storm favouring judicial activism for mothers: "Our Lords and Ladies reflexively defer to women in court, especially mothers. Motherhood is sacred; the role of our noble knights in shining armor on the Bench is to protect it at almost any cost."

I hasten to add that the eloquent author of Deadbeat Judges, Grant Brown, is particularly qualified to write this expose because, unlike the usual run of fathers' rights book authors, he has no personal axe to grind. He has never married and has no children, so cannot be called a "bitter loser," the usual fallback position of unsympathetic critics challenged by former litigants' unpalatable truths about the family law system.

Brown's indignation springs from his education in philosophy and ethics, and his experience as a family law lawyer, a profession he has recently abandoned because of the entire divorce industry's inherent gender iniquities.

Brown has seen it all: judges who aren't up to date on the facts of domestic violence, and so base rulings on myths and stereotypes; a "disconcerting proportion" of judges who don't know the law they are supposed to be applying or don't care to apply it when they do know; judges who ignore evidence, affidavits and expert testimony that favour the father; judges who defer "difficult" (i. e., mother-unfriendly) decisions until it is too late; judges swift to punish fathers for support payment lapses, but loath to impose consequences on mothers who flout access orders.

The six case histories Brown de-constructs are his own, therefore factually reliable, and they will make the blood of any fair-minded reader boil. But while the names of the disputants are altered to protect the children, the actual identities of the case judges are revealed. Since it is well nigh impossible to expose judges' negligence and unprofessional conduct in any other democratic way, it is time, Brown feels that demonstrably biased judges face accountability in the court of public opinion.

And public opinion, wherever it is concerned with real gender equity and the right of children to love and be loved by both their parents (in the absence of abuse), will find in these pages a damning indictment of Canada's family law system.

Copyright © 2007 CanWest Interactive, a division of CanWest MediaWorks Publications, Inc.. All rights reserved

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Committee to Repeal Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada Which Allows Hitting Children to "Correct" Them

The Repeal 43 Committee is a national, voluntary committee of lawyers, paediatricians, social workers and educators formed in 1994 to advocate repeal of section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada.

It is an offence under our Criminal Code to use force against anyone without their consent. This right to personal security is the most fundamental of all human rights. It is a protection against assault that all adults take for granted.

Children do not have the full benefit of this protection because section 43 of the Criminal Code justifies hitting children for disciplinary or "correction" reasons. This violates a child's right to the equal protection and benefit of the law guaranteed by our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

It contravenes the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. It violates a child's dignity and shows a lack of respect. It can lead to serious physical and emotional harm.

Over 400 organizations from across Canada that deal with children are against corporal punishment