Alleged gang members awarded $2,000 for bail delays
Published Tuesday, July 3, 2007 6:29PM EDT
A judge has awarded nine alleged Driftwood Crips gang members $2,000 for undue delays in bail hearings following last month's massive raids in the Jane and Finch Streets neighbourhood.
"Part of the reason that the cost order was made -- and it's unusual in a criminal case -- is to denounce the conduct of the Crown, or in this case, the lack of conduct of the Crown," said defence lawyer Daniel Rechtshaffen.
In the days following the June 13 raids in North York, where 95 people were arrested, Nordheimer blasted the Crown for delaying bail hearings, calling it an unacceptable breach of fundamental rights.
Rikardo Robinson, one of the nine suspects awarded the $2,000, was released from jail on Tuesday with the Crown's consent.
But the 27-year-old cargo agent at Pearson Airport says his life has been turned upside-down by the ordeal, and he has lost his job.
"Nothing is going to change, it doesn't matter," he told reporters outside the University Avenue courthouse.
"Two thousand dollars doesn't change the fact that they kick out your door at four in the morning, handcuff your parents and younger siblings then take you to a holding cell, and you stay there all night without eating and bring you to jail, and say 'OK, take $2,000 bucks.' What does that do?"
Robinson, who has no criminal record, is charged with gangsterism and conspiracy to traffic cocaine. He spent 16 days behind bars before being freed.
"I've probably been to jail four or five times for the whole year because I know people from there ... but I have nothing to do with the Crips or other gang members," Robinson said.
Of the eight other suspected gang members, only two have been denied bail. Two still await their bail hearing, while the rest have been freed.
Members of Ontario's opposition parties were outraged by Tuesday's developments, saying taxpayers dollars are being wasted by the government's "disorganized justice."
"We're now at risk of having charges dropped and mark my words, this failure on the part of the attorney general to properly manage this process is going to result in plea bargains, reduced charges and charges being dropped and criminals being let out onto the street," said New Democrat justice critic Peter Kormos.
Progressive Conservative justice critic Christine Elliott said the ruling is a "real embarrassment" for the province.
"I would say it's totally inept from beginning to end in terms of the attorney general's handling of this. I mean this is something that had gone on for 11 months," she said.
"(Attorney General Michael Bryant) was confident that there would be enough court resources on-hand to handle it and everything fell apart at the last minute."
Bryant was not available for comment on Tuesday when contacted by CTV News.
His office says the ministry will review the court's decision and they have opened courtrooms on weekends to deal with the backlog.
With reports from CTV's Chris Eby and Paul Bliss