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EDITORIAL: What most would call a double standard


The timing of the court matters concerning the convictions of Angela McCarthy and Sean Kelly puts a sharper focus on the matter of crime tip offs. It also brings to light a perceived double-standard on the issue.

In December, Angela McCarthy pleaded guilty to obstructing justice, a charge she originally faced in April after she tipped off some people she knew about a drug investigation — information she was aware of through her position as a civilian employee at the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary detachment in Corner Brook.

She pleaded guilty to the charge.

McCarthy appeared in court this week to hear recommendations on sentencing. While her defence lawyer called for probation, the Crown asked for jail time. The Crown wants her behind bars for tipping off an alleged criminal.

During the Sean Kelly indecent phone call case, Judge Wayne Gorman brought specific attention to the actions of Kelly’s fellow RNC officers — Sgt. Roy Elliott and Sgt. Tim Buckle — and how they conversed with Kelly on the case leading up to it.

The judge detailed how inappropriate it was for the officers to bring mention of it, let alone warn Kelly that he was a suspect in the case.

Those actions apparently didn’t warrant charges. Of course, no charges for those officers means no one will be recommending jail time.

During his visit to the west coast last month, RNC chief William Janes admitted there may have been mistakes with how the Kelly case was handled, but an internal investigation — yes, by another officer on the same force — determined no discipline was needed.

Looking to the sunny side of the street, the RNC has pledged to change the way it investigates its own. But this doesn’t — and will not — change the outcome of the McCarthy case regardless of what the sentence is.

Maybe the details were different, maybe the charges were deemed more serious and maybe the result of the actions were on opposite ends of the spectrum. But what’s reaching the public here is the appearance someone was treated differently, and that the heavy hand of the law produced an uneven swipe.

 

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