Day: February 12, 2015

Deadly Valentine (Throwback Thursday)

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By Jenneth Hogan

valentineI think it’s safe to assume that we’ve all heard of the infamous Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre of 1929. The massacre was the subject of Roger Corman’s 1967 film of the same name, was masterfully used as a plot device in the 1959 film Some Like It Hot and was mentioned in two episodes of The Golden Girls, when Sophia claims to have been a witness. Even the 1974 album Alice Cooper’s Greatest Hits features artwork depicting the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre on the cover. All the hubbub has lead me to wonder what other like-minded criminals just weren’t feeling the love on February 14. Turns out, to my horror, it’s a popular day for murder.

  • On February 14, 1779, Captain James Cook, the great English explorer and navigator, is killed in a mob by natives of Hawaii during his third visit to the Pacific island group.
  • In 1928, at the age of 28, George Edmund Jackson committed murder during a robbery in Waskatenau, AB. The victim, Nelle Pendleton, was struck by an axe. The accused was sentenced to the death penalty, which was later commuted to life in prison.
  • In 1945, Lawrence Ross Barrs committed murder and arson when he struck Frank Bishop Thomas with an axe and set his house on fire, in Bowness, AB. He was originally sentenced to the death penalty but was granted a new trail and later acquitted.
  • In 1998, Kimberly Hricko, an operating room technician from Laurel, MA, carried out a scheme to murder her husband and cash in on insurance claims worth $400,000. She’d been planning the murder for months. Finally, on a vacation her husband booked, she slipped him muscle relaxants stolen from her hospital job and injected him with the hard to detect poison Succinylcholine Chloride. In an effort to cover up her tracks, she set fire to the resort room where they were staying. A pack of cheap cigars and a false story about a smoking accident were set in place to keep them covered. The only problem, she had talked about the idea to her closest friends months earlier. On March 20, 1998, Hricko was sentenced to life in prison +30 years. If you’re looking for a great way to pass some time, the judgment goes as far as citing some of Shakespeare’s finest.
  • This year will mark the 10-year anniversary of the assassination of former Lebanon Prime Minister Rafic Hariri. Explosives equivalent of around 1,000 kilograms of TNT were detonated as his motorcade drove near the St. George Hotel in Beirut, killing Hariri and 21 others. 1 According to Israeli daily Ha’aretz, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, along with an independent investigation carried out by the Lebanese Internal Security Forces Intelligence Branch, had found compelling evidence for the responsibility of Lebanese militia Hezbollah in the assassination.
  • In an attempt to recoup his pride and position as head of the family, “Andy” Long Phi Nguyen shot and killed his ex-wife in their Vancouver home in 2012. Andy had tried to give his ex a Valentine’s rose earlier in the day and claims to have left feeling slighted after she rejected his advances. High on cocaine, he returned with a gun in hand. The media has suggested he would have shot another occupant of the house if the gun hadn’t have jammed, giving them time to tackle Nguyen and hold him down until police arrived. Nguyen was well-known to police prior to the incident for drug-related offences.
  • Oscar Pistorius, South African sprint runner, accidentally shot his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, in 2014 when he thought she was an intruder. Pistorius was cleared of murder charges on the basis that he did not intentionally shoot Ms. Steenkamp. He was, however, found guilty of culpable homicide and sentenced to five years imprisonment. Judge Masipa gave prosecutors leave to appeal against the murder acquittal, but not the five-year sentence given for the lesser charge of culpable homicide. The appeal will take place sometime this year.

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! And while you’re over-indulging on red- and pink-foiled chocolates, remember: be kind to one another.



1 Issacharoff, Avi (2010-11-09). “Report: Hariri tribunal to link top Hezbollah figures to assassination”. Ha’aretz.



New Books in the Library

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By Sarah Roussel-Lewis

Recently added to our collection:
NewBkLengthyImprisonmentOn the Outside: From Lengthy Imprisonment to Lasting Freedom
By Melissa Munn and Chris Bruckert
UBC Press
240 pages

From the passage of Bill C-10, with its punitive, tough-on-crime provisions, to sensationalist media accounts of dangerous ex-convicts, it is evident that Canada is a country that is taking an increasingly hard line on crime. The truth is, however, that the vast majority of prisoners who serve out their sentences do not re-offend, but rather reintegrate into society and never see the inside of a prison cell again. Why, then, is there such a lack of focus on successful resettlement — not only by politicians and journalists but also in criminology research?

NewBkAboriginalLawAboriginal Law: Commentary and Analysis
By Thomas Isaac
Purich Publishing
448 pages

Thomas Isaac highlights the most important aspects of Canadian law as it impacts on Aboriginal peoples and their relationship with the wider Canadian society. While covering important issues such as Aboriginal and treaty rights, constitutional issues, land claims, self-government, provincial and federal roles in dealing with Aboriginal peoples, the rights of the Métis, and the Indian Act, this book pays particular attention to the Crown’s duty to consult. In discussing the Crown’s duty to consult the author canvasses when and to whom the duty applies. He also highlights the role of governments in reconciling Aboriginal interests with the needs of Canadian society as a whole. The Supreme Court of Canada is clear that the objective of achieving reconciliation lies primarily with governments.

NewBkAboriginalHealthMoving Aboriginal Health Forward: Discarding Canada’s Legal Barriers
By Yvonne Boyer
Purich Publishing
224 pages

Continuing the theme of social determinants of health, this book is an historical examination of Canadian legal regimes and the negative impact they have had on the health of Aboriginal peoples. Everything from the early ban on traditional practices to the constitutional division of powers is examined (including who is responsible for off-reserve Indians under the Constitution). The author argues there is a clear connection between the health of individuals and the legal regime under which they live, and that our legal regime is one of the determinants of health. She contrasts the state of Aboriginal health in pre-contact days with their health today. The book provides comprehensive reviews of both health statistical data, historical practices aimed at Aboriginal peoples, and an analysis of legal principles that have developed in Canadian law as it applies to Aboriginal peoples. It outlines how commitments made by treaty and Supreme Court of Canada rulings on Aboriginal rights, the duty to consult, and the special constitutional status of Aboriginal peoples can be used to advance the health of Aboriginal peoples. The book concludes with a practical framework for the reconciliation of Aboriginal health and healing practices within Canadian society.

NewBkDutytoConsultRevisiting the Duty to Consult Aboriginal Peoples
By Dwight G. Newman
Purich Publishing
184 pages

Since the release of The Duty to Consult in 2009, there have been many important developments on the duty, including three major Supreme Court of Canada decisions. Both the Supreme Court and lower courts have grappled with many questions they had not previously answered, and these very attempts have raised yet new questions. Governments, Aboriginal communities, and industry stakeholders have engaged with the duty to consult in new and probably unexpected ways, developing policy statements or practices that build upon the duty to consult, but often use it only as a starting point for different discussions. At the same time, evolving international legal norms have come to engage with the duty to consult in new ways that may have further impact in the future.

Professor Newman clarifies the duty to consult as a constitutional duty, offers some approaches to understanding the developing case law at a deeper and more principled level, and suggests possible future directions for the duty to consult in Canadian Aboriginal law. The duty to consult has a fundamental importance for all Canadians, yet misunderstandings of the doctrine remain widespread. This book will help address many of those misunderstandings.