My statement to the court, judge(s), plea dealers and rules writer(s):
“What cave do you operate and dwell in?”
Thank you Mr. Mason for this vital reporting.
Shame on the judge. Shame on the court. Shame on the rules. Shame on the lawyers.
Heather Mallick@HeatherMallick March 15, 2023:
It’s the years that wear you down. When a man like Richard Oliver of Chilliwack, B.C. harasses a woman online, he can be stopped. The court didn’t bother.
The three words a court wouldn’t allow Jody Vance to say to her online abuser by Gary Mason, March 14, 2023, The Globe and Mail
There isn’t a day that goes by in this country when there aren’t hundreds, likely thousands, of people who are the target of some form of online harassment and abuse.
In recent weeks we have seen Canada’s Governor-General, Mary Simon, speak out about the racist and misogynistic vitriol she has been subject to online. It became so bad she turned off the comments on all her social media accounts.
In a recent round of media interviews, Ms. Simon spoke about the need to have a national “conversation” about the problem. With all due respect to the Governor-General, the time for talk has long since passed. We desperately need action.
The federal Liberals have promised legislation to deal with online hate but nothing has happened. The Conservatives have already signalled that they will resist any law that restricts a person’s freedom of expression.
Meantime, the online hatred and provocation that too many people are subjected to every day, particularly women and often women of colour, persists. The journalist Rachel Gilmore, who has been open about the threats and abuse she has received in the past, recently went public with messages she received after announcing she’d been laid off by Global News. Many expressed delight she’d lost her job. Others said they hoped she died a terrible death from cancer.
It takes enormous courage and an abnormal level of determination to try and bring these horrible people to justice. Ask Jody Vance.
Ms. Vance is a Vancouver talk show host (and formerly the first woman to anchor her own prime-time sports show in Canada) who was the victim of internet stalking and harassment by a man who lived 90 minutes from her home. It began in 2015, with the person taking issue with what he perceived to be her liberal viewpoints on matters in the news. It would get progressively worse.
He barraged her with an endless stream of misogynistic and violent messages. One included a photo of starving Jewish prisoners in Nazi Germany, with the message that she and her young son belonged “in a concentration camp to be punished.” Threatening her son was her breaking point.
The harasser also began sending sexualized images of Ms. Vance, which he copied to others in the media, including her bosses.
She reported the harassment to police in 2019. By then, a media colleague had helped reveal the man’s true identity. He was eventually charged with criminal harassment. Last week, he pleaded guilty. His penalty? Twelve months’ probation and an edict to stay away from Ms. Vance and some others in the media he had bothered.
Ms. Vance was understandably upset by the sentence, which she characterized as a slap on the wrist. It reaffirmed the broad view that criminal harassment penalties are rarely meaningful.
During the sentencing, Ms. Vance got to her harasser, Richard Oliver of Chilliwack, B.C., and tell him about the damage that he had caused. She described having to go to her son’s high school with a photo of Mr. Oliver, telling the principal: If you see this person, call the police.
She had to undergo therapy. She had to take unpaid leaves from work to deal with stress. Ms. Vance estimated that the professional job opportunities she had to pass up because of the emotional turmoil in her life cost her “tens of thousands of dollars.” She was forced to surround her home with security cameras. She changed the licence plate number on her car.
“I hope you find and fix what is broken in you,” Ms. Vance told the court, while staring directly at Mr. Oliver. “I hope you fix the thing that gives you pleasure attacking anyone in this way.”
Imagine all the people out there who have also been ruthlessly pursued by someone hiding behind an anonymous façade. Few are inclined to exert the enormous personal energy it takes to bring such a person to justice.
And when other victims see the pathetically light sentence that Ms. Vance’s aggressor received for years of harassment, it will make even more of them question the wisdom of trying to bring their perpetrators to justice. What is the point?
Ms. Vance told me that she had to present the court with her victim impact statement ahead of time to see if it was appropriate. In one paragraph, she described having to show her young son a photo of Mr. Oliver, instructing him to immediately run to safety if he ever saw the man.
“Shame on you,” Ms. Vance wrote, in the hopes of looking Mr. Oliver in the eye as she said it.
Those were the only three words the court made her cut out of her statement.
She should have also turned around, looked the judge in the eye, and said the same three words.
Practical Guy from Alberta:
I think most victims of crime in Canada could say this to most judges. Ridiculously light sentences for life changing actions.
Ridiculously light sentence for the perpetrator. He should have served time in prison. Ms Vance should have been permitted to say whatever she wanted to him.
Shame on the court!
There is a failure of policing in this country. Police ignoring serious threats and victim blaming. But we do need to be careful to avoid conflating mean things people say with actual criminal harassment. Celebrating someone’s job loss and wishing ill health on someone is awful and vile, but is not criminal. (btw, I’m not trying to minimize, just trying not to have the moderator ding me for repeating the statements in the article) Whereas, making threats of violence, stalking, and non-consensual sharing of intimate images is absolutely criminal – and our police and justice system needs to take it far more seriously. Jody Vance is right – 12 months probation is a slap on the wrist.
We see similarly insufficient sentences for sexual crimes in Canada.
I’m worried that we are going to try to solve this by criminalizing the mean things people say online via the online harms legislation that Mason references, and not address the completely inadequate enforcement of our existing laws against harassment and uttering threats.
It scares me that a person who has demonstrated such sadistic behaviour is out there. It is difficult to determine a sentence appropriate for the years of terror that Ms. Vance endured, but it sure isn’t a year of probation.
Shame on the court for requiring her to cut those three words from her statement!!
Said Judge must have recently taken one of those socio-psychological courses where certain words like “shame” are not to be used any longer. We don’t like words like that in general but feeling shame is a powerful tool to motivate some people to start looking at their behaviour. The Judge and the court should have deep shame for insisting Ms Vance not use the word. Coming from her it would have been powerful. And the sentence is comic.
Unfortunately, it’s not the judge who decides. It’s clearly spelled out in the rules when writing a victim impact statement. I had to write two and you basically couldn’t say anything to express how you really felt.
It’s intended to protect the guilty party and not the victims.
Shame on Canada for putting criminals ahead of victims.
Sorry Ms Vance, what a terrible experience for you and your family. Laws and sentencing should help protect our law abiding citizens and promote the caring of and respecting of others. Shame on our legal system for having you and your family tortured for so long and then adding more pain in failing to sentence your torturer appropriately.
Thank you Gary Mason for giving Jody Vance those words that the court denied.
Here’s three words: misogynistic cowardly looooser. Now let’s see if the GM’s moderators are as bad as the court’s.
… So the sublime sentence handed out in this case, by an uncaring judge, is a product of the progressive politics that dominate Canada’s justice system.
Btw, technically speaking the crime described here is labeled “non-violent”. No, it is a violent crime.
Yet again the law proves that it is indeed an ‘equus asinus’
The perp should have rec’d 1‐5 years.
P Cube 1″
Surely, the penalties for this crime must be more severe…
Canadian judges, largely misogynistic, are appointed by largely misogynistic politicians to protect the rich and powerful (most of them white men) that help the politicians get elected, many of whom are abusers of women, and or rapists and pedophiles. Look to the reported “creepy” circus our Supreme Court of Canada J Russell Brown (appointed by Steve Harper) has been up to, so vile, he was suspended, indefinitely. J Brown is the ultimate example. I’ve experienced unwanted touching by men, usually old white men, all my life. When I said/say stop, they didn’t/don’t. It’s vile and creepy and wrong!
“Bowmaster told (Officer Balcom in a recorded interview) Justice Brown kissed her daughter on the cheek or neck while at the same time making sexual advances on her, the mother. ‘I felt like he was coming on to me while he was touching her – super creepy’.”
Some lawyers known to be abusers of women and pedophiles are appointed judges (e.g. Steve Harper also appointed hideous known pedophile Vic Toews to the bench in Manitoba). Did Harper know of Russell Brown’s inclinations when he appointed him to our highest court? Was Brown appointed and quickly promoted up the ranks to ensure inappropriate treatment of women continues/escalates?
Self regulators of lawyers licence known convicted pedophiles to practice law; judges come from lawyers.
I expect many judges, politicians and church leaders love this nothing punishment and the years of horror Ms. Vance endured. Some men are incredibly weak cowards; many women are strong. By abusing women and or kids, weak men think they become courageous and powerful.
People believe we pay judges to serve justice and protect the public interest. Hog wash. Judges’ jobs are not to uphold the so called rule of law. The rule of law is a rich white man’s club used to punish those of us the rich don’t like or want out of their raping ways, or to punish those of us who dare seek justice or report crimes. Heavens to Betsy! Our police have better things to do like rape women and beat up kids themselves and party with violent criminals instead of policing, e.g. party with the fucker truckers that were clearly breaking the law, violently abusing an entire city, and assaulting kids and health care workers (most of whom are women) across Canada just for wearing masks during a pandemic.
Judges’ jobs are to protect white men, the rich and powerful, and the status quo, including abusers of women, and to keep ever more money rolling in for the rich. If judges dish out appropriate penalties, other perps may hesitate before raping, stalking, harassing, violently threatening women. The patriarchy and religions won’t stand for that because violent offenders serve a vital role by terrifying women, and trying to keep us subservient. Fuck that shit. I applaud Ms. Vance.
Enough already. The victim pays while the aggressor sits on his behind. Society needs to realize we cannot financially give mental assistance to all while people are dying in our emergency rooms. Make such aggressors re-imburse all cost to the victim plus impose a fine and/or jail time.
She should have said them anyway.
The courts forget that they are the instruments of the Canadian citizenry. They continue to demonstrate an elitist insular narrow minded undemocratic view on life.
What message does this harasser’s slap on the wrist send to other victims of harassment considering going to the police and what message does it send to harassers who would like to victimize others? Terrible.
People of this guy’s ilk will do anything to harass/stalk their victims. The court sentence was pathetic to say the least. It is obvious to me this judge has never suffered from harassment and has no idea of the damage it does. Forbidding her to say “shame on you” just proves the point. What we need is less focus on the offender and a larger focus on the victim.
I would have said shame on you with or without the court’s blessing.Me too. But, I expect the punishment for doing so would be more severe than the perp got in this case. I expect the judge would have held Ms. Vance in contempt, and grossly fined her, and or put her in jail to set an example.
I was assaulted by an oil driller twice my size. I was bleeding badly inside and out and needed stitches. The police interrogated me for hours trying to make me admit guilt, letting me bleed. They treated me like the criminal, and refused to take me to the hospital first. Many months later, I was asked to come to Ponoka Court, to give a statement at the man’s trial (he had also assaulted others that night). I had to take the day off work, drive many hours, only to sit in disgust and hear the judge let the man go – without hearing my statement at all – because the man had just gotten out of jail for assaulting someone else the night he assaulted me and the others, and industry needed him on the oil rigs.
Ugga Ugga, Caveman Canada.
Those three little words encapsulate the modern ethic that we must not shame anyone. Shame is an important part of both punishment and deterrence. It’s no coincidence that the court that banned shaming Richard Oliver also declined to punish him in any meaningful way.
There is another side to this, of course. Shame and punishment are cruel and ineffective when criminal behaviour is caused by mental illness. Mental health assessment should be routine, not just a defence lawyer’s optional ploy. Online harassers certainly deserve such scrutiny.
In addition to over-the-top, intimidating, abusive vitriolic attacks against people online, we are also seeing increasing incidents of in-person random violence on our streets. Why are more and more people going over the edge? I think it’s because our judges are so cruel, arrogant and self serving, and getting much more obvious in enabling men that abuse women, men are becoming more and more emboldened to attack/control/rape/murder women (and kids). Our judges used to at least try to hide their corruption. They lie and abuse us to their delight and do not even try to hide it anymore. Could it be the conditions they face in this society? We need to understand why.
The bottom line is that we the public have the right to protection against criminality whatever its cause. Upon conviction, jail or mental institution can be decided by psychologists and judges. Shame on this system if it fails to protect the innocent.
That light sentence is a real statement on where women stand in Canadian society. How sad, backward, shameful and misogynistic is that?! Someone in the comments also mentioned right wing arguments for free speech. I also agree that free speech does not mean having the right to harass anyone online or off.
“Liberal viewpoints”………..I guess the “Gentleman” is not a Liberal/NDP voter. I wonder, what Party would this “person” vote for……………………NOT!!!
Lets face reality, we/Canada/US have a large number of far-right, angry, nasty, homophobic, uneducated men out there, men who used to hide behind a computer screen using fake / made up identities/monikers, only to be “liberated” when Mr Nasty Trump and Pierre Poiliever came to prominence, whereas/empowering these people to actually show in #’s for racist rallies, January 6th storming of Congress and the Illegal Occupation of Ottawa some 13 months ago.
You can add the conspiring to kill RCMP officers in Alberta to the list, somehow that is permissible” as is inviting a German antisemitic politician to tour Canada as a “Hero of the People”.
Anyway, the far-right was “warned” for many years about sickness and rot within, only to turn to the rest of us spewing more venom, hate and racism.
Looks good on boys and girls……………”keep it up”.
Your comment, although a bit of a rant, I think gets close to where this type of behaviour comes from, which is some members of the new right wing. They treat science, government, diversity, immigration etc. with disdain, to the point it gives them license to believe that those who hold opposing views are not real humans. Interestingly it is they, this new right wing, who in theory would also endorse a greater sentence for the perpetrator in this case.
What would have happened if she’d decided to go ahead and say it anyway? Contempt of court and thirty days?I expect also a bigger fine than an American oil company gets for killing workers in the tarsands.
It’s a freedom of speech issue. The court order wouldn’t have stopped me in similar circumstances. I’d have relished the punishment, whatever it was.
The sentence appears woefully inadequate at first glance.
But all things are relative, I suppose. If six murders gets the perp a shot at parole after 25 years, then what should the sentence be for 4 years of flinging words at someone on the internet?
C’mon. There’s a lot of garbage to pick up in the Vancouver area I’m sure. This guy should have had 12 months hard labour, up every day at 5 and out the door by 6 to walk and collect bag after bag of garbage. Rinse and repeat every day for a year. That would have been a start followed by some counselling and zero access to the Internet. Instead he’ll be at home trolling someone else on his computer.That’s the intent by the judicial industry.
Just more evidence that Canada has a misogyny problem as low as this man and as high as this court.
Bob and Doug:
Twelve months’ probation for years of harassment? Truly unbelievable… That’s hardly worse than a time-out in kindergarten, or a couple of detentions in high school.
This is a comment on our court system today. The courts never hand out what the vast majority of Canadians would call justice. And our political leaders seem to support the weak judicial outcomes.
Any “solution” provided by progressive ideologues like Trudeau would be worse than the disease because progressive ideologues have proven time and time against that they consider any expression of disagreement with their politics to “harmful”.
want to express the opinion that current immigration rates are too high: racist and must be banned.
want to express the opinion that only biological females should be allowed to participate in in women’s sports: hateful anti trans speech that must be banned.
I could go on but examples are numerous. It did not have to be this way. If progressives had demonstrated any willingness to constructively debate contentious topics then it might be possible to have a law that we could trust that would only be applied to the egregious examples in the article. But we don’t live in that world. Any law would be abused.
A typical blame the victim position if there ever was one. This has zero, zero, to do with Trudeau. This was about a flagrant, and criminally proven, act, or acts in this case. Repeated breaches of the law and a complete disregard of anything approaching common decency. But sure, tell yourself that it’s the so-called progressives fault. I will, in the meantime, wish peace and healing to Ms. Vance and her beleaguered family.
Your rant appears to be a defence of criminal harassment. Bizarre.
Mr. Mason, I totally share your rage and pissed-offedness.
< Now, there’s a word for the initial moderating algorithms! >
We finally nab one of these unrepentant unfortunates … and he “lucks-into” a progressive judge at sentencing-time.
Ms Vance was definitely criminally harassed. I don’t see a fair equivalency with Rachel Gilmore though as she’s a journalist & BFD is someone wishes you dead from cancer….that’s not criminal harassment & for all our sakes, it never should be. I think freedom of expression requires tolerance to vitriol as long as it doesn’t cross over into actual threats and crimes like Ms Vance’s harasser apparently did. We’re experimenting with far too many slippery slopes at once, I think it’s best to leave freedom of speech alone for now while we sort out all the new insanity we’ve already got to contend with
Please develop some empathy. Women in the media get death threats every day. It’s wilfully blind to not see it.
Another bizarre attempt to defend the indefensible.
Refer also to:
Canadians win arms race by a finger by Michael de Adder, March 14, 2023, Salt Wire
Cartoon by Michael de Adder March 14, 2023
“Unf*ck the system.” Alberta’s Neanderthal “Justice” system assaults sexual assault victims. “The judge in this troubling case was none other than former Deputy Justice Minister Ray Bodnarek, a PC loyalist appointed as a judge by former PC Justice Minister Jonathan Denis who himself resigned under troubling allegations of domestic violence.” Commenter: “So who exactly is the crown protecting by blocking the publication of the victim’s name?” Another commenter: “My guess…..the ‘system’. It stinks and it’s all because of the judges & lawyers.”