Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - November 16, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
Death penalty debate likely to be delayed By TOM MITCHELL OTTAWA (CP) The coun- try's next decision on whether to retire the hangman has been delayed because of the minority government outcome of the Oct. 30 federal election. It appears certain the Jive- year trial period ending the death penalty for most murders will run out before the feelings of Parliament are rested on the contentious issue. The trial period ends Dec. 29. A source in Prime Minister Trudeau's office confirms that, although a debate was sched- uled for this fall, tlie priority has suffered a severe down- granding because of the Liberal failure to hang onto a majority in the election But there is no real problem in letting the trial period run out, the source said, because the "executive prerogative ol mercy" cabinet commutation of death still re- mains. The trial legislation since 1967 has limited the Criminal Code death penalty to persons con- victed of murdering on-duty po- licemen or prison guards. Since 1967, a total of 27 death sen- tences have come before the cabinet. Everyone has been commuted. COMMUTATION OPPOSED This "almost automatic" can- cellation of death sentences, as one Conservative MP described it, has been a bone of con- tention in recent capital punish- ment debates. Some MPs who favor strict limitation of the death penalty argue that the will of the people as expressed by Parliament is being frustrated when the su- preme penalty is left on the law books but never carried out. Before the election, Mr. Trudeau spoke repeatedly of the need for a fall debate on the trial legislation. But with his party chopped to a minority po- sition by the voters, he has been occupied with revising the Liveral legislative program in a bid lo stay in power and has not yet said whether Parliament would be summoned before the Christmas-New Year's holiday period or only early next year. A source in the office of Solic- itor-General Jean-Pierre Goyer, the man expected to propose any new government action on capital punishment, said no leg- Cat-killer fined CALGARY (CP) A man who threw a cat to the ground, stepped on it. then shot the animal was fined yester- day in provincial court. Fred Hellcner pleaded giu'lly to animal cruelty and discharg- ing a firearm within the city. The court was told Hcllencr killed the cat after it bit him while he was taking it to the So- ciety for (lie Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. He told court he had never hurt an animal before but that he shot it after he saw he had severely injured it "lo put it out of its misery, more or less." Cripple grateful for helping hand hit I CALGARY (CP) Wlien the crutches of Archie John Mac- Donald slipped on a patch of ice Hie oilier nigln. lie was grateful (or Ihc helping hand! which was extended. flic 3n-yciir-old Inunrer was less impressed when he found Ihc hand had extended inlo his pocket and picked his wallet which contained ?CD and credit cards. I'olice are still looking for the culprit. islation had been drafted before the election. The thinking had been that Parliament would be asked to extend the trial period for an- other year, he said. GATHER STATISTICS The department had been gathering statistics on murder and crimes of violence during the trial period time so that these could be available for any new debate, the source said part of the argument lor an ex- tension was tc be that statistics gathered so far had not been truly representative, in part be- cause of the short time period involved. Both Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Goyer have voted for abolition. Bui the bald figures so far available provide little encour- agement for the abolitionist cause. In 1970. the last full year for which Statistics Canada has records, there were 430 mur- ders, up from 342 in 1969. There were 314 murder victims in (968 and 281 in 1967. But the statistics bureau noted that the 1970 figures, for example, included one incident of arson, a nursing home fire in Quebec, that took 40 lives, ac- counting for almost half the in- crease in murders for that year. The bureau also says tha' more complete reporting by po- lice departments in recen years probably has affected the apparent growth in Uie murder rate. CODE BECOMES LAW If the trial period ends next month with no parliamentary action, the Criminal Code as amended in 1961 comes back into force. Changes made then under the Conservative govern- ment of John Diefenbaker di vided murder into capital anc non-capital categories. Capital murder, for which a death sentence is mandatory, is defined as murder Uiat is calcu- lated or determined, or com- mitted during the course of treason, sabotage, piracy, es cjpe from lawful custody, re- sisting arrest, rape, indecent assault, forcible abduction, rob- bery, burglary or arson. Non- capital murder covers all slay- ings falling outside this cate- gory and is punishable by life imprisonment. The 1967 Commons vote for the limited abolition trial was 105 to 70 in a 265-seat House. MPs voted freely, without h ing to follow a strict party pol- icy Vilh M new MPs coming into the 2H-seat Commons as a re- sult of the Oct. 30 vote, it is dif- ficult to predict how another vote on Ihc issue might go. The issue was raised during the election campaign. GOVERNMENT CRITICIZED Conservative Leader Robert Stanfield said the Liberal gov- ernment had "flouted the ex- pressed view of Parliament" by commuting all death sentences. Mr. Trudeau said he person- ally favored an extension of the trial period because insufficient data was available to determine whether the experiment was a success. New Democrat Leader Dawd l-ewis said his party is against capital punishment but added that there are many cases where criminals sentenced to life in prison should not be granted parole. Even if it should decide lo seek a simple extension of the lri.nl period, the Liberal govern- ment could come under some pressu from ils own back-ben- chers. In part House voles on the is- sue, Roman Catholic MPs from Quebec have generally come down in favor of retaining the death penalty. With 57 of ils 108 members elected from Que- bec, the Liberal abolitionists could run into caucus opposition in any effort lo revive the Issue. Area dry since 1903 TORONTO of west Torrnlo. which has Ix'en without liquor slorcs, boor sloi-rs and bars since IfM. will decide Dec. 4 whether the area will stay dry. The dry campaign Is being led hy Wllllnm Temple, vlce- pirsidpnt of the West Toronto I 111 c r-Church Tcmpermice I'Vdcralion of which nearly all ari-a churches arc members. Air. Tcmpto prcdlcls nn easy win for the dry cnm- palKn and snld ninny mem- IHTS ol Ihc nron's ethnic com- nuinily arc siippm'ling him. "The priest nl onc> rhiirrh tins promised an 80 per cent dry said Mr. Tem- ple. The wet campaign organ- izers predict 75 per cent of Ihc volcrs will supixirl (heir campaign. The pro-liquor campaign Is being led hy 20 businessmen, many of them rcslaurnnt or hotel owners, who soy liquor will menn belter business. ,I.ick Allman, a holel owner, said, "The boolle.ggcrs are hnvlng n picnic" nnd will con- tinue (o have one If the drya win Ihc campaign. Mr. Temple said, however, ll will llu> "ruliliydiibs" who will hiivo NIC picnic if liquor Is allowed. IDENTIFIED AS HIJACKERS The FBI hit listed three men in the hijacking of a. .Southern Airways DC-9 to Cuba. Lewis Moore, 27, left; Henry Jackson, 25, centre, bath from Detroit; and Melvin C. Cale, 21, of Oak Ridge, Tenn. Cole escaped Oct. 29 from a Nashville work release centre and Moore and Jackson were freed on bond in a rape case last month. Thuredoy, Novimbtr 197J THf LETHMIDGE HERAtD Dr. Craig probe pressed EDMONTON (CP) Three University of Alberta 1 a w teachers have asked Allorney- General Merv Leitch to order an independent inquiry into the case of Dr. John David Craig. The teachers, B. M. Barker R. I. Hornung and D. R. Stuart, made the request yeasterday in a letter to the Edmonton Journ- al. Dr. Craig, who treats drug addicts and alcoholics in a skid road clinic, was arrested earl- ier this year and charged with defrauding the Alberta Health Care Commisssion of The doctor's records were seized by police at the time of the arrest. He later was charged with criminal negligence In the deaths of patients who had been receiving methadone, a substi- tute for heroin. RECORDS RETURNED The records later were re- turned by court order and the criminal negligence charges were thrown out of court. The j fraud charges were allowed to lapse. Civil rights groups claimed Dr. Craig had been harrassed by police, who wanted to get at his records. Mr. Leitch has announced there will not be an inquiry, and the law teachers said this leaves suspicion that he could be protecting law enforcement officials. They also said Mr. Leitch leaves doubt in the public mind that he is not sufficiently sen- sitive to ensure "that his com- ments do not cast doubts as to the innocence of a person who has been acquitted." EPIDEMIC ENDS SINGAPORE (AP) The en- vironment ministry has de- clared this Asian island republic is free of cholera at the end of a five-month outbreak in which 114 cases and three choleri- caused deaths were reported. Compare Woolcq Prices on Name Brand Tovs Press his back to make him pitch, pass an-d throw. Bend his arm and walch his muscles flex. Complete wild Irunks, Uniforms tor Big Jim Choose from (A) Warm-up (B) Karale (C) Basketball or Set has -400 color pegs, 16 prinled guide sheets lo create B color glow pictures 25 watt bulb (not Hot Shots Cool Duel Cars Three power racers with ripfirc motors. Minia- ture lane speed cars, torqued-up Irikes need ARE HERE FROM WnB-o-ling Baxer, (F) Ding- -l.ng Spy (G) Ding-a-ling Cl Ding-a-ling Police The balancing game wilh (he crazy maze -J A fun game far the whole family Masked Bandit USE YOUR WOOLCO CHARGE CARD FOR ALL YOUR CHRISTMAS SHOPPING Department Stores Because We're Woolco... Your Shopping Costs You Less! College Shopping Mall-2025 Mayor Magrath Drive Open Daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursday and Friday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.