I read with utter astonishment the story in La Journal de Montreal of a Quebec man held in Cuba over an incident in which the motor craft he was piloting struck another boat and killed an Ontario tourist.
Kahina Bensaadi was sentenced to four years in prison for his actions deemed negligent by a Cuban court. For some reason, likely pressure brought to bear by Canadian forces, the verdict was overturned and a new investigation ordered.
According to the Canadian 'human rights' lawyer Julius Grey hired by the family, this investigation and the potential trial could take up to two years and so forcing his client to remain in Cuba awaiting the outcome is contrary to Canadian custom whereby the accused is freed pending the trial.
Did I get that right????
Mr. Grey is complaining that Cuba is not following Canadian jurisprudence in detaining Mr. Bensaadi and thus indignantly demands that the Canadian government intervene on his behalf to set him free.
Just as an aside.... What would be the chances that the accused returned to Cuba for trial if he was set free?
The Journal de Montreal story is rife with outrageous Canadian and Quebec privilege, sometimes bordering on the comical and absurd.
"Toufik Bensaadi, an engineer for the city of Laval is stuck in Cuba under the charge of "homicide by imprudence", a charge that doesn't exist in Canada.And so according to Anne Caroline Desplanques, the author of the story, Canadian law instead of Cuban law should prevail because the defendant is Canadian.
And to intimate that Canadian law doesn't provide for criminal sanctions in the negligent operation of a motor craft is patently false and the author of the story displays a pitiful level of ignorance or willful deception that no reputable newspaper with fact-checkers should tolerate.
Regarding dangerous operation, §249 of the Criminal Code states:
"...everyone commits an offence who operates a vessel.... in a manner that is dangerous to the public, having regard to all the circumstances, including the nature and condition of those waters or sea and the use that at the time is or might reasonably be expected to be made of those waters or sea."The more serious offence, criminal negligence, comes from §219 of the Criminal Code:
"Everyone is criminally negligent who in doing anything, or in omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do, shows wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons."The lawyer also complains the Cuban government cannot fairly adjudicate the case.
“It’s not just a foreign tribunal, it’s a tribunal that’s in a conflict of interest, because what they’re trying to do is relieve a Cuban company from a potentially high liability,” he said Wednesday. because it is in a conflict of interest, protecting its own.”Again I can't believe the chutzpah, I've followed Mr. Grey's career for years, he's a smart fellow and how he can assert that a Cuban tribunal in Cuba is 'foreign' is beyond the pale. He intimates that nobody can get a fair trial in Cuba because it is an illegitimate government that will inevitably protect local business' from foreign redress and thus Canadians shouldn't be subject to its laws.
Mr. Bensaadi also asserts that he shouldn't be held liable because the rudimentary safety instructions were given in English and that those instructions were incomplete. Horror of Horrors!
As for responsibility, let us imagine that you go to Rio on vacation and rent a motorcycle to tour the city. Whether the instructions given by the renter is complete or rudimentary is beside the point because those instructions are given in Portuguese, a language you don't understand.
No matter, even though you've never driven a motorcycle and haven't benefitted from any safety instructions you set out foolishly and drive straight into an outdoor café killing another Canadian tourist.
The Brazilians arrest you and hold you for trial according to their laws.
You engage a Canadian lawyer who demands that the locals let you return to Canada because Brazil is a shithole country with an unfair justice system.
Am I hearing privilege again?
Mr. Grey has promised to sue the Canadian tour company for failing to make sure that Canadian standards are upheld by the company that provides the boating experience. Of course!
All this privileged howling is aimed at the Canadian government which the defendant and his lawyer demand take action to extricate him from Cuban justice.
And in the dozen or so stories that were written about the case in Canada, not one went into detail about the victim killed by Mr. Bensaadi, as if her death was irrelevant.
"In the meantime, Bensaadi says the wait is overwhelming: facing the financial responsibility, taking care of two daughters, continuing to work, and working to defend her husband all at once, she says."I would remind Mr. Grey and all would be tourist daredevils to screen the chilling "Midnight Express" film before undertaking foolhardy adventures or criminal activities in a foreign land.
Just recently a bunch of Quebec tourists in Cuba were stranded when the Cubana airplane that was to ferry them home crashed, killing100 people.
The stranded Canadians demanded action from their government to repatriate them, without any regard to their own stupidity in choosing a dangerous third world air carrier.
I suppose they will sue the Canadian tour operator, unwilling to accept responsibility for their choice of visiting a country with non-Canadian standards via a checkered airline.