Some of the newspapers, once again forgetting that their audience includes more than the mean-spirited who delight in the misfortune of others, described Justice Lynda Templeton's cautionary tone during Friday's session with members of the Lev Tahor community as a scolding, a legal smackdown, an admonishment and one even reported that the judge "tore a strip" off a Lev Tahor family.
Searching past the cheers of the sports fans and her stern pronouncements meant in no small part to steady the now wildly rocking boat of due process of law, I chose to focus only on what gave me some hope - these very welcome and humane assurances which were made on Friday to the Lev Tahor community by Justice Lynda Templeton:
“I can guarantee you will obtain fair hearings, but you must allow the court to do its work.” SOURCE
“I want nothing more than for you to see your children and to have your own community in a healthy, safe, protected environment exercising all the rights we have in this country.” SOURCE
Ever the optimist, I've gently stowed these assurances under my pillow.
But Justice Lynda Templeton said something else and it was that the case was turning into "a procedural nightmare." I don't know much about legal protocol so I can't say exactly what she was referring to, but all serious observers already knew that it was a nightmare, a living nightmare for the community and any external witnesses with more than a passing suspicion that they were being treated unfairly. For the sake of the children and the preservation of the families, it is still my hope that it will be proven that they are not guilty, or the more likely scenario in this case where they have been prejudged to be guilty, that it will be proven that they are innocent.
Maybe the "procedural nightmare" to which Justice Lynda Templeton was referring was the additional layer of complexity which is accompanying the problem that is now before her. I have no idea how information available in the public arena impacts on how a judge approaches a case, but if I were a judge, I should welcome this "nightmare" because of the opportunities to initiate positive changes in how cases like these are approached in the future. You see, although the spotlight has been turned on the Lev Tahor community, that spotlight's beam has been so broad that those who were really paying attention would have noticed that it was also illuminating the behaviour of certain authorities and the instigation of certain players who, I have no doubt, would have preferred to avoid the attention that they are now receiving.
So is this the "procedural nightmare"? Instead of the question being simply about the guilt or innocence of Lev Tahor, is the court now additionally burdened by being asked to simultaneously consider the guilt or innocence of their accusers?