Dear Police, Crown, City Councilor, MPP, MP,
I am writing today after reading Linda Redgrave’s recommendation following her experience testifying at the Ghomeshi trial. Ms. Redgrave recommended that, prior to being interviewed victims should be given guidelines that explain the process through the justice system and what victims should expect throughout the process. In her blog, she states, “I want to see change. I want all women to know their rights going in from the beginning and I am going to do my best to be a voice for change.” She also wrote that police discouraged her from obtaining her own counsel.
I am writing to encourage you to accept her recommendation. Accused are always read their rights, but victims should also be informed of their rights. Victims should have – in writing – the process of reporting, key terminology related to reporting, information on their rights, the benefits of having a lawyer and an explanation of the law regarding sexual assault.
I have heard the argument that this may affect the way victims give their statements to police. I’m sure it would. It could also make the process more effective if victims know the importance of disclosing everything honestly to the police, because any dishonesty will come up during cross-examination. It is also possible for anyone to look up the majority of this information online, but then end up receiving only partial or inaccurate information. The justice system should do everything possible to provide victims with all the information they are entitled to have.
Failing to inform victims with up-to-date information hinders justice. Police and prosecutors are not perfect and cases shouldn’t win or lose based on human error; it should be based on the truth and the law as it exists today.
If you have any questions or concerns about my recommendation then please contact me.