Robinson Sues Furlong

In the latest volley of words and legal actions, Laura Robinson has filed a lawsuit against John Furlong for damaging her reputation. The accusations leveled by Furlong (that Robinson was waging a personal vendetta, that she was guilty of falsifying, that she accused him of rape) against Robinson have not proven to be substantive. They have, instead, prevented the journalist from making a living through her writing. His attorneys have avoided bringing ‘the case’ against her to court, opting, it appears, to break Robinson without dealing with the issues she has raised in her Georgia Straight article. By suing Furlong and establishing a trial date on March 30, 2015, Robinson will force him to defend his allegations and his denials in court. The injustice here is the way the powerful, with expensive legal assistance, can utilize the law as a weapon against the truth. This trial should take place next week if justice were to be served.

One of the almost humourous–were it not for the actual circumstances of the case–tactics adopted by Furlong and friends is the not-so-subtle attempt to resurrect his reputation. Furlong has been chosen as one of ‘eight brilliant minds” to present at a leadership conference in February. The title of this conference, which includes a luminary like Chris Hadfield, has been plagiarized from Harvard University’s conference of the same name. While Robinson cannot ply her trade, Furlong can continue to be on boards of directors and to make public appearances. If the allegations by eight First Nations people (and others) are true, that Furlong is an aggressive, abusive bully, who has made racist taunts against First Nations people, one can see that justice tends to serve the rich and powerful.

Once again, had Furlong chosen at the outset¬† to acknowledge his past wrongs as the indiscretions of youth, he would certainly have been forgiven in light of the work he did for the 2010 Olympics. We’ve all done stupid and regrettable things in our lives. What he’s done here through his denials and legal bullying is to open a sore, a weeping blister, that will continue to rankle until the case is settled, and that may in time result in the destruction of his carefully cultivated persona. “Oh what a tangled web we weave…”

 

Burns/Rafay: Judge’s Shocking Revelation

A Washington State judge who asked for anonymity revealed to me that appeal cases are not, as I used to think, a matter of constitutional judgements on the technicalities of a trial. They are, instead, a thinly veiled prejudicial ruling based upon appeal judges’ prior belief about a person’s guilt or innocence. In our present system, if a majority of judges believe that the defendant (s) is guilty, they will ignore the constitutional violations that took place during the trial. The situation is akin to being in an car crash and discovering that your insurance company has gone out of business.

The trial of Sebastian Burns and Atif Rafay was replete with constitutional violations that I felt certain would result in a new trial. Instead, the appeal court cravenly opted to confirm a verdict rather than follow the trail of error and rank ambition that led to the verdict. They believed that the pair were guilty, constitutionality be damned. What were the obvious violations:

1. Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination were voided because their ‘confessions’ were obtained, or, shall I say, extorted, in Canada.

2. The right to present a defense was removed by prejudicial rulings from a misinformed judge. 2a) Expert witnesses were not allowed to come into the courtroom to present facts about false confessions. The judge said that a jury has the ability to decide who is lying and who is telling the truth. All the materials on false confessions say otherwise. Science also says otherwise. Today, even the most sophisticated methods using brain scans cannot, more than 70% of the time, determine whether or not a person is telling the truth. 2b) Alternate theories for the bludgeoning of Rafay’s family were disregarded as too speculative. That such a hideous crime might be attributable to religious fanaticism when compelling evidence existed for such, was negated by the prejudicial rulings of the judge.

3. The jury should not have been told that the death penalty was waived. Doing so is against the law and makes the jury more likely to convict.

4. The summation of the prosecutor was inflammatory–even the appeal court admitted this, but then ruled that Konat was not inflammatory for a long enough period of time. Never mind that Konat, by the time of the appeal verdict,¬† had already been forced to resign for reasons of racism in another case.

The Washington Supreme Court simply followed suit and refused to reopen the case. These judges (and there must have been at least one exception) could probably see the trial flaws, but likely did not want to reopen such a high profile case. All of these rulings are contingent upon one belief: Burns and Rafay were guilty, despite all evidence to the contrary.