WHEN JUSTICE FAILS
Carl Karp and Cecil Rosner.
Volume 20 Number 4
Carl Karp and Cecil Rosner have chronicled the most persistently intransigent stories of injustice in Canada in recent years. Not since the scathing indictment of Canada's criminal justice system brought about by the Donald Marshall inquiry, has the wound caused by the justice system's failure to acknowledge the pleas of innocence of one of its inmates, and to examine new evidence, run so deep. The account possesses all the attnbutes of a novel as it takes the reader back to the events of January 31,1969, when Gail Miller's body was found in a Saskatoon alley.
This is a story of neglect, harassment and abuse on the part of a desperate police force as it manufactured the consent and the evidence of witnesses in order to produce a suspect and ultimately a guilty verdict. It is a tale of faith, with a heroine, Joyce Milgaard, David's mother, who wore the various hats of a private detective, advocate, and lobbyist in the highest echelons. It took twenty-two years finally to liberate this innocent man.
This book is well written and the vocabulary and style would make it exciting reading for students in grades 10 and up. Despite the emotional intensity of the subject matter, the authors avoid writing vitriolic prose against a black-and-white background. Instead, they write with a journalistic objectivity that is leavened by their conclusions and opinions, but always thoroughly informed by research.
Carl Karp and Cecil Rosner, both documentary producers with CBC-TV in Winnipeg, have followed this story for the past two years. Through interviews with key figures in this case, they have helped to break many of the story's recent developments. The reader is led back into the jury box and to the inevitable conclusion - that Milgaard is innocent.
I highly recommend this book for use in high school libraries. It is of particular value for senior law courses and the social studies curriculum.
Eric Bonfield is a teacher - librarian at Shawnigan Lake School in Shawnigan Lake, British Columbia.
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