OUR VIEW: Court credibility an issue after bail

The law is an integral part of any society.
It can also be awfully confusing, downright frustrating and, for the family and friends of John Ruffolo, absolutely infuriating.

The law is an integral part of any society.

It can also be awfully confusing, downright frustrating and, for the family and friends of John Ruffolo, absolutely infuriating.

The latter sentiment was produced last week, after B.C. Court of Appeal Madam Justice Mary Newbury allowed the appeal of Ruffolo’s convicted killer, Ruby Ann Ruffolo, and set her free on $100,000 bail.

In her decision, Justice Newbury voiced a fear that granting bail would undermine public confidence in the justice system. Yet she granted it anyway, convinced that Ruffolo posed no flight risk, having stuck around town during the six years it took for her to be tried for the crime of murdering her husband in 2003.

Disgusted with that reasoning, John Ruffolo’s sister, Mena Westhaver, said it best when she wrote the News to ask whether B.C. has a “first murder free” act.

Paul Pearson, Victoria-based chair of the criminal justice section of the Canadian Bar Association’s B.C. branch, acknowledged that granting bail in such situations is rare, but it does happen on occasion.

We tend to side with Westhaver. How does someone who has gone through the criminal justice system and been not only convicted, but given the longest jail sentence possible, warrant being released on bail?

It just doesn’t make sense, regardless of the law as it is written. The decision sends a confusing message that, as Justice Newbury feared, will without question cast public doubt upon the justice system. Regardless of Ruffolo’s record of keeping her nose clean during the trial period – her reputation was far from clean leading up to her husband’s death – it can do nothing but damage the public’s perception that it is being kept safe.

And what of the victim’s family? They fought an emotional battle for years to have his killer convicted and taken off the streets. The B.C. court system needs to better explain its judgments if it wants to maintain any level of credibility.

– Victoria News/Black Press

 

Just Posted

Storm add big net presence to roster

Goalie Robert Michetti boasts impressive numbers

Two Campbell River First Nations advance to final stage of treaty negotiation

The Campbell River-based Wei Wai Kum and Kwiakah First Nations have signed… Continue reading

City of Campbell River to replace pumper truck at No. 2 Hall

Old truck to be moved into reserve roll for five years before decision is made on disposal options

PHOTOS: Cumberland Wild embraces diverse musical talents

Day 1 of the two-day music festival took place Saturday

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

U16 B.C. fastpitch team named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

B.C. VIEWS: Log exports and my other errors so far in 2019

Plastic bags, legislature overspending turn out differently

Most Read