Contempt of Court: The Betrayal of Justice in Canada


383 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 0-7715-9196-9
DDC 345.71





Christopher English is a history professor at Memorial University of


From Jeremiah through Jonathan Swift and Lincoln Steffens, the cri de
coeur of the bluff and honest man determined to unmask the hypocrisy of
those set over him has inspired investigative journalism. Stroud’s
exposé (in his own estimation worthy of persecution by the courts
because it holds them in contempt) is beguilingly simple. Faced with an
unprecedented crimewave of drug-related offences and juvenile
hooliganism, our judges, according to Stroud, have reacted with petty
distinctions—based on the Canadian Charter of Rights and
Freedoms—and laughably lenient sentences that have made a mockery of
the law, catered to the base instincts of the criminal class, and
deprived ordinary law-abiding citizens of their right to personal
security. Furthermore, the judges have been egged on by a chorus of
self-serving psychiatrists, social workers, parole-board officers,
lawyers, and feminists who wilfully ignore the terrifying reality of the
criminal mind at work. Behind these charlatans and do-gooders stand the
politicians who have created this criminal-justice system.

In his book, Stroud proposes a list of new (or resurrected) priorities
for our system of criminal justice: revenge over rehabilitation;
collective over individual rights; due process of law (manipulated to
assure the “proper” outcome to criminal prosecution rather than a
narrow “legal” one); extended police powers; and judges made
accountable for the ultimate results of their decisions and sentences.
He also proposes that defence counsel be liable for the future misdeeds
of any clients who are judged not guilty.

Stroud’s thesis is overstated, simplistic, and sometimes misleading.
Serial killer Charles Ng’s long procedural battle against extradition,
for example, had nothing to do with the actual merits of the case
against him, which was admittedly compelling. Stroud glosses over the
legal issues at stake in individual cases in favor of moral outrage at
the sensational facts he brings to light. He discounts important
hallmarks of the judicial system (such as the independence of judges
from popular emotion or political interference as long as they apply the
law, and the requirement that criminal guilt be grounded on deliberate
action) and offers provocative views (e.g., provincial court judges
should exercise “judicial tyranny”; the Young Offenders’ Act is
“pure feminist dialectic”; and female psychiatrists should be barred
from the prison system “because they don’t know what they hell
they’re doing in there”). Such contentions are occasionally
entertaining, but risible. Stroud raises serious issues, but in-stead of
subjecting them to careful scrutiny, he indulges in opinionated bombast.


Stroud, Carsten., “Contempt of Court: The Betrayal of Justice in Canada,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed December 10, 2023,