Due Process and Victims' Rights: The New Law and Politics of Criminal Justice
Contains Bibliography, Index
H. Graham Rawlinson is a corporate lawyer with the international law
firm Torys in Toronto. He is co-author of The Canadian 100: The 100 Most
Influential Canadians of the 20th Century.
Law professor Kent Roach sets himself a challenging task in his new
book: to understand the interaction of crime, law, and politics in
Canada since the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was proclaimed in 1982.
For the most part, he succeeds. Using the pioneering criminology theory
of Herbert Packer as his departure point, Roach demonstrates that the
way people think about crime in Canada has evolved considerably beyond
Packer’s “due-process” versus “crime-control” paradigm. In
fact, in the course of tracing the development of criminal law through
the Charter’s impact on police behavior, criminal trials, and crimes
against particular social groups such as women, children, and
minorities, Roach finds that while courts have become increasingly
focused on the rights of those accused of crimes, Canadian legislatures
have kept crime victims foremost in their responses to crime.
This is an insightful and nuanced argument, cogently made and carefully
proven, though scholars of law will be best equipped to negotiate the
detailed case analyses that Roach undertakes in each chapter.
Ultimately, Roach concludes that a fixation on victims’ rights will
determine where the future of criminal justice in Canada lies, since
victims could well be the catalyst for revived efforts at punitive crime
control, or alternatively may be able be make the case for more
progressive reforms aimed at crime prevention and restorative justice.