Long wait improves chances of fair trial

The long lapse that typically occurs between the laying of charges and a trial tends to improve the chances of a fair trial, says Alan Young, a professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, reported the Ottawa Citizen Oct. 21. He was commenting following news that police in Ottawa have charged Chris Myers with the murder two years ago of Ardeth Wood. In most murder cases, it takes between a year and three years for the case to come to trial. Media coverage “gets diluted by the passage of time,” said Young. Juries will always be somewhat tainted in the era of mass media, where almost everyone has access to media reports on the Internet, he said.. Impartiality is an ideal, and usually unobtainable. It’s not so much about justice as the appearance of justice, said Young. “We talk about presumption of innocence as a noble concept. But we usually think the police have the right person. You just keep your fingers crossed and hope you don’t get a miscarriage of justice.”

Never a good idea to log a park

“The construction and usage of roads are among the single greatest threats to wild species and spaces, both globally and here in Ontario. Algonquin Provincial Park is no exception,” wrote Paul F. Wilkinson, professor in York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies, in a letter published in the Toronto Star Oct. 21. He was responding to another letter asserting that 8,000 km of logging roads in Algonquin Park do not have a negative ecological impact. Wilkinson wrote: “At the heart of the issue is whether such a road network and all of its associated impacts are appropriate in a protected area, let alone Ontario’s flagship park. There are countless studies that demonstrate the negative impacts of commercial logging on the natural environment. That is why it is not a good idea to log a park. It is also why it is illegal to commercially log in Canada’s national parks. This begs the question as to why Algonquin is held to a lower standard than a park like Banff or Point Pelee.

“Unfortunately, Ontario is not a leader in protecting biodiversity or managing its parks system. Next week, new legislation will likely be introduced by the Dalton McGuinty government for Ontario’s parks, updating a 50-year-old law that does not reflect modern science or environmental issues. We’ll have to wait and see if the government grasps the issues at hand and delivers a law that adequately protects all parks, including Algonquin.”

Argos curious about deal made for soccer park

The owners of the Argonauts have a question for the City of Toronto: What’s the deal with the latest Exhibition Stadium plans? reported The Toronto Sun Oct. 21. Howard Sokolowski said he and his partner, David Cynamon, are curious about the deal the city has struck with the Canadian Soccer Association and Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd., for a 20,000-seat stadium at Exhibition Place. The Argos had gone to the City of Toronto, in particular Mayor David Miller, after Sokolowski and Cynamon purchased the team in 2003 about potentially building a 25,000-seat stadium at the Ex. A deal never materialized. The Argos switched from the Ex project to a proposal at the University of Toronto’s main campus along Bloor Street, but the project collapsed when the school opted out. The Argos then shifted their focus to York University‘s main campus, but cancelled their plans when they decided to stay at their current location after Rogers Communications bought the SkyDome and spent a considerable sum to upgrade the facility.

Jazz pianist improvises all the way

Improvisation has always been a key component to good jazz, but for the Toronto-based Steve Koven Trio, improvising is the only way to play jazz, began an Oct. 21 review in The Review of Niagara Falls. In fact, the trio leader and pianist Steve Koven is so committed to that philosophy that the group doesn’t even have a set list prepared for Saturday’s show at the Roselawn Centre for the Living Arts in Port Colborne. “We don’t ever really know what’s going to happen,” he said. “We always leave room for the unknown because I think that’s what jazz is really all about.” It’s not surprising that as Koven has expanded his own musical voice, an increase in acclaim and fans have followed, so much so that the York University part-time music teacher and the trio are a sought after international touring group.

On air

  • Lucia Lo, a geography professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, discussed service needs for immigrants in Toronto, on “OMNI News: Cantonese Edition” Oct. 20.
  • York student Shamini Selvaratnam, an executive member of the York Federation of Students, discussed student debt, in an item aired Oct. 20 on CBC Radio morning shows in Sudbury, Quebec and Edmonton.