To Think

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The World Coalition Against Death Penaly and The Arab Coalition Against Death Penalty.

Capital Punishment - A Canadian’s Perspective
Laura Stevens

“We shouldn’t have had all these campaigns to get the Birmingham Six released if they’d been hanged. They’d have been forgotten and the whole community would have been satisfied.”
Lord Denning, British Judge of C.A.
[The Birmingham Six were wrongly convicted of terrorist bombings on false evidence and released after 16 years in prison.]

No Canadian has been subjected to capital punishment in Canada for over forty years. No Canadian has really been subject to its risk for over thirty years. The result is that it is far too easy for a Canadian criminal defence lawyer to forget, or to minimize, the stark reality: punishment by death is a reality for millions, perhaps billions, of people around the world.

I am a senior criminal defence lawyer in a prosperous city in the western part of Canada. I am the President of the our provincial Criminal Trial Lawyers Association, and it is in that capacity that this invitation came to my attention. I am honoured to attend. I have spoken to Professor Slaybi in one middle-of-the night conversation. That conversation made me realize that I have had my head in the sand for far too long. It also made me realize that better links between the Canadian and Lebanese legal communities could strengthen both.
So I come to Beirut to learn from you, and to offer what I can about our legal system. I also extend the support of the criminal lawyers of Canada for the work that you are doing. I am President of our provincial association only, but we are affiliated with the provincial groups all across the country. On this topic, I know that we speak with one voice. We support you, and we are humbled by your courage, your compassion, and your passion for justice.

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