Kelowna needs legal services for all to access

There is a need for two outcomes that will enable more effective use of the law in upholding the public interest in our city.

To the editor:

United Way, John Howard Society and the organizers and sponsors should be commended for holding a community forum a the Rotary Centre of the Arts Sept. 26, entitled Crime/Media/Fear.

This included a sociological lecture of the social communication of crime and how it is perceived through current media treatments.

It also was an introduction to the Criminal Law Association of BC, and it included a rare opportunity to hear from a judge’s perspective on the mechanics of sentencing, from local Judge Anne Wallace.

Kent Molgat, from CTV, provided a clear presentation on the problems and dilemmas in the balance between sensationalization of news and getting the priorities straight on what people really need to understand and treat with fear.

I raised the issue of the custom of the widespread ignoring of the prohibitions against deception in the sale of securities, as clearly contrary to Sections 361-363 of the Criminal Code, and other parts of the Criminal Code. The spin on self regulation has enabled brokerages to act as though the investment field is now self-regulating, even though the Criminal Code has not been repealed in this area.

There is a need for two outcomes that will enable more effective use of the law in upholding the public interest in our city. We need to organize a chapter of the Criminal Law Association of B.C., and we need to be a part of an initiative to have legal clinic services available to all citizens on a non profit basis.

This would help to ensure that issues in law are dealt with in an organized process, and would make the retaining of lawyers much more of a practical and affordable proposition.

It would mean that lawyers could act in the interests of clients without having to spend unaffordable amounts of time in preparation.

I am hopeful that Kelowna will be able to build from this very useful public forum.

Alan Blanes,

Kelowna

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