'Disgraceful' ruling: Danson

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:45 AM ET

The representative for Steve Moore slammed the B.C. legal system yesterday, calling for the province's attorney general to launch an inquiry into the treatment of his client. "Personally, I think this conduct is disgraceful, I think it throws victims' rights back to the Stone Age and it's an affront to what the Parliament of Canada has provided in the Criminal Code," an animated Tim Danson said.

Danson was livid that the Todd Bertuzzi plea bargain was allowed to proceed this week without Moore being present in the Vancouver courtroom.

According to Danson, both he and Moore were told only Monday of the plea bargain and that the court date had been moved up to Wednesday. Danson indicated the scheduling switch did not allow enough time for his client to get to the West Coast to read his impact statement in front of a jammed court room that included Bertuzzi.

'VICTIMS HAVE RIGHT'

Instead, Moore's statement was read by the prosecution.

"Victims have the right to face the accused," Danson said. "(Moore) had a right to look at Todd Bertuzzi if he chose and let Todd Bertuzzi understand what impact this has.

"This is me speaking, not Steve. But I want to say this. Todd Bertuzzi obviously had to instruct his lawyer to go along with this arrangement where we were being blindsided and ambushed so that we wouldn't have an opportunity to be there in Vancouver."

Don't expect the bigwigs of the B.C. legal system to respond by embarking on a witch hunt, however.

Geoff Gaul, a spokesman for B.C. Attorney General Geoff Plant, reacted to Danson's allegations by telling Vancouver radio station CKNW that no further investigation was planned. He added that the Crown did everything in its power to have Moore tell his story, including potentially setting up a video conference in order for those in the courtroom to be able to see Moore read his impact statement.

"We even told them we would pay for Mr. Moore to come to Vancouver," Gaul said. "That offer was not accepted."

Gaul rejected any suggestions the Crown compromised the case because Bertuzzi is "a local hero."

"Just because you are involved in a sporting event, does not mean you are immune from criminal law in Canada," he said.


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