EDITORIAL: Riot perpetrators must face justice

It’s pay-back time, and the perpetrators of last week’s post-Stanley Cup mob violence should be dealt with immediately and appropriately.

It’s pay-back time, and the perpetrators of last week’s post-Stanley Cup mob violence should be dealt with immediately and appropriately.

But neither is likely to happen if resolving the pain and hurt of Vancouver’s notorious Game 7 riot — and the millions in resulting damages — is left up to B.C.’s overburdened court system.

Other serious cases such as domestic assaults and home invasions are already being delayed because there aren’t enough sheriffs and judges, according to the recent Black Press series Justice Denied. Should many of these cases come to trial, it will be months — even years — before the perpetrators do time or pay fines for their crimes.

There has to be another way to deal with the hurt and damage caused by intoxicated and crowd-maddened knuckleheads last week. While naming and shaming may give victims and shocked witnesses a momentary feeling of empowerment, this online outpouring of grief and frustration will amount to nothing if the justice system doesn’t have the resources to deal with the aftermath.

Individuals who apologize online or in the media a safe distance from their victim are just kidding themselves if they think they are actually taking meaningful responsibility for their actions.

What if, instead of just blogging their apologies, perpetrators actually sat down and faced their victims in a well-established process called restorative justice and were encouraged to make things right?

What if they had to organize, pay for and clean up a family-friendly event like the one they trashed?

What if the perpetrators had to work for free for one of the businesses they looted or were appointed to a city crew to clean up street litter and graffiti?

The anger being directed toward those who looted, set cars on fire and beat bystanders is understandable. But in cases where victims and perpetrators can be identified, groups such as CERA (Communities Embracing Restorative Action) should be given the job of finding a swift and meaningful resolution.

– The Tri-City News (Black Press)