Judge, Jury and Executioner

Column for the week of March 30, submitted by Marko Shehovac, Staff Sergeant of the Columbia Valley RCMP detachment.

This incident happened in my Constable days while stationed in Salmon Arm.  The day in question was pouring down rain. I responded to a two vehicle accident where a driver of a car rear ended another car.  Damage was very light, broken tail light and minor scratches.  The driver of the offending car that did the damage is angry and the confrontation results in him assaulting the driver of the car he hit. Assault was minor in nature.  The person assaulted gets angry and goes to the rear of the car that hit him and proceeds to smash his tail light.  Lots of witnesses to the event.  I arrive and am not happy about having to get out of the car to do a lengthy accident report in the down pour.  Immediately, like children, “He assaulted me.”  The other fellow, “He busted my tail light.”  It’s never a simple accident.  Both damages to the vehicle are minimal. Exchange name and addresses and it’s over.  The assault and mischief complaint is the time consuming part.  Given their childish behavior and minimal  amount of damage to both vehicles, I decided it was time to be judge, jury and executioner.  As both were from out of town, I laid the facts on them.  Both can be charged with a criminal offence and given the evidence and witnesses, no problem being  found guilty.  Time and expense to come back.  Expense to pay for a lawyer, yada, yada, yada.  Or do it my way.  Both realized they were in a spot.  I ask the fellow that had his tail light kicked in how much he wants to repair the damage and be on his way.  Quick evaluation $80.00.  I walk up to the fellow that did the damage and he agrees.  I ask him to give me $40.00.  He does.  I give the other guy $40.00.  He corrects me and stated it was $80.00.  My question to him was, “Did you assault the other guy.”  He admits he did. Then I fine you half the cost.  Everybody happy with this?

Both agree.  I insisted they shake and get on with life.  Called Restorative Justice, or as Frank would say, “ I did it my way.”