24 July 2007

So much for due process

For those who don't know, Alex Marland is a former communications director with the Williams administration.

He is now a professor in the political science department at Memorial University.

If vocm.com is quoting him correctly, Professor Marland has a curious idea about one of the basic principles of our legal system, namely the presumption of innocence.

vocm.com attributes the following comments to the former Williams administration communications director:
However, MUN Political Science professor Dr. Alex Marland says the Liberal Party has to make some tough decisions, as to whether or not to ask Andersen to leave the party. Marland says the party can expel Andersen on the basis that they are not sure what the outcome will be, and no one is presuming guilt, but to simply clear the air. Marland says while the public may demand Andersen's resignation, the House of Assembly will probably make no decisions on the matter.
As a matter of fact, Wally Andersen has been charged. As a matter of fact, Andersen has yet to make a first appearance in court, let alone address the allegations against him.

As a matter of fact based on those comments, Dr. Marland has already convicted him.

If there is a presumption of innocence - a very different phrase than "presuming guilt", as any communications professional would know - then there is no need for the Liberal Party or the House of Assembly to take any action.

There is no air to be cleared.

There is no reason to expel Andersen "on the basis that they are not sure what the outcome will be."

So why did Professor Marland suggest otherwise?

There is, however, good reason for the chair of the political science department or the Dean of Arts to take notice of Professor Marland's questionable comments.

If Professor Marland didn't make those comments, then vocm.com needs to issue a correction.

Either way, someone has some explaining to do.