EDITORIAL: Justice system – Agonizing waits with lousy results

Another senseless death of a young person with a life of promise ahead. Another emotion-filled plea from parents for changes to the laws. And unfortunately, another heart-wrenching case that will likely fail to prompt politicians to act.

Kassandra Kaulius, 22, died May 3 when the BMW she was driving was struck by a Ford van at 64 Avenue and 152 Street. Kaulius, a popular athlete, was on her way home after playing softball in Cloverdale when the collision occurred.

A 34-year-old Surrey woman is expected to face impaired driving charges in connection with Kaulius’ death.

But investigations of the crash and having those charges approved by Crown counsel will take time. So will the wait for numerous court dates and appearances, not to mention the inevitable postponements and delays.

At a press conference at the Surrey RCMP detachment Tuesday afternoon, Kaulius’ parents made an emotional statement regarding the need to change laws around impaired driving.

That may be warranted, yes. But what’s needed even more is the political will and funding necessary to clear up B.C.’s chronically congested legal system.

Press conference organizers noted the Kaulius’ statement was made on the third anniversary of another impaired driving tragedy – the death of four-year-old Alexa Middelaer. The tot died in 2008 after she was struck by a car at the side of a Ladner road while feeding a horse.

The driver involved in that crash is appealing convictions of impaired driving as well as her two-and-a-half-year sentence. Carol Berner is out on bail as this case grinds through the courts. Meanwhile, the Middelaer family must put on a brave face and soldier on.

Ask any victim of a serious crime and they will tell you after the grief, it’s the agonizing wait for some form of justice that is often the most difficult challenge to deal with. And sadly, when “justice” does arrive, it’s often in the form of inadequate sentencing and weak penalties.

Like the Middelaers, Kassandra Kaulius’ loved ones have a long, painful  road ahead of them that won’t be made any easier by B.C.’s dysfunctional legal system.

How many more families will need to trudge down this path before something is done about the crisis in our courts?

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