In the lengthy saga of the Crown’s prosecution of Igor Kenk as the “world’s most notorious bike thief”, the Public was led to believe that a crime spree that had lasted for decades, had resulted in an enormous volume of charges finally being leveled against the defendant as the result of the famous late night raid of Igor’s Bicycle Clinic. The initial deluge of surprising revelations about drugs and stolen art being added to the litany of bike-theft complaints, and the thousands of bikes and parts being seized from various rented garages, as well as in the infamous shop on Toronto’s Queen West, had all created the kind of Public furor that a local Media would have been more than happy to rile up into a good old-fashioned lynch mob…back in a kinder, gentler day. Instead we were led to believe that there was a mountain of stolen bikes, and well-substantiated charges leveled against Kenk, and that Justice would indeed be brought to bear.
As 2009 was winding down, the growing vacuum of new (or at least well publicised) information on this case had left the Public wondering aloud in the online forums and other social circles of the Internet, just when and how justice would ever be dispensed to close this case. In fact most average people didn’t even realise that the case had already been closed with a guilty plea just before Christmas 2009, and that time served had been factored in. As a result, Kenk’s sudden release last month only exasperated this unquenched public thirst for blood, and did nothing to quell the growing general sentiment that the time served didn’t seem to fit the crime.
Instead the Public, with its limited views and misconceptions about the Law and it’s Enforcement, became even more entrenched in its popular notions that lawyers can somehow circumvent the law if there’s enough money involved. So how do we reconcile the apparent difference between what is, and what should be?
Perhaps this schism in Public perceptions of Kenk’s punishment formed because of the additional civil case (not a ‘criminal’ case, mind you) that was also brought to bear under the provisions of the Civil Remedies Act. This seemingly boring little legal side-play in the bigger game was all but ignored by the Public who have simply been led to believe that these thousands of bikes and parts seized by authorities were all recognized as “stolen” items to begin with, and this mis-perception simply served to further vilify the now convicted and subsequently released Kenk. The only trouble with this exercise in criminal prosecution (and subtle Public Relations?), is that Kenk was not actually convicted (as yet) of any crimes at the time that this civil suit was settled, and his resulting forfeiture of this property actually only served to add to his perceived crimes, and theft of thousands of bikes. This is one of the main reasons why the Time doesn’t seem to fit the crime.
When Kenk was forced to surrender his “property” in September 2008 in this civil suit, the Public was still too hungry for justice to be served to realize the actual implications of such a perceived punishment via Civil (rather than Criminal) Law. So when in fact, the criminal charges that actually stuck resulted in a relatively under-publicised case closure on only 16 drug possession and bike theft charges, and a conviction being made with a ‘guilty plea’ in December 2009…The Public was left to wonder if the Crown had somehow dropped the ball!
‘‘It was the appropriate resolution under the circumstances,’’ said Crown attorney Ruth Kleinhenz. It would have been ‘‘quite a feat’’ to prove all the charges against him, she said.
Although the details of this case were always fully publicised, and presented in the Media, the general Public was clearly only looking for the final results to appear, and likely wasn’t very interested in keeping up with the minute details of the proceedings as they unfolded over the past 17 months. Unfortunately, now that the Media is no longer being supplied with a criminal story to follow, and has already been handed their feel good story to provide “closure” to this case (as of this past week) the Public is left to search for its own signs of justice by reconstructing their own path to justice being served.
These links can help us find our own closure, by better understanding the circumstances…
…a continuing saga
The Public has now seen its first case of Property seizures, that led to forfeitures, that led to misunderstandings about the actual crimes…and left us wanting more Justice…For ALL!
The thousands of bikes and parts forfeited by Kenk and donated by the Crown to serve a Public Good might not be enough to satisfy the Public’s sense of justice, but at least it’s a good start. Luckily there’s MUCH more to this story than we can receive from official sources…
The vilification of Igor the Terrible has been underway for years, and this is the first of many reasons why popular ideas assure that Justice may never be served…
The Law can leave us feeling like Justice isn’t always served…The saga of Igor Kenk as Toronto’s “most notorious bike thief” provides us with multiple views on how to cure this, and other the Ills of Society…