On Tuesday, David Milgaard's lawyer, James Lockyer, objected to questions asked by lawyer Aaron Fox, who represents former Saskatoon police detective, Eddy Karst. Fox was describing details of a March 1969 statement made by one of David's former girlfriends, Sharon Williams.
Williams wrote an 11-page statement about her experiences with David. Apparently, she'd run away with him, used drugs and slept with him. Hello! They were 16.
Firstly, it should be abundantly clear to everyone that David Milgaard is not on trial here. In fact, Inquiry commissioner Justice Edward MacCallum made a faux pas by saying that he is charged with finding out if Milgaard was wrongly convicted. There is no doubt in anyone's mind that David was wrongly convicted because he was exonerated by DNA evidence in 1997. The point of the inquiry is not to find out IF a miscarriage of justice occurred, but rather to discover WHY such a travesty was allowed to take place in our industrialized Western nation.
Secondly, hasn't David Milgaard suffered enough? This character assassination is reminiscent of putting rape victims on trial. The only reason that Milgaard and his family are putting themselves through this stressful process is so that they can find out exactly what went wrong. That way certain parties can be held accountable for their acts and more importantly, we can try to implement structural changes to decrease the number of wrongful convictions in Canada.
Thirdly, let's remember that David Milgaard was a boy of 16 when he was arrested and charged with a vicious rape and murder. The year was 1969. He was a free spirit and called himself a hippie. Of course, he had a colorful history -- many people who came of age during that era did quite a bit of experimentation. Unlike Bill Clinton, most of us admit to having inhaled!
I'm exactly David's age -- approximately six months younger than he -- and I could never get out of bed in the morning and face the world if my exploits and adventures from my teens and twenties were hitting the newsstands. That kind of treatment is usually reserved for movie stars and politicians. It's bad enough to see character assassinations in the tabloids, but they definitely don't belong in public inquiries. Let's keep David's personal history out of this story as much as possible, unless it relates directly to his arrest.