Volume 92, Issue 95

Friday, March 26, 1999


NEWS

Report says increase education funding

Rent refunds may be in the mail

Safety proposals pass the first step

USC audited statements check in four months late

Board sits on SOGS fee decrease

New fee for medical residents causing accessibility concerns

Iozzo sees term as educational triumph

Quickies

Caught on campus

Safety proposals pass the first step



By Mark Brown
Gazette Staff

The Coordinating Committee for Community Safety has made its first step towards creating tougher legislation against people who feel the need to carry knives.

The CCCS, a London based group created in response to a sharp increase in violence in the city, won support of the London police services board in a meeting yesterday for their short list of modest changes to existing legislation.

Eventually the CCCS wants their proposals to be absorbed into the Criminal Code of Canada. Currently the CCCS is proposing to establish minimum sentences for anyone who is concealing a knife or uses a knife, said Bill Buchner, who is heading up the legal team for the committee.

The strict new sentences the committee has recommended include imposing a minimum 30-day sentence for individuals who are convicted of concealing a knife and a minimum three-month sentence for people convicted of assault with a knife. The strongest penalty recommended by the committee was a one-year sentence for those charged and convicted of causing bodily harm with a weapon.

Currently the sentencing is up to the discretion of the judge, he added. Buchner's concern was that people are not presently being deterred because the penalty comes as an afterthought.

David Tennant, co-chair of CCCS, said the changes are intended to send a clear and unmistakable message to individuals who feel it is necessary to carry knives. "If you use a knife as a weapon you are going to jail; if you conceal a knife as a weapon you are going to jail," he told the board.

Deputy mayor Anne Marie DeCicco was pleased with the direction the committee has taken, applauding the committee's recommendation to establish minimum sentencing since it will act as a clear deterrent.

Matthew Kelleher, next year's University Students' Council legal affairs officer, was optimistic about the committee's proposals. "The proposed changes, while conservative, will be very effective."

Last night's approval of the CCCS recommendations makes it possible for the police services board to present the changes to the Community Association on Public Safety on Monday. If the CCCS proposals win the support of this committee, it will then allow the deputy mayor to raise the issue at the Big City Mayors Conference in April in the hope of rallying national support.


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Copyright The Gazette 1999