I am still grateful for the champions of justice that worked hard to reveal truth at the trial. It was a challenging trial that managed to tell the entire story. It was a miracle - and even if it ends here with the Supreme Court hearing - I will always be grateful for their work.
Chapter 26 D
I remembered how different it was this time talking to the reporters than it was the first time we talked to them - thirty years ago. It was almost as if the press conferences over the years served as signposts in my journey.
We are different people than we were at the first press conference after Candace’s body had been found and we had chosen the word “forgiveness” and knew absolutely nothing. We knew more at that second press conference at the police station where we learned that they had charged Mark Edward Grant with first degree murder. We knew a lot more at that that next media encounter outside the Law Courts building holding the white rose after Grant had been found guilty. I knew even more when the Manitoba Court of Appeal announced their shocking decision to overturn the verdict which resulted in an impromptu "Twitter-organized" media scrum right outside our front door. Now sitting in our living room contemplating the Supreme Court Judgement – it felt as if I had, to some degree, mastered the case. I had written the book.
Even the questions seemed different or were my answers different? I wasn’t sure.
One of the reporters asked me about justice – how did I feel about justice now? As I checked my heart, I realized I feel gratitude. I will be eternally grateful for the process.
I now knew who had killed my daughter without reasonable doubt. Knowing makes all the difference. I remember what it was like to travel standby, catching a flight without prior reservations. It used to be quite common, and it was always easy to spot those waiting on standby. They would hover around the check-in desk, waiting. Quite different than those who had tickets, who could read as they waited, even sleep, content in the knowledge that they would be able to get on the plane. The difference in knowing and not knowing is huge. I remember those long years of living in doubt, wondering who had killed our daughter and then those years prior, during and even after the trial, still not able to connect all the dots. Was he guilty? I needed to be absolutely sure so I needed to connect those dots myself. Writing this book This Mortal Coil was my way of connecting those dots. When the last dot was connected, I could feel the peace, the final end to a long hard struggle.
Knowing is a gift that allows me to relax in it all.
As I was writing the book, I had fully expected the judgement of the Supreme Court of Canada to uphold the Trial Judge's ruling. I thought my book would then become a supporting argument for the verdict – filling in the details, connecting the dots, so that everyone would have access to the truth. And we would all agree.
But now, in light of the Supreme Court decision, my book was oppositional. I was probably heightening the polarization that I didn’t want. I was truly entering into the fray.
At that moment, even as I was talking to the journalists, I was tempted to withdraw the book. But before I could do that, I discovered that Saturday's Winnipeg Free Press, actually had an entire column of quotes from the book. I knew then that the ship had sailed. It was public. There was no turning back.
Some wondered whether we wanted another trial, what did we wish? At the time of writing this final chapter, I don’t know if there will be a retrial. I think it probably will happen, but it hasn’t been announced.
It was difficult to answer because the question presumes that we have veto power over the procedure, I need to say that we don’t. The Crowns will do what they think best. They consult with us, discuss things with us, for which we are very grateful, but the decision is theirs. It is the first lesson in Victim 101 that I had to learn right at the beginning – thirty years ago. The offender has a lawyer; we as victims don’t, unless we hire our own. Cliff and I have never hired a lawyer and have no desire to do so. We will leave it to the courts to decide.
But I have waffled on this question. When I remember all the police officers who took the witness stand, all the hard work, the amazing trial that provided us with so much, and the verdict that gave back to us a sense of justice and safety, I hate to see all that lost. It was valuable not only to us, but the community as well. I wanted everyone to know - find peace and resolution.
When I think of the expense, the time, and the tedium of a trial – I wonder if it is worth it all.
However, If I were to make a political statement at this time, I would say that it is more important to invest in truth then to invest in prisons. Truth has a way of creating a natural, forceful accountability that prison walls will never be able to enforce.
But I am thankful I don’t have to make that decision.
Acceptance doesn't mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there's got to be a way through it. Michael J. Fox
(... to be continued.)