So, once again folks, we have Toronto`s top member of public office alleged to have been involved in scandalous and potentially criminal behaviour.
And the question on everyone`s mind is: will he come clean or tough it out without answering the real questions about the validity of the video apparently portraying him enjoying a pipe full of crack cocaine ( or possibly some other illegal drug ) with two currently unidentified users or dealers?
The answer, as past experience has shown, suggests our good mayor will take the latter approach, leaving it to a few of his City Hall allies and a hired criminal defense lawyer to face the press and the citizens of Toronto instead.
Of course, Rob Ford`s lawyer has acted in his client`s best interests by saying that these allegations of criminal wrong-doing are nothing more than that, namely unfounded allegations, in the absence of the genuine article itself, namely the video allegedly captured on one of the user`s or dealer`s cell phone video camera.
His criminal lawyer also quite wisely suggests that should the video surface, the public will be able to judge for themselves whether, presumably, the individual captured on camera can be identified as Rob Ford and if so, whether or not he is engaging in criminal activity.
No doubt that if this video becomes available to the media, competent and experienced counsel would then assert that the notorious reputation of drug dealers in general, suggests that this clip may well have been tampered with and that principles of justice and fairness requires this potential piece of evidence be scientifically examined by forensic experts in the field.
The difficulty in this possible scenario is the fact that the concept of continuity comes into play concerning the handling and integrity of any physical piece of evidence, including of course the now-famous cell phone containing the offending video.
As in any criminal prosecution, the article in question must be proven in open court to have been handled in such a way as to virtually guarantee that it has not been tampered with or maintained in a fashion that suggest it`s physical integrity may have been compromised. This is especially true, for example, in prosecutions and defense counsel challenges in criminal drug trials where the article that has been examined forensically is a prohibited drug, such as marihuana, cocaine or an opium derivative under The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Failure of the Prosecuting Attorney to satisfy a court on the issue of continuity, beyond a reasonable doubt, will result in an accused person being found not guilty at the conclusion of a criminal court proceeding in which the handling of evidence is an issue.
The net result of these evidentiary practicalities leads to the conclusion that no criminal charges would ever be laid against Mr. Ford unless, minimally, the video was turned over directly to the police and the providers were prepared to testify as to how the video was obtained and the cell phone handled and have their credibility tested by the cross-examination of defense counsel at trial. For obvious reasons, we know this is not going to happen.
The nice folks who are in possession of the alleged cell phone are obviously more concerned with their own monetary gain than the notion of bringing an alleged drug offender, including potentially themselves, to justice.
However, as a brief word of caution to the would-be profiteers and to open up the possibility of another scenario for how this may play out for Rob Ford –if in fact the video is completely legitimate, then our mayor may have a serious drug addiction that could well lead to a long bout in a rehab clinic coupled with the usual mea culpa, blame-it-on-my addiction statement from him or his supporters. This turn of events might come sooner rather than later but at the exact point in time when it arrives, the much sought after video will become worthless, as in nada, also sometimes referred to as zero. Conclusion: seller beware!