Conrad Black is currently a high-profile marionette of the American legal system; quite ridiculously and unfairly so, in my opinion.
He’s been successful in mounting an appeal of conviction to the highest U.S. court and been granted bail, but he’s reduced to a form of legal groveling before Amy St. Eve, the judge that convicted and sentenced him on the original charges (a curious thing, indeed, if you ask me) as to specific terms of release, in particular whether he’ll be allowed to return to Canada to await disposition of process.
I’ve done perhaps a thousand bail hearings here in Canada. While U.S. law is no doubt different, the only possible germane issue is whether Mr. Black will return to deal with his charges. In that regard, the only real questions are relating to the risk of flight.
So, let’s think about that for a minute. If he’s in Canada, where he’s subject to arrest and extradition, where’s he going to hide – the “sovereign country” of Quebec? Conrad Black is a high-profile person. Is he likely to “disappear in the night”? (Not if the hoards of paparazzi have anything to say about it.) Is he likely to take flight to hide amongst the Taliban?
He’s posted the required bail. It’s churlish to continue this charade about conditions, “full financial disclosure” and the other nonsense. I think what’s happening here is that Judge St. Eve has gotten enthralled with the media limelight exactly the same way Lance Ito did in the Simpson trial – forgetting, as if it’s relevant anyway, who’s the star of the show. So now, the more trivial auditions that she can require, the better to keep the spotlight firmly fixed as she “deliberates”.
The fact that she has any authority in this situation, never mind any role whatsoever, is bizarrely anachronistic. The assurance of impartiality and absence of bias in this circumstance cannot be maintained with a straight face. Someone should get the hook out for Amy.