Sunday, September 23, 2007

Librarian faces racism at trial if extradited, lawyer tells court

Sep 22, 2007 04:30 AM
Peter Small
Courts Bureau,
A Toronto librarian accused of shooting a white police officer in Chicago almost 40 years ago should not be extradited to face trial in the U.S. because as a black man, he won't get a fair trail, his lawyer has told three appeal court judges.

"Black men in the United States have been victims of persecution for centuries and that includes to the present day ... including state authorities in Chicago," John Norris argued yesterday.

Canada's justice minister turned a "blind eye" to this deep-rooted racism when he ordered Joseph Pannell to be surrendered for extradition, Norris told the panel.

But federal Crown counsel Janet Henchey countered there would be no particular risk to Pannell due to U.S. racism. "Frankly, there is racism in Canada."

Pannell, 58, has been in jail since July 2004, when he was arrested at gunpoint as he left his job at the Toronto Reference Library. continue reading

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