Thursday, January 05, 2006

The object of feces and abuse

My neighbour, the tree assassin, was in court today.

You may have heard of her. Her name is June Matheson. She's the woman who drilled holes in the base of five trees and poured poison into them because she wanted a clear view of the ocean from her $1.7-million condo.

These weren't just any old trees on a lawn somewhere. These trees were on public property. Right on the edge of Stanley Park. Stanley Park!

Her lawyer argued that she had been punished enough by the media and the public and therefore jail time or a fine was unnecessary. According to the Globe and Mail, she had to sell her condo because people were throwing rocks, eggs and bags of dog shit at her apartment balcony.

The best quote came from her lawyer, who argued:

"My 70-something client is now the object, truly, of feces and abuse."

Awesome! Oh, wait. I think he's saying we should feel sorry for her.

The mind-boggling thing is that the judge gave her an absolute discharge. That's right. No conviction, no fine. Nothing. Hello? She killed trees on English Bay because they were blocking her view!

Worse, this was pre-meditated tree murder. She travelled to Washington State to buy a brand of poison she found on the Internet because it wasn't available in Canada. She even put the poison into a plain container before she crossed the border back into Canada.

To paraphrase the Crown attorney, what she did was selfish and idiotic in the extreme. Surely that deserves some kind of punishment, aside from being skewered in the press.

But the judge was mysteriously swayed by her letter of apology:

"At the time I did this, I thought only selfishly about my view and the thousands of dollars spent on waterfront taxes to enjoy the beautiful ocean," he read. "What I now realize is how wrong it was to take away something that wasn't mine to take. For that I apologize."

"I had to sell my home that I love because of endless harassment. I now have a home with no view. My health has been affected and I've had death threats made against me."

Wow. Could that half-assed apology be any more lame? The ocean is beautiful but trees aren't?

To reiterate: She now has a home without a view. This woman just doesn't get it. Is she truly sorry or just sorry she got caught?

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