So, let me see if I understand this properly: Jeffrey Paul Emery was arrested and charged with aggravated assault for lighting his common-law wife on fire. He sprayed her with hair spray and used a barbecue lighter to set on fire. In a report I heard on CBC  Radio One today, the first fire was put out so he did it again and a fireball was the result. Apparently, she lost all of her hair and suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns all over her body. Oh, and to add insult to injury, he was released on bail to visit family over Christmas and he disappeared. He has been convicted in absentia.

Where to start? There are so many things wrong here. First of all, why was he only charged with aggravated assault? It seems to me that if you are going to light someone on fire you probably mean to kill them. I am sure that the woman involved felt like he was trying to kill her. If you light someone on fire, especially using a highly flammable accelerant like hairspray, I am fairly sure that you mean to kill someone. If reports on CBC Radio One are correct her lit her on fire twice. How can this be aggravated assault? There must have been some planning going on.

Why on earth any judge would think that this man deserved leniency is beyond comprehension. This is the problem with our judicial system which is mostly populated by straight, white men who do not understand the experience of minorities in the justice system. Here is a man who has shown, at the very least, that he has serious tendencies towards unthinkable violence, but we think he should spend time with his family. Perhaps if there had been an adequate charge laid, for example attempted murder, then maybe they would not have let him go.

He has been convicted in absentia but what does that really mean? He is living somewhere, free for the last 4 years while the woman he tried to kill is still trying to recover from her injuries. Her name has not been released. I wish her the best in her recover. I hope they catch the bastard who did this and lock him up for a very long time. However, I suspect it will not be nearly long enough given what he did. The even worse prospect is that he will do it to another woman.

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