I used to read the comics for laughs – now I read items from our courts. Just recently a juror who helped acquit Shannon Murrin of first degree murder in British Columbia was visiting him at his home in Newfoundland. Police noticed 49-year-old Kathy MacDonald smiling at the suspect during the trial. Ignoring the advice of Murrin’s lawyer, because the case was still open for appeal, the thrice married MacDonald, daughter of a retired police officer, visited Shannon in his home in Newfoundland but denied any romantic involvement. She claims they are planning to write a book together about the case. What about this for a title: Better Screening of Potential Jurors Needed.

This rivals Gillian Guess, who was convicted of having an affair with accused killer Peter Gill while he was out on bail and she was a juror at a six-month murder trial in B.C. in 1995! It ended in an acquittal for Gill and five co-accused men. Are good men that scarce?

Don’t forget Linda Gibbons, in and out of jail over a five-year period for trying to counsel women not to kill their unborn babies. After witnessing her arrest last year, broadcaster Michael Coren noted: “Now the streets will be safe.”

Then you have wealthy patriot Karlheinz Schreiber, who holds joint Canadian-German citizenship. He got angry recently because the Swiss Supreme Court have ruled that the RCMP should be given access to Schreiber’s bank accounts in order to clear up the rumours of any wrong doing regarding the $1.8 billion Airbus deal way back in 1995. After all, Karl, you wouldn’t want the RCMP to get to the bottom of this mess, would you? (This was the case where former PM Brian Mulroney sued the Canadian government for libel and garnered $2 million from taxpayers as a result. Remember the old axiom: “Yes, son, with enough money you CAN buy justice.”)

Here is a news story so wildly ridiculous you’d think I wrote it! The National Post reported Feb. 14 that one of Edmonton’s most notorious criminals recently won a major victory in a bid to create a national prison’s organization dedicated to helping convicts get out of jail. Claude Robinson, 45, who is presently serving a 20-year sentence for a variety of crimes, including a bizarre plot to kidnap Wayne Gretzky, won a court ruling recently over the creation of his Prisoners Legal Advocates Network, called PLAN. Robinson wanted to hire in-house lawyers for prisoners and develop a national prisoner library containing books and computer links on legal issues. (Will How to Dig Your Own Tunnel and The Great Escape be among the books?) To fund the project, Robinson asked prison officials to make bi-weekly deductions from the bank accounts of inmates who supported PLAN. When the prison officials refused and were upheld on appeal to the commissioner of Correction Service Canada, Robertson took his case to the Federal Court and won!

Robinson, described by police as a criminal mastermind, started stealing at age 10. His record includes blowing up an armoured truck and orchestrating a million-dollar drug heist. He never let his criminal record interfere with his desire to go into business.

Can you imagine the kind of income Robinson’s legal con game could generate – say at a $2 bi-weekly contribution per prisoner if say only 50,000 prisoners went for it in Canada? That’s $2.6 million a year! If he takes the jobs of chairman and CEO of his fledgling PLAN as the sole owner, he could dribble a few bucks out to some hungry lawyers and keep his prison clientele happy with a few bucks and blow the rest. But a guy like Robinson is unlikely to pay his income tax and keep good books and the government eventually will charge him with income tax evasion. (Probably for cooking his travelling allowance.) And they convict Robinson after a long costly trial