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November 29, 2007 Sing Tao Daily

Mason Loh Helps Four Central American Countries Build Crime Investigation and Justice Systems

A special training camp on crime investigation and case management held a graduation ceremony the other day at the Pacific Region Training Centre. The camp was jointly established by the Law Courts Education Society of BC, RCMP, and BC Department of Justice to provide training for the police and public prosecution units from four Central American countries.

In view of the seriousness of crimes and violence in Central America, the Law Courts Education Society of BC, RCMP, and BC Department of Justice collaborated to build a five week training program for the police, investigators and prosecutors of Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador. The program covered crime investigation, case management, evidence collection, sample analysis, tools and technology, as well as other strengths of the Canadian justice system. This effort will help the four Central American countries in managing their crime rate and ensuring public safety.

Official information from the RCMP indicates that out of 33 million people in Canada there were 658 murder cases last year. In contrast, the three Central American countries had 20 thousand murders a year in a population of 26 million people.

At the graduation ceremony Mason Loh, QC, Chair of The International Board of the Law Courts Education Society of BC spoke first. He shared his personal experience of visiting Guatemala, and encouraged students to pass on what they had learned in Canada to their colleagues at home. He expected the students would be able to apply what they had learned in Canada and indicated that the Law Courts Education Society of BC would continue providing technical and technological support as well as further training opportunities.

A few years ago Mason, members of the Society, judges, prosecutors, and RCMP officers visited Central America to help them enhance their justice system, and to plan and facilitate follow-up exchanges including provision of technological and professional training courses. Present at the graduation ceremony were Geoff Gaul, Director of Legal Services for the Criminal Justice Branch of the BC Ministry of the Attorney General, and Bill Dingwall, Chief Superintendent of the RCMP.

The Law Courts Education Society of BC is a non-profit organization, made up of BC lawyers, judges, police officers, prosecutors, and education communities. The purpose of the society is to provide hands-on educational programs and services to the general public including ethnic and immigrant communities, so they can become more aware of how our justice system works, and to assist low income earners in addressing their legal issues so that the justice system is easily accessible to all. On an international scale the society provides Canadian experience and promotes exchanges with countries like China, Guatemala, South Africa, Montenegro, etc. The society provides professional advice, training, education, and tools and technology to assist these countries in enhancing their justice systems, investigative techniques and prosecution systems so that human rights, life and property are better protected.

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