How can she get away with this?

Letters to the Editor

Monday 13 September 1999


We asked you about a woman who killed two teens in a car crash being allowed to walk free because her diet drug caused a "psychotic mental disorder."

Just pathetic and not surprising. If it was me who did that, I would be in jail right now. and if I tried some wild defence involving diet drugs, I would have been laughed at.

I do not know the particulars of the case, but when I read about the case the first time, my comments were: Just you wait and see, she is going to walk.

Why did they not have the trial in Washington? That is where the accident happened. It's sad, but our Canadian judicial system bows to the U.S. Julia Campagna killed those two beautiful kids, who had not even started their lives.
It just makes me sick.

Gregg James, Burnaby

I think the judge erred greatly in his decision.

Patrick Longworth, Richmond

When are our judges going to learn that it is their responsibility to balance the right of the accused and the victims? Even giving Ms. Campagna the benefit of the doubt and accepting that she did not know what she was doing, can't the judge understand the rage the friends and families of these two girls must feel seeing the killer get off? Is he not responsible for seeing that their feelings are taken into account?

Ms. Campagna made the choice to take a stimulant knowing there was mental illness in her family! If she were truly remorseful, she would understand that although she can do nothing to bring the girls back, accepting a prison term would in some way bring closure to family and friends of the victims.

Further, it might be easier for Ms. Campagna to get some closure on this tragic event if she accepted some sort of punishment for it. Decisions like that of Justice Singh only increase the desire (and logic) of vigilantes.

Karen Clisby, Victoria

I don't think ephedrine should be sold anywhere. I see it as legal speed.

Kodl McKinnon, Richmond

I think when a person can knowingly take a diet pill, be responsible for the deaths of two young women and get away with it -- there is something horribly wrong with our justice system. Whether it is alcohol, prescription drugs or over-the-counter drugs, she took the drug willingly and should have been aware that she was not reacting in a sane manner.

I can't help but think that if she was not dressed fashionably and it had been alcohol instead of diet pills, the outcome of the trial would have been much different.

Shelly Craig, Vancouver

I don't care if this woman was taking diet pills at the time or not. That's not the issue here. Her actions killed people. that's the issue.

Lawrie Sutton, Maple Ridge

Am I to understand that Supreme Court Justice Thimersingh M. Singh thinks it's OK to kill someone because you were on a drug that causes "psychotic mental disorders" and didn't really mean to do it? Firstly, the legal drugs that contain ephedrine have warnings on the package that say due to side effects, you should not drive a vehicle or operate heavy machinery.
I do believe this would also include "flying a plane."

Tara-Lynn Lang, New Westminister

If they ruled Campagna not responsible because of a mental condition, at least she should be put in a mental hospital until she's deemed not to be in that condition. Or she may go out and do it again.

Doug Stahlbrand, Abbotsford

I am writing to let you know how shocked I am at the decision by made by Thimersingh M. Singh. I may not be a medical or legal expert. But am I the only one who thinks you should be held responsible for your actions if you take something that can alter your thinking patterns and you choose to drive anyway? It makes me ill to think that there is an excuse for almost every illegal act in this country. I can't even begin to imagine the loss that the families of Kimberley Brooks and Monique Ishikawa are feeling and I hope that I never have to. Should I ever find myself in this position, I hope to God that I have a judge with morals and empathy. My prayers go out to the friends and families of the girls, who I will never get to know.

Kerry Evans, New Westminister

Julia Campagna should go to jail for causing the deaths of Monica and Kimberly.

Edwin Richardson, Vancouver

I am outraged at the dismissal of criminal charges in the Julie Campagna case. Due to psychotic episodes brought on by a weight-loss drug, this woman is responsible for the deaths of two young women who barely had a chance to begin their lives.

Anyone taking medication of any kind should be aware of the possible side effects, and take precautions to prevent this sort of dementia from
affecting those around them. If she had been drunk, she would have been charged with manslaughter. Why is being high (legal medication or not) any different?

Michelle McKay, Vancouver

I think it's really sad that somebody can use their vehicle as a weapon, take two innocent people's lives and get such a lenient sentence.

Cheryl Gourley, Port Coquitlam

Why should anyone have been driving at all when using Xenedrine? It's exactly the same thing as impaired driving.

Art Farr, Abbotsford

Should Justice Singh ever lose his position on the bench, I'm sure he would be welcomed by Immigration Canada. He seems well equipped for the inept decision-making process.

Roger Scott, Ladner