Thursday, June 17, 2010

No pardon for Homolka...

Taken from the pages of today's Chronicle Herald in Halifax, NS:

Parties co-operate to head off Homolka pardon bid
By JOAN BRYDEN The Canadian Press
Thu. Jun 17 - 4:54 AM

OTTAWA — Federal political parties have joined forces to ensure notorious sex killer Karla Homolka won’t be pardoned for her gruesome crimes.

The four parties struck an 11th-hour deal late Wednesday to hive off measures in a pardon-reform bill that would effectively ban Homolka from receiving a pardon.

The measures are to be passed at all stages by the end of the day Thursday, when the House of Commons is expected to adjourn for the summer.

The Senate, which will sit several weeks longer, must also pass the bill before it can go into effect.
Other more contentious provisions of the bill will proceed at a more leisurely pace when Parliament resumes in late September.

Homolka, who served a 12-year sentence for her role in the rape-murders of Ontario teens Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French, is eligible to apply for a pardon as of July 4.

"My family is forced to relive the pain and horror every time that woman’s name is in the news. A pardon would be unthinkable," said Talin French-Doyle, one of Kristen French’s relatives, in a press release.

"Forgiveness is the right of a victim, not a requirement of the State."

There is no confirmation that Homolka actually plans to apply for a pardon. But the theoretical prospect led to an ugly round of finger-pointing Wednesday among the four parties over who would be held responsible if the pardon reform bill isn’t passed in time to prevent a possible Homolka pardon.
With no party wanting to take the blame, a deal seemed inevitable despite the overheated rhetoric.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews confirmed late in the day that a deal had been struck.

"On the critical area of our bill so as to prevent notorious criminals from receiving a pardon, we have an agreement," Toews said.

As to Homolka, he added: "That kind of a person would not be able to get a pardon."

Toews would not go into detail but sources said the parties have agreed to essentially split the original bill in two.

Under the provisions that will pass immediately, anyone convicted of a serious personal injury offence — including manslaughter, violent assault and sexual assault — will have to wait 10 years after release from prison before applying for a pardon. Currently, they must wait three to five years.

Moreover, the National Parole Board, which now rubberstamps most pardon applications, will be given the discretion to deny a pardon if it would severely damage the reputation of the justice system.
The latter provision is meant to ban someone like Homolka from receiving a pardon.

Provisions which will wait until the fall to proceed include a proposed ban on pardons for anyone convicted of three indictable offences. Opposition parties are concerned that goes too far, potentially denying a pardon to someone who may have committed relatively minor offences in their youth, such as forging several cheques.

Earlier Wednesday, Toews and his fellow Conservatives used the spectre of a Homolka pardon to try stampede the three opposition parties into speedily passing the entire pardon-reform bill.


Now, maybe it's just me being cynical here, but for as much as I truly believe some criminals should never be eligible for a pardon, due to the nature of their crimes, with regards to Homolka, it's a little late for our justice system to save face.

They're stating that the National Parole Board will be given the discretion of refusing or denying a pardon "if it would severely damage the reputation of the justice system."

Oddly enough, they make no mention of how actually releasing a "notorious sex killer", who has served a paltry 12 years in prison for 2 particularily heinous and sadistic murders, might severely damage not only the reputation, but the very credibility of our vaunted 'justice system'. I find it practically amusing that here are all these political party reps tripping over one another, to ensure that Ms. Homolka cannot apply for a pardon. Where were they when she was nearing her release date?

Go ask any member of the victims families, if they don't find the fact of Homolka walking around free to be offensive in the extreme... to be an absolute travesty of justice, when they know full well how their loved ones died at her hands and how they are never, ever coming back.

Saving the reputation of our justice system...?

It's a little fucking late for that, lads...

1 comment:

ryan said...

I just find it wrong that the Conservatives actually expected that they could bully this bill through the entire democratic process just to prevent one person from getting a pardon. Yes the pardon legislation was outdated and left the NPB without any power over the pardons it granted, but I would like to point out that of all the pardons granted since 1970 *over 400 000*, 96% are still in force, meaning the percentage who reoffend once granted a pardon is only 4%...Not such a bad success rate for a Board with no teeth.