Paul Bernardo sits in the back of a police cruiser as he leaves a hearing in St. Catharines, Ont., April 5, 1994. The lawyer for the families of Paul Bernardo’s victims says the killer and serial rapist should be returned to his maximum-security prison and transparency be provided around what led to his transfer to a medium-security facility in the first place.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
By Stephanie Taylor in Ottawa
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre is calling on the federal government to use whatever tools it can to reverse a decision by the Correctional Service of Canada to transfer killer Paul Bernardo to a medium-security prison.
Bernardo’s move to a facility in Quebec was made public last week after the correctional service notified the lawyer representing the families of 15-year-old Kristen French and 14-year-old Leslie Mahaffy, whom Bernardo kidnapped, tortured and murdered in the early 1990s.
The killer and serial rapist had been serving a life sentence at Millhaven Institution, a maximum-security penitentiary near Kingston, Ont.
Tim Danson, a lawyer for the victims’ families, says it was unacceptable that the prison service refused to answer questions about the reason for the Bernardo’s move or details of his custody conditions, citing his privacy rights.
Speaking to reporters in Ottawa, Poilievre called Bernardo a “monster” and said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government should work to see him returned to a maximum-security prison.
In a statement last Friday, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said Bernardo’s transfer was “shocking and incomprehensible,” adding that he planned to raise the issue with Anne Kelly, commissioner of the federal correctional service.
Danson said he was pleased to the minister’s statement
“Now we need action,” he told The Canadian Press on Sunday. “This is one of Canada’s most notorious, sadistic, psychopathic killers.”
“We need the public in masses, in millions, to be writing to the minister, to the commissioner of corrections, and to the members of Parliament, to express their outrage over this — that secrecy will not work. We want transparency.”
Mendicino said in his statement he expects the correctional service to “take a victim-centred and trauma-informed approach in these cases.”
The service, for its part, issued a statement offering no details about Bernardo’s transfer but saying safety is its “paramount consideration” in all such decisions.
“While we cannot comment on the specifics of an offender’s case under the Privacy Act, we want to assure the public that this offender continues to be incarcerated in a secure institution, with appropriate security perimeters and controls in place,” the statement read.
It went on to note that Bernardo, who has been designated a dangerous offender, is serving an “indeterminate sentence” with no end date.
Danson said the French and Mahaffy families were shocked to hear of Bernardo’s transfer, with the move bringing up decades of anguish and grief.
“Then for me to have to tell them as their lawyer and their friend, ‘I’m afraid I have no answers for you because of Bernardo’s privacy rights,'” he said.
“Of course their response is the one that you would expect: What about the rights of Kristen? What about the rights of Leslie? What about their rights?”
“These are questions I can’t answer other than just to agree with them and share in their despair.”
Bernardo’s dangerous offender status makes the move all the more puzzling, Danson added as he questioned why Bernardo should reap any benefits of being in a medium-security facility with more lenient living conditions.
“We need an open and transparent discussion and debate. These are major, major public institutions paid for by the taxpayers of Canada.”
He suggested the correctional service’s handling of the matter risks leading the public to feel suspicious of the entire system.
“They want to do everything behind closed doors and secretly.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on June 5, 2023.
Winnipeg man pleads guilty to manslaughter in the death of Saskatchewan RCMP officer
A man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of a Saskatchewan RCMP officer. RCMP Constable Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. Patton, of the Indian Head Detachment, was killed on June 12, 2021, after being hit by a pickup truck during a traffic stop. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
By Jeremy Simes in Regina
The mother of a Saskatchewan RCMP officer who was killed two years ago says it was “hell” to watch a Winnipeg man plead guilty to manslaughter in her son’s death.
Alphonse Stanley Traverse pleaded guilty on Wednesday to the charge in Regina Court of King’s Bench for his role in Const. Shelby Patton’s death. Traverse also pleaded guilty to a charge of stealing a motor vehicle.
“It’s very traumatic,” Melanie Patton, the mother of the 26-year-old Mountie, said in an interview.
“It’s better than sitting through a trial, but at the same time there’s so much trauma and we’re not going to recover. It’s like I’m living in hell.”
Shelby Patton was killed more than two years ago when he attempted to stop a stolen truck, driven by Traverse, near the town of Wolseley, east of Regina.
According to an agreed statement of facts, Traverse had been driving from Winnipeg to Saskatchewan in June 2021 to play VLTs. He was with Marlene Pagee at the time, and they chose to go to Saskatchewan because bars were open in the province. COVID-19 measures meant bars were closed in Manitoba.
Traverse was on warrant status for various Criminal Code offences, the document said, and Pagee had been on bail with conditions. She also faces one count of accessory to murder after the fact in Patton’s death.
Court heard Traverse and Pagee were driving a stolen green truck as they made their way to Saskatchewan. They were both using crystal meth.
However, the green truck wasn’t working well, so Traverse and Pagee began looking for another vehicle. The document said they came across another truck near Pipestone, Man., and stole it. The truck was unlocked and had keys in the ignition.
The document said Traverse and Pagee made their way to Wolseley and stopped outside a hotel. Patton was then dispatched to investigate a suspected stolen truck in town.
When Patton arrived, court heard the couple noticed the Mountie’s car, so they decided to drive away. However, Patton stopped them shortly thereafter and walked towards the driver’s window, speaking with Traverse.
Court heard Patton had asked Traverse if he worked for the company that owned the truck. Traverse lied, saying he did. Patton then told him the truck had been reported stolen, asking him to step out of the vehicle until the issue could be sorted.
Traverse then turned to Pagee, saying “I can’t,” and started the truck.
Court heard Patton stepped up on the truck’s running board and reached for the key’s inside. The truck then accelerated rapidly and jerked.
The document said Patton fell off the running board. The rear driver-side tire ran over his body, killing him.
Melanie Patton said her son’s death was no accident.
“He was a very good officer. He did not make a mistake,” she said. “I’m sure any officer would have done the same. The job is very dangerous and getting more dangerous, unfortunately.”
She said she hopes Traverse is given the maximum penalty.
Traverse is scheduled for sentencing on Jan. 17.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 27, 2023.
Conditional sentence for woman who set fires at start of 2022 wildfire season
A 43-year-old Kamloops, B.C., woman has been sentenced for two arson fires she admitted to setting. A warning sign about fire risk is seen as smoke from wildfires fills the air, in Kelowna, B.C., Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
A 43-year-old Kamloops, B.C., woman who admitted to setting two arson fires has been sentenced.
Angela Cornish was charged with four counts of arson, related to numerous fires set between April and May 2022, at the start of the wildfire season.
Cornish pleaded guilty to two arsons near the southern Interior community of Lac Le Jeune and records show she received a six month conditional sentence during an appearance in provincial court in Kamloops on Tuesday.
The court stayed three other charges related to alleged arsons near Monte Lake, Pinantan Lake and Lac Le Jeune.
An investigation by RCMP and the BC Wildfire Service began last spring after residents alerted officials to slash piles that had been set ablaze along remote logging roads south and east of Kamloops.
None of the fires spread into the nearby grass or bush.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 27, 2023.
Alberta is getting serious about nuclear power
Yes, You Are Being Manipulated
Celebrity Owners– Fun, Yes, But The Equity Is Even Better
The Red Deer Polytechnic Alumni Association is inviting you to Palate: A Taste of Local
Bruce Dowbiggin2 days ago
“I Promised Mess I Wouldn’t Do This”
International2 days ago
JPMorgan settles claims that it enabled Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking acts for $75 million
conflict2 days ago
Liberals, Tories join calls for House Speaker to resign over Nazi veteran invite
International2 days ago
Brooks Robinson, Orioles third baseman with 16 Gold Gloves, has died. He was 86
Disaster2 days ago
Helicopter crashes in central B.C., multiple people on board: RCMP
Alberta2 days ago
Expanding transit access for low-income Albertans
espionage2 days ago
After briefing on intel, Singh says ‘clear evidence’ India involved in B.C. killing
National2 days ago
House Speaker Anthony Rota resigns over honouring man who fought for Nazis