Author Topic: CANADA: Considering rewriting law so that sex offenders & pedophiles do not rece  (Read 3969 times)

Sleuth

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Earlier in the day, the Harper government seized on the James pardon, saying it is considering a new law that will make it harder or even impossible for sex offenders to secure pardons from the National Parole Board after serving their sentences.Toews said he will look at rewriting the law so that sex offenders, pedophiles and others who have a troubled history of rehabilitation do not receive rubber-stamped pardons, as is currently the case.

Another possibility is that they could be excluded altogether, as is the case with offenders convicted of crimes garnering life or indeterminate sentences, he said.

"Is a 19-year-old kid who receives a conviction for an impaired driving offence and then serves his sentence, waits the five years and applies because he wants to get in a police force, should he be treated the same way as a serial offender like a rapist, like a pedophile?" asked Toews, who is responsible for the National Parole Board.

"In my opinion there is a substantive difference between the offender, the nature of the offences and the difficulties involved in, if I can say cure, for a sex offender."

Kennedy said he is still concerned a pardon adds a barrier that makes it harder for people to learn about sex offenders.

"Crime against a child, I don't think should be hidden from the public," said Kennedy.

He also thinks pardons are given too easily.

"I quickly went online . . . and it's pretty much 1-800-DIAL-A-PARDON. It's a five-minute application. That bothers me because with all the youth organizations across the country, they all use police checks to protect their organizations from the Graham James of the world," said Kennedy.

Kennedy, a vocal spokesman against sexual abuse, said he thinks pardons should be denied to applicants who have not acknowledged the pain they have caused their victims.

James, who went on to coach hockey in Spain after his release from prison, has never apologized, nor has he shown remorse, Kennedy said in an interview from Calgary.

"I think there has to be a lot more proof that there has been change and to me, there's never been any acceptance on his part of what he's done," said Kennedy. "He was right in there teaching kids again. To me, if people really want to change, they wouldn't put themselves in that situation."

Pardons do not erase criminal records. However, they are kept separate from other criminal records, so that they are rendered virtually invisible.

Offenders convicted of serious crimes can apply five years after finishing their sentences, provided they have been law-abiding citizens during that time. Less-serious offenders need only wait three years.

The federal concession permits those who have paid their debt to society to travel, find jobs and qualify for housing. Human-rights laws prohibit discrimination against pardoned offenders.

Toews, who stressed the value of pardons in helping offenders get on with their lives, said he will also consider whether victims should be notified when an application is granted.

The National Parole Board has little leeway to deny pardons, said director Yves Bellefeuille. The board granted 39,628 pardons in 2008-09. Bellefeuille said the board typically rejects about one per cent of completed applications each year.

"The Criminal Records Act does not differentiate pardon applicants by the type of offence they have committed, nor does it allow the board to refuse to grant a person a pardon based on the nature of their crime," the board said in a written statement.

Vocal complaints from the Prime Minister's Office would not be enough to warrant the independent board to cancel a decision, Bellefeuille said.

Harper's spokesman Dimitri Soudas lambasted the parole board for pardoning James and failing to tell the government about it.
"The prime minister has asked for explanation on how the National Parole Board can pardon someone who committed such horrific crimes that remain shocking to all Canadians."

Even if legislation is introduced to make it harder for sex offenders to win pardons, it would fall dramatically short of the treatment programs and stiffer sentences that are needed to crack down on child sexual abuse, Fleury said.

James served as a junior hockey coach from 1984-97 with the Western Hockey League's Moose Jaw Warriors, Swift Current Broncos and Calgary Hitmen. His whereabouts is unknown.

University of Calgary law professor Chris Levy said the proposals Toews is advocating would be a significant change from current pardon practices.

"I think the minister is undoubtedly saying something that will be politically popular in most quarters," said Levy.

If enacted, he foresees a possible charter challenge.

"Why should someone who runs a Ponzi scheme and rips people off for millions and millions of dollars be able to get a pardon more quickly after the expiry of the sentence than someone who damages young hockey players?

"Morally, we may feel that we have an answer to that question, but is it simply a moral judgment or is this is a distinction that has to have some underlying rational basis, as opposed to merely an emotional basis," said Levy.

The executive director of Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse said the pardon of a high-profile sexual abuser won't make it any easier for people to come forward and report when they are the victims of sexual assaults.

Danielle Aubry said the James pardon is "an outrage."

"When, when, when are we going to make these people accountable? The only way they can become accountable is when we have structures in society that take this issue seriously. It's more than frustrating," said Aubry.

"The people that are coming into our agency for counselling, or people who aren't, look at these kinds of situations, and how does that provide hope for you that people are going to believe or that people are going to take what you have to say seriously?"

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Former+hockey+players+cheer+review+pardons+offenders/2764920/story.html

Chris

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"The prime minister has asked for explanation on how the National Parole Board can pardon someone who committed such horrific crimes that remain shocking to all Canadians."

sad. see my post in the other thread. I am becoming a little annoyed with these people now.

art-hu

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WARRENT out for the arrest of Graham James.
Last known to be in Mexico.

jobo

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Geesh....I watched a show months ago about Graham James....at that time, they showed him in Mexico....

Like I said on another post, our Crime Reporters need to do some hard-hitting reporting..OR do we have any??

Edsonmom

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By Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press, thecanadianpress.com, Updated: October 28, 2010 4:15 AM

'One less predator on the street': Fleury
WINNIPEG - Graham James's accusers reacted with both relief and worry Wednesday after the convicted sex offender surrendered to police at Toronto's Pearson International Airport and was whisked to Winnipeg.

James, 58, is wanted on nine new sex-related charges involving three individuals over a 15-year span.

"I think there's one less predator on the street and he can't hurt any more kids," said former NHL star Theo Fleury, one of his accusers.

But another of the complainants, who remains anonymous under a court-ordered publication ban, told The Canadian Press that the former hockey coach's return opens a painful new chapter.

"Now that he's behind bars, that's good for society as a whole and all of those he no longer has access to," said the complainant.

"But it's not necessarily so good for the three of us who came forward and who are now clearly in his sights. Who knows what his next move will be?"

Police in the Manitoba capital issued a short news release saying the former junior hockey coach was arrested "through mutual agreement" and remains in custody.

No additional details will be released, they said.

The warrant, issued earlier this month, listed allegations from that date back to 1979 and end in 1994. They include Fleury, who has published a tell-all autobiography alleging that James abused him starting when he was 14 years old.

"The thing I worry about is that he actually did come back (voluntarily)" said the unnamed complainant, a former teenage hockey prospect.

"It isn't as if he is some fine, upstanding, rehabilitated, law-abiding citizen, no matter how hard he will try to make himself appear that way."

Fleury, however, expressed no reservations and said he was pleased to hear that James is once again behind bars.

"I understand that it does take a while to put an investigation together, put charges together and whatnot, so I'm pleased at this point with the result of what happened today," he said from Toronto. "We'll just keep moving forward and trust in the legal system that we'll get justice."

Fleury added he is prepared to testify if the case goes to trial.

"I'll do whatever it takes from here on in ... to make this come to an ending."

James, who coached the Moose Jaw Warriors, Swift Current Broncos and Calgary Hitmen, pleaded guilty in 1997 to hundreds of assaults on two teenage players, including former NHLer Sheldon Kennedy, and was sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

He was quietly pardoned three years ago, news which caused an uproar when it was revealed by The Canadian Press earlier this year.

The federal government has since won all-party agreement to toughen up Canada's pardon system. The Prime Minister's Office had no comment about Wednesday's arrest.

James's last known address was in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Evan Roitenberg, his lawyer, said late Wednesday that when the warrant was issued, James had resolved to come back to Canada to face the charges, and "that's exactly what he did."

He said James thought he had moved past this chapter of his life but is "now faced with it again" and finds himself "revisiting the past."

Roitenberg added that while he didn't expect Canadians would have sympathy for James, "it certainly hasn't been easy on him."

"But he was determined to deal with it in this fashion."

He said it was too early to discuss how James would plead. As a next step, Roitenberg wants to familiarize himself with the prosecution's arguments.

"We are in early days. I have not seen the Crown's case. I have not seen witness statements."

--With files from Bruce Cheadle and Jim Bronskill in Ottawa
http://news.ca.msn.com/canada/cp-article.aspx?cp-documentid=26117700

Chris

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That is good!