Paul Bernardo ap­plies for day pa­role

Cape Breton Post - - NEWS -

Paul Bernardo has ap­plied for day pa­role in Toronto, though lawyers say he has al­most no chance of suc­ceed­ing.

The lawyer for the fam­i­lies of Bernardo’s mur­der vic­tims, 14year-old Les­lie Ma­haffy and 15year-old Kris­ten French, said Cor­rec­tional Ser­vice Canada sent out a form let­ter to the fam­i­lies last week ad­vis­ing them of his ap­pli­ca­tion.

It is Bernardo’s right to ap­ply for day pa­role three years be­fore he is el­i­gi­ble for full pa­role on his life sen­tence, but this has left fam­i­lies of both girls dev­as­tated, even though they knew this day was com­ing, said their lawyer Tim Dan­son.

“It is 22 years af­ter the fact for my clients,’’ Dan­son said.

“It was — I don’t even know what words to use — but re­ally up­set­ting for them. It just brings ev­ery­thing back and they have to re-live things.’’

He has told the fam­i­lies that there is no chance Bernardo will ever see the out­side world again, that this is sim­ply part of the process.

Bernardo was sen­tenced to life with no chance for pa­role for 25 years for rap­ing and mur­der­ing Ma­haffy and French.

He was also given dan­ger­ous of­fender sta­tus, the most se­vere des­ig­na­tion in Cana­dian law, for ad­mit­ting to rap­ing 14 other women and other charges re­lated to Ma­haffy and French. Dan­ger­ous of­fend­ers can be im­pris­oned in­def­i­nitely.

Dan­son said he re­ceived the let­ter on June 25 and has been cor­re­spond­ing with the author­i­ties since then. It’s rare for peo­ple con­victed of first-de­gree mur­der to also be des­ig­nated dan­ger­ous of­fend­ers, since first-de­gree mur­der al­ready car­ries a life sen­tence. Dan­son be­lieves the dan­ger­ous of­fender des­ig­na­tion must be dealt with first, rather than the mur­der charges.

“There is a process that’s set up for dan­ger­ous of­fend­ers to per­suade the pa­role board that you’re no longer a dan­ger­ous of­fender, which is dif­fer­ent cri­te­ria than nor­mal pa­role board cri­te­ria,’’ he said.

He said the author­i­ties are work­ing with him to fig­ure out the proper process.

Michael Man­del­corn, pres­i­dent of the Cana­dian Prison Law As­so­ci­a­tion, which ad­vo­cates for pris­on­ers’ rights, said the stigma of a dan­ger­ous of­fender des­ig­na­tion in­hibits any chance of pa­role.


The lawyer for the fam­i­lies of Paul Bernardo’s mur­der vic­tims, 14-year-old Les­lie Ma­haffy and 15-year- old Kris­ten French, says Cor­rec­tional Ser­vice Canada sent out a form let­ter to the fam­i­lies last week ad­vis­ing them of his ap­pli­ca­tion for day pa­role.

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