Kudos to local MP for victims’ rights bill
It is almost impossible to imagine the pain of having a loved one murdered. Now imagine having to sit in a room with the killer every two years to recount, in painstaking detail, the horror and the impact it has had on your life.
That is the situation the family of Sandra Rallo — killed by her husband Jon Rallo — has endured for over four decades. Now, thanks to legislation championed by Flamborough-Glanbrook Conservative MP David Sweet, Sandra’s family and other victims of violent offenders will have to go through that pain far less frequently.
The legislation calling for changes to the Corrections and Conditional Release act, passed in April 2015, forces offenders to wait for five years for mandatory parole hearings, up from the previous two.
The impact of that new legislation came into focus last week, as Sweet and members of Sandra’s family attended yet another parole hearing for Jon Rallo. Fortunately, the next one might not be for another five years.
On Aug. 16, 1976, Rallo killed Sandra, 29, his son Jason, 6, and daughter Stephanie, 5 in their west Mountain home. The bodies of Sandra and Stephanie were found in area waterways, but Jason’s body has never been found. Rallo has always maintained his innocence. He has never revealed where his son’s body could be found so the boy could be properly laid to rest.
Sandra’s family has attended every court date and parole hearing since the murders. That’s four decades of facing this cold-blooded killer. As The Spectator’s Susan Clairmont reported last week, few if any families of murder victims have had to endure that kind of torture for so long.
Sweet witnessed their pain — he has attended several of Rallo’s parole hearings, as well as the parole hearings of George Lovie, who killed Donna and Arnold Edwards in their Glanbrook home in 1991. And in 2009, he began work on a private member’s bill to extend the mandatory review periods for parole for violent offenders.
When the legislation finally passed in 2015 — one of less than 300 private member’s bills to receive royal assent since 1910 — Sweet said the fight was worth it.
“Attending those parole board hearings was an eyeopener because you could see the re-victimization of victims’ families taking place right before your eyes and it broke your heart,” he said at the time.
The bill still allows offenders to apply before the five years is up, but it gives the parole board the right to deny the application. It also gives victims a stronger voice and access to more information in the parole process.
Sweet is to be commended for his efforts in getting this legislation passed. We hope it brings at least some comfort to the families of those who have suffered enough.