There is a kind of poetic brilliance in the sterile simplicity of written decisions of the Parole Board of Canada. The federal agency has the unenviable task of cataloguing horrors inflicted on society by figures who are both tragic and frightening. Derek Anthony Wood (inset) is one of these – a teenage mastermind of multiple murder. Wood was just 18 years old on May 7, 1992 when he and two accomplices set out to rob the McDonald’s Restaurant where he worked in tiny Sydney River, Nova Scotia. Wood believed, wrongly, that the safe held hundreds of thousands of dollars. The trio slaughtered three restaurant workers –shooting, stabbing and bludgeoning them – and left a fourth permanently disabled. They fled with roughly $2,000 but were soon caught and convicted. Wood, who was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder, appears to have “some psychopathic traits,” according to the written record of his parole hearing (read document after the jump) convened earlier this year. He was denied any form of release.
The federal agency entrusted to keep 15,000 criminals safely locked behind bars in more than 50 penitentiaries across Canada apparently can’t safeguard one of its key administrative buildings from simple burglars. The facility in Kingston, Ontario – a site that, according to my sources, houses dozens of high-powered weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition – was burgled recently by a thief who made off with keys to a prison service vehicle. The bandit got away largely because, remarkably, the Correctional Service of Canada regional staff college does not have a security officer on duty at the site overnight because of cost cutting.
Just weeks before he’ll be freed from prison, a prolific sex predator boldly told authorities that he didn’t know his actions were wrong when he preyed on hundreds of young girls over the Internet to feed his deviant sexual desires. Mark Bedford, 29, (inset) made the startling admission at a parole hearing 20 days ago, a document obtained by Cancrime shows (read it after the jump). Bedford will be released from a penitentiary in Ontario late in August after serving his second federal prison sentence.
They come with more caveats than an over-the-counter libido booster, but Canada’s national crime statistics will be delivered Wednesday, July 22. The Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, a branch of Statistics Canada, will reveal its yearly compilation of data, part of the Juristat, from which much will be inferred that should not or can not. Much will be written that misleads, misinterprets and miscalculates what the numbers tell us. There’s much more that these frail figures do not tell us than what they reveal.
Child molester Gary Walker (inset) has languished behind bars for nearly one third his 71 years, tormented by his desire for sex with young boys. The septuagenarian has never had a sexual relationship with an adult. He has confounded keepers. Despite undergoing a battery of treatment programs to root out his sexual deviance, experts say he grapples still with “intrusive sexual thoughts” and remains a “significant risk” to molest more young boys if he is released.
An unrepentant sex offender labelled by police one of the most prolific online sex predators caught in Canada was too dangerous for early release from prison when he last appeared before the parole board, but he’ll soon be free. Mark Bedford (inset), a 29-year-old Ontario man, was ordered detained behind bars until he serves every day of his latest sentence, a 26-month term imposed in 2013. Corrections Canada will have to release him when his sentence expires August 22, 2015 and that should alarm anyone in his path.
Terror took root in central Saskatchewan on this day 40 years ago. On June 15, 1975, two children, 12-year-old Dahrlyne Cranfield and Robert Grubesic (inset), 9, disappeared while riding their bicycles along the South Saskatchewan River in Saskatoon. Roughly a month later, Samantha Turner, 8, and Cathy Scott, 7, disappeared. Parents kept their children home behind locked doors. Finally, a tip led police to David Threinen, a truck driver with a history of sex attacks against children. He confessed and led officers to the bodies of his victims. He had strangled them and dumped them in two remote locations outside Saskatoon. A psychiatric report revealed in parole records (read document after the jump) would later describe Threinen as “a cold, amoral individual who felt compelled to offend sexually against children and who experienced no remorse for his victims even when he killed them.”
The rate at which Canadians are being murdered dropped in 2013 to its lowest level in 47 years, according to Statistics Canada. Nationally, there were 1.44 victims per 100,000 people in 2013, down eight per cent from 1.56 in 2012 and the lowest rate recorded since 1966. In 2013, 505 people were killed (includes murder, manslaughter, infanticide) in Canada, meaning that a nation of 35 million people had fewer killings than Los Angeles County (population 10 million), which recorded 595 homicides in 2013. The murder rate in the U.S. has generally been about three times higher than the rate in Canada for some time. Canada’s highest murder rate recorded since 1963 was in 1977, when it hit 3.0, according to StatsCan.
It’s the silly season, with respect to policing, in Calgary and across Canada, as local governments finalize budgets for the coming year (years in some case) and politicians and policing leaders trot out familiar, hollow arguments to justify increases. In Calgary, the police budget now comprises roughly 10% of annual civic spending* ($354** million in 2015) yet officials warn that they may have to spend much more on policing in coming years in response to the city’s ballooning population. They make this argument in the absence of any science that establishes a link between police strength and crime rates and community safety.
After more than two decades behind bars, serial rapist Selva Subbiah (inset), a predator who assaulted hundreds of women, still blames his victims for his predicament. The “disturbing” revelation appears in the latest decision on his case by the Parole Board of Canada. The board ruled, in a decision in July this year, that Subbiah is too dangerous to be released from prison before he completes every day of his 24-year prison sentence. The board ordered Subbiah detained in prison until his sentence expires in January 2017, when he’ll immediately be deported to his home country of Malaysia. This marks the sixth consecutive year that the board has taken the unusual step of keeping him locked up, rather than granting conditional release, a form of early freedom that is given to most imprisoned criminals. [Read more…]