The parole board has recommended the laying of a criminal charge against a serial sex offender living in Vancouver because he breached conditions designed to protect the community. The board also imposed new conditions on him as it struggles to control the psychopath with a 30-year record of crimes including sexual assault and accessory to murder. Donald Gazley (inset), who is living at a halfway house in Vancouver, already is subject to an onerous 10-year supervision order, a rarely used form of close observation imposed on the most dangerous criminals. Gazley, 56, was diagnosed in prison as a “classic psychopath” and is considered a high risk to commit new sex offences. His last federal penitentiary sentence expired in December 2015 and he was released to a halfway house. His 10-year supervision period began at that time. In the roughly 13 months that he has been free from prison, Gazley has been repeatedly caught engaging in worrisome behaviour that appears designed to test the boundaries of his legal leash and put him in a position to procure new victims.
There may be 3,500 psychopaths behind bars in Canada’s prisons, roughly one quarter the male penitentiary population, according to researchers. They are conscienceless predators and manipulators driven only by a desire for self-gratification. Until recently, Don Gazley (inset) was among them. Gazley (listen to him, after the jump, in manipulation mode, in Episode 4 of the Cancrime podcast) has a two-decade history of sex crimes and involvement in a murder. He’s been diagnosed a “classic psychopath” who poses a high risk to commit new sex crimes. Yet Gazley was released in early January from a penitentiary in British Columbia, in part, because the top legal official in Ontario, where he was last sentenced, chose not to seek to keep him locked up forever through a dangerous offender designation. Gazley’s treatment by the criminal justice system isn’t unusual. A Canadian expert on psychopaths, forensic psychologist Stephen Porter, says the system must take psychopathy “much more seriously.” His research reveals that, although psychopathy is one of the most powerful predictors of criminal recidivism, psychopaths win conditional release 2.5 times more often than non psychopaths.
Dread has stalked Annette Rogers for 30 years, since her abusive former boyfriend, Jamie Giff (inset), first threatened to kill her in 1985. “I’m scared of him,” she says, her voice trembling. “I don’t care what anybody says.” Giff is a killer. He raped and stabbed to death a teenage girl in 1985. For the past three decades, Rogers fought, but ultimately failed, to keep him behind bars. She was horrified when she learned recently that Giff, free on parole, had done something that so alarmed his supervisor that he was taken into custody and his parole suspended. When he was freed a month later and his parole was reinstated, authorities cited privacy laws and refused to tell anyone, including Rogers, what happened. “So I sat here, vibrating, didn’t know what to do,” she says.
Peter Stark, a killer who disposed of the body of his teenage victim in an isolated, makeshift grave, was granted a “compassionate” pass to get out of prison to visit the grave of a dead friend. Stark, who was convicted of murdering 14-year-old Julie Stanton of Pickering, Ontario, was granted an escorted pass by the Parole Board of Canada that allowed him out of penitentiary last year, Cancrime learned. Police and prosecutors believe that Stark abducted, drugged and raped Julie, who was a friend of Stark’s teenage daughter, on April 16, 1990. Julie was last seen getting into a car with Stark on that day and it is believed he also had drugged and raped her a year earlier. Stark maintained his innocence but strong circumstantial evidence led to his conviction on December 1, 1994 for first-degree murder. He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. Julie’s remains were found 35 kilometres north of Pickering on June 27, 1996. Stark, from Stoney Creek, in the Hamilton area, was granted the escorted temporary absence, a short-term get-out-of-prison pass, after a decision in June 2012 by the Parole Board of Canada (read decision after jump), based on a recommendation from the Correctional Service of Canada.
(UPDATE: Stark died while still behind bars in August 2016.)
UPDATED JAN. 14 Kingston Police announced early this morning that Davidson-Brown had left Kingston. They didn’t say where he was headed.
The case of child sex predator Eric William Davidson-Brown (inset) drew a torrent of attention on my social media channels. Since I posted his photo and the details announced by police of his release to Kingston, Ontario, the post has been shared more than 3,000 times and, by late on January 13, had drawn nearly 200 comments. I was surprised since Davidson-Brown isn’t really an unusual case. There are hundreds similar ex-convicts living on the street in Canadian communities every day.
Rarely have I seen surprising new information in the written record of a parole hearing I have attended, but it’s there in the internal document (read it after the jump) for paroled former pro hockey player Rob Ramage (inset). The onetime captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs recently won release to a halfway house after a hearing held at the Kingston, Ontario prison where’s serving his four-year prison sentence for driving drunk and killing a friend. The four-page parole document reveals that Ramage had a driving-related brush with the law while he was free on bail.
Former NHL player Rob Ramage (inset) is likely to be paroled today, eight months after he began serving a four-year prison sentence. The one-time captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs went to prison in July last year after he lost an appeal of his conviction for driving drunk and crashing his car, killing his passenger and friend, former Chicago Blackhawks star defenceman Keith Magnuson.
The federal government wants to abolish the faint hope clause, a measure in the Criminal Code that allows imprisoned killers to ask to have their parole ineligibility reduced. The Tory government announced the get-tough measure today. It’s a fix for a perceived problem that affects a small percentage of murderers, as the government’s own graphic (above) reveals: It shows that less than two in every 10 jailed killers who is eligible to ask for an earlier parole date has had a decision rendered since the first faint hope hearing in 1987. The table above is excerpted from the Corrections and Conditional Release Statistical Overview, Annual Report 2008, published by the federal government. After the jump, a look at the important detail in the faint hope process that’s missing from many media reports.
The deadline is at hand. You have just one day to tell the National Parole Board what you think of the idea to jack up the price of pardon applications by 300%. The board says it can’t afford to keep processing applications at $50 a apiece, given projections that it will be handling 40,000 applications per year in the next few years. So the price is tripling to $150 per application. The pardon hike is part of a package of changes to federal fees, so the proposal has gone virtually unnoticed. You have until 4 p.m. tomorrow (April 20) to let the federal government know what you think of the pardon fee hike. Go here to speak up.
Rapist Rene Bourdon (inset) was considered so dangerous when he was sentenced in North Bay in 2003 for attacks on three women that a judge imposed one of the most restrictive legal leashes available to rein in a sex offender’s deviancy – short of a life sentence in prison. But as Bourdon’s case has progressed, it’s clear there’s a significant loophole in the law that he’s exploiting.