A Calgary murder case has established a significant Canadian precedent. For the first time, a multiple murderer has been sentenced to 75 years in prison without parole eligibility in a case in which the bodies of the victims were not found. A judge imposed the crushing penitentiary term – three consecutive life sentences – on Douglas Garland (inset) in February 2017, after he was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of five-year-old Nathan O’Brien and his grandparents, Alvin Liknes, 66, and Kathy Liknes, 53. Only a handful of Canadian killers have been sentenced to prison terms longer than 25 years, under changes to criminal law that came into force in 2011.
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.
There is a name – Robert Baltovich – that Calgary Police homicide investigators likely are loath to consider as they hunt the bodies of three murder victims. Baltovich (inset) is a member of an exclusive club in Canadian criminal history: a man convicted of murder in the absence of the body of a victim, who was later was exonerated. Baltovich was convicted of second-degree murder in 1992, although police had not found the body of his purported victim, his girlfriend Elizabeth Bain. The 22-year-old Toronto woman disappeared in 1990. Baltovich spent eight years in prison. In 2008, he was acquitted after a second trial. Baltovich is suing, claiming malicious prosecution, in a case that soon will pass the quarter century mark and that exemplifies the difficulties of a prosecution in which authorities lack a critical piece of evidence, the body of the victim. Elizabeth Bain’s remains have never been found. In Calgary, nearly two months have elapsed since the disappearance of Alvin Liknes, 66, his wife Kathryn, 53, and their five-year-old grandson Nathan O’Brien. Police have said that their bodies have not been found. Despite this, investigators concluded that the three were murdered. Douglas Garland, a 54-year-old man with business and personal ties to the victims and a criminal record, has been charged with the murders.
Calgary realtor Tom Malin needs a good editor. Malin has one of the most talked about real estate listings in Calgary right now. He’s selling a 53-year-old two-storey (inset) on a leafy street in Brentwood, one of Cowtown’s older neighbourhoods in the northwest. The house at 11 Butler Crescent NW is listed at $489,900. The house is described, in Malin’s listing, as having “all the right bones for you and your family.” The word choice seems questionable and tasteless, given that the house was the site, 15 weeks ago, of a horrific mass murder in which five people were stabbed to death. Having ‘good bones’ is real estate marketing lingo tantamount to saying that the structure and foundation of a house is solid, but, cosmetically, it needs work. Surely Malin could have found a more creative and tasteful way to describe a property that is a lightning rod for community grief.
Triple killer Daljit Singh Dulay (inset), who murdered his sister, her husband and another man, in a bid to restore his traditional Indian family’s honour, has won the right to leave prison with no supervision. At a hearing this month, the Parole Board of Canada decided to give Dulay unescorted passes (full record of hearing after jump) that will permit him to leave prison for short periods. He will be able to visit family at their homes in the Lower Mainland in British Columbia, unless the Border Services Agency decides to deport him. He’s subject to a deportation order imposed in 1993 but authorities could choose not to act on it immediately. Dulay is incarcerated at a minimum-security prison in B.C.
Imprisoned killer Daljit Singh Dulay (inset), who gunned down his sister, her husband and another man 22 years ago in the name of family honour, is viewed as a “hero” by some members of his Sikh community, a Parole Board of Canada document reveals (read it in full after jump). Concern that family and community members still condone Dulay’s actions and strongly endorse the concept of honour killings was cited by the board in a decision last month to deny him unescorted passes or day parole, though Dulay has been out of prison previously on escorted passes.