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.
Ramage was convicted in October 2007 of impaired driving causing death and other charges in the crash that happened in December 2003 just north of Toronto, Ontario. Ramage was free on bail after the crash, awaiting the trial, and he remained free on bail after his conviction, awaiting the outcome of an appeal. He went to prison in July 2010 to begin serving his four-year sentence after he lost the appeal. The internal parole document, just released by the Parole Board of Canada, notes that:
You were on bail for approximately 6.5 years with no incidents, although you did reside with your family in the USA where driving was not prohibited to you, and you incurred a speeding ticket.
That information was not discussed during Ramage’s three-hour parole hearing that I attended at Frontenac Institution on May 5. It’s not clear if that was an oversight by the board members, who grilled Ramage about his drinking and his driving history. You would have thought that it would be germane to a discussion of the risk that Ramage poses to society to ask him about his apparent refusal to abide by driving laws while he was free from prison? You might also have expected some discussion of Ramage’s decision to continue driving in the U.S., knowing that he was banned from doing so in Canada as his case wound its way through the courts.
But those things didn’t happen. A cynic might suggest that a double standard was applied. Ramage is an articulate man who holds a privileged position in society as a once-revered pro athlete. He was reportedly a model prisoner who was respectful, remorseful and compliant. He had no criminal record and he expressed a desire to do whatever was necessary to rehabilitate himself and to convince the parole board that he posed no danger to society.
He clearly did convince them, though they never asked him why he chose to ignore the traffic laws while he was free on bail.
Here’s the parole document, the written record of the May 2011 hearing (reference to Ramage’s ticket appears on the second page):