As expected, Ontario’s top court has postponed a hearing of an appeal by three members of the Shafia family of Montreal, who were convicted of murdering four other family members in a mass honour killing. The hearing, originally scheduled to be heard by the Court of Appeal for Ontario on Dec. 14, has been put off because of the surprise claim by one of the three convicted killers, Hamed Shafia (inset), who is bringing an application to admit fresh evidence.
Hamed Shafia (inset), the Montreal man convicted, along with his father and mother, of murdering four family members in what the trial judge called a “heinous” and “despicable” mass honour killing, is poised to present a new claim to Ontario’s top court in the appeal of his conviction. The youngest Shafia killer maintains that he was not 18 years old at the time of the murders on June 30, 2009, and he has documents newly obtained from Afghanistan, his birthplace, that purport to prove it, Cancrime learned.
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.
Do killers locked in Canadian prisons marry, get conjugal visits with their new wives and father children, while they remain behind bars? Yes, yes, and yes. In fact, it happens regularly. But what about a sadistic serial rapist and killer like Paul Bernardo, who has been in prison since November 1995, after he was convicted of murdering two teenage girls in Ontario, Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy? Well, maybe. The questions are relevant, given news (broken in a story by Sunmedia) that Bernardo has struck up a romantic relationship with a 30-year-old woman from London, Ontario, who wants to marry the man considered one of the most depraved serial killers caught in Canada in the last half century. I think Bernardo may be working a scheme with this relationship.
Five years ago today, around 10 a.m. on June 30, 2009, Brent White, a constable with the municipal police department in Kingston, Ontario, received a dispatch instructing him to go to Kingston Mills, a scenic and secluded spot on the northern edge of the city’s built-up area. At Kingston Mills, a series of ancient locks lifted boats from the level of Lake Ontario up to the level of the Cataraqui River. At one of the locks, a submerged car was spotted that morning by lock worker John Bruce. He had called police, beginning a chain of events that would reveal a horrifying quadruple homicide, Canada’s worst mass honour killing, orchestrated by Afghan immigrant Mohammad Shafia (inset).
Missed me on TVO’s program The Agenda with Steve Paiken on February 26? You can watch the entire program online (embedded after the jump). The segment, a panel discussion on honour killings, featured Deeyah Khan (inset), whose film about the honour killing in 2006 of Banaz Mahmod in England won the 2013 Emmy Award for best International Documentary. The panel also featured activist and educator Aruna Papp, a South Asian immigrant to Canada who wrote a book about her struggle against the oppressive honour and shame code to which her family subscribed, and Hafsa Lodi a freelance journalist based in London, England and Dubai, who is a former Ryerson University (Toronto) student who wrote a column about media coverage of honour killings in Canada, particularly the Shafia case.
I’m not surprised that Kingston criminal lawyer David Crowe (inset) has sued convicted mass honour killer Mohammad Shafia. Crowe claims in a civil lawsuit that Shafia agreed to pay the trial legal bill of his accomplice/killer/wife Tooba and has now reneged on final payment. Crowe represented Tooba during the trial. Sources tell me that Crowe has been complaining for more than a year that he was never paid in full for his work on the trial. Maclean’s reporter Michael Friscolanti has this excellent story about the legal action. I’m not surprised, given what many people told me after I began covering the case in 2009 – that Shafia was a wealthy but incredibly stingy man who worshipped money. My book on the case, Without Honour, includes revelations you won’t find elsewhere about the depths of millionaire Shafia’s tightfistedness – such as his insistence in staying in cheap hotels and eating at discount restaurants during a lengthy business trip to China. One lawyer I spoke to who had dealings with Shafia noted that: “It’s one thing to have lots of money, but parting with it is another matter.”
Sex slayer and serial rapist Paul Bernardo believes he deserves to live in the more comfortable and less restrictive confines of a medium-security prison. After 18 lonely years in the mind-numbing isolation of a super-secure segregation unit inside maximum-security Kingston Penitentiary, Bernardo has asked for a transfer to a lower-security prison, sources tell me. Soon, he will have to be moved to a new home because Kingston Pen is slated to close. Bernardo covets a spot at medium-security Bath Institution, a complex of cottage-style dormitories on a sprawling 640-acre lakefront property just west of Kingston, according to my sources. Bernardo wants to stay in Ontario to remain close to family. He does not want to be shipped to a penitentiary in another province. Bernardo has been visited in prison by his mother, according to sources.