Just before their summer break, MPs have passed a bill that would prevent schoolgirl killer, and former Kingston Prison for Women inmate, Karla Homolka from getting a pardon for her crimes.
Although there was no indication Homolka had applied for a criminal pardon, she would have been eligible for one within a few of weeks.
A lawyer representing two of the families whose daughters were killed by Homolka and her then husband Paul Bernardo, described the parliamentary deal to prevent Homolka from receiving the pardon is a commendable achievement.
However the bill must still be passed by the Senate, which is not adjourning right away.
Homolka served a 12-year sentence at P4W for her part in the murders of Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French, two Ontario teens who were abducted, sexually assaulted and killed. It also came to light during the trial that she was involved in the death of her own sister as well.
The Parliamentary deal will enact new legislation passed in the House of Commons Thursday to extend the time period that a person convicted of a serious personal injury offence — including manslaughter, violent assault and sexual assault — must wait before applying for a pardon.
Additionally, the National Parole Board will be expected to deny a pardon if it would severely damage the reputation of the justice system. That part of the legislation may effectively bar Homolka, and other notorious Canadian criminals from ever getting a pardon.
Bill C-23 was introduced in May by the Conservative government to eliminate routine pardons that have been given to any criminal who applied after their sentence was completed.
The Bill closely followed the public outrage that happened when media reports revealed that hockey coach Graham James had been granted a pardon in 2007 for his sexual assault convictions against two teens.
The timing of this legislation is particularly difficult for the Mahaffy family, whose daughter Leslie was killed 19 years ago Thursday by Bernardo and Homolka.
After serving her 12 year prison sentence, Homolka initially resided in Quebec – where she gave birth to a child – and now reportedly lives outside of Canada.
Photo: Police interview video screen capture