Parole hearing pushed back again for Paul Bernardo
Joshua Freeman, CTV News Toronto
Published Wednesday, July 19, 2017 11:13PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 20, 2017 10:39AM EDT
A day parole hearing for convicted serial killer Paul Bernardo has been pushed back yet again, CTV News has learned.
Bernardo was arrested 24 years ago and was ultimately convicted in the brutal murders of Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy. He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.
Bernardo began the process to apply for day parole last year ahead of his eligibility in 2018, but has pushed back the hearing date multiple times – a move that has caused stress to his victims’ families according to their lawyer.
“While I’m convinced that the chances of Paul Bernardo ever getting paroled is somewhere between zero and nill, we will not let our guard down,” lawyer Tim Danson told CTV News Toronto.
However he said the constant delays protract an already difficult process.
“The real reality of this, the real impact of this is it is as if it happened yesterday. There’s been no passage of 25 years,” he said.
While Bernardo will soon technically be eligible for parole, legal experts say that the chances of that happening are minimal.
“He also has to deal with the fact that he has this dangerous offender stratus and designation attached to him, which would mean that theoretically even if he had a sentence of a certain number of years instead of life, he still wouldn’t get out unless he was able to overturn effectively that dangerous offender designation,” CTV Legal analyst Ed Prutschi said. “So he’s basically facing two mountains, neither of which I anticipate he’s in a great position to climb.”
A date that was previously scheduled for August has now been postponed to sometime in October, though no specific date has been set yet.
Whenever the hearing does occur, Danson said the families plan to be there to provide their victim impact statements.
“On the one hand you think ‘I just don’t want to be involved, I just don’t want to deal with this again,” Danson said. “Then on the other hand ‘I’m not just going to allow Paul Bernardo to be in a parole hearing and not hear the voices of our daughters.’”
Bernardo has been serving his sentence at Millhaven and that is where the parole hearing would eventually take place. No reason has been given as to why the hearing continues to be pushed back.
“If Paul Bernardo puts it off again, then he puts it off, but we’re going to be ready,” Danson said.
- With a report from CTV News Toronto's Natalie Johnson