Parents of teen girls killed by Paul Bernardo seek to obtain his file: documents

Parents of teen girls killed by Paul Bernardo seek to obtain his file: documents

The families of Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy are also requesting audio and video recordings

The parents of two teen girls who were murdered by Paul Bernardo are seeking to obtain his entire file with the parole board, arguing public interest in the case outweighs the convicted killer and serial rapist’s privacy rights.

The families of Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy are also requesting audio and video recordings, as well as any written transcripts, of Bernardo’s failed bid for parole in October 2018.

The two families filed for judicial review this month after their requests for the documents under access to information legislation were denied.

In the filings, their lawyer Tim Danson argues the decision goes against the principle of transparency and could lead to Bernardo being released without supervision.

He also argues denying the families’ requests for the documents breaches their charter right to freedom of expression because it prevents them from fully participating in the parole process and from expressing their opinions on a matter of public interest.

Given the attention paid to Bernardo’s crimes and that much of the materials sought were already in the public record, Danson argues the information cannot be withheld on privacy grounds.

The Parole Board of Canada ”ought to have found that Bernardo had surrendered his privacy rights when he chose to murder two teenage girls and raped so many others,” he wrote in the documents.

“In this balance, (the parole board) failed to find that Bernardo committed a crime against society and humanity at large that far outweighed any purported personal privacy right.”

Danson declined to comment further on the case.

Bernardo has served more than 25 years of a life sentence for the brutal kidnapping and killing of French, 15, and Mahaffy, 14.

He was rejected for day or full parole on Oct. 17, 2018, with parole board members expressing doubts that he had truly come to understand his horrific actions.

He was convicted in 1995 of first-degree murder, kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault among other offences. His crimes over several years in the late 1980s and early 1990s sparked national horror.

Bernardo and his then-wife Karla Homolka kidnapped, tortured and killed Mahaffy in June 1991 at their home in Port Dalhousie, Ont., before dismembering her body, encasing her remains in cement and dumping them in a nearby lake.

Bernardo tortured and killed French in April 1992 after keeping her captive for three days.

The girls’ families made their initial requests to the parole board and to Correctional Service Canada for his file in 2017, then updated them to include the recordings of his parole hearing, according to the court filings.

Their requests were rejected last year, prompting them to file a complaint with the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada, the documents say.

The office upheld the parole board’s decision last month but has yet to weigh in on the correctional service’s ruling, the documents say.

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo rappers Konfidential and Teus released their first joint album, <em>The Invasion</em>. (Photo courtesy Raymond Knight)
Nanaimo rappers Konfidential and Teus release first joint album

Duo plan elaborate live-streamed CD release for ‘The Invasion’

Revelstoke-based potter Kaisa Lindfors presents <em>How to Feel Full: An Exploration of Drawing and Journaling on Clay</em> at Nanaimo Ceramic Arts Studio and Gallery from Dec. 3 to 17. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Artist combines ceramics and journaling in first Nanaimo exhibition

Revelstoke’s Kaisa Lindfors presents ‘How to Feel Full’ at Nanaimo Ceramic Arts

Two drivers were taken to hospital with unknown injuries after a hatchback and a convertible collided on the old Island Highway at Oliver Road on Saturday afternoon. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Drivers taken to hospital after T-bone crash on the old Island Highway in Nanaimo

Convertible and hatchback collided at Oliver Road on Saturday afternoon, impacting traffic

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement forecasting windy weather Sunday and Monday. (News Bulletin file photo)
More windy weather on the way for Vancouver Island

Environment Canada issues special weather statement for Victoria, east coast of Island, north Island

Local poet and VIU professor Sonnet L’Abbé wrote and performed a song as part of the city’s Reimagine Nanaimo campaign. (Photo courtesy City of Nanaimo/Port Theatre)
Poet pens song as part of city’s Reimagine Nanaimo campaign

Sonnet L’Abbé encourages a friend to move to the city in ‘Nazaneen: A Song for Nanaimo’

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

A small crash in the water south of Courtenay Saturday afternoon. Two men had to be rescued, but reports indicate there were no serious injuries. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Small plane crash in Comox Valley waters Saturday afternoon

Two rescued from plane that had flipped in water; no serious injuries reported

A rendering of a restaurant building making up part of a development permit application for 113 and 161 Island Highway in Parksville. (IAG Developments image)
Development application delayed for high-profile Parksville property

Council refers restaurant/RV campground application to staff for further improvements

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ board approved a recommendation for Franklyn Street gym demolition. Pictured here, Nanaimo Fire Rescue staff on scene after a gym fire in October 2018. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school trustees decide to demolish Franklyn Street gym

SD68 board votes to demolish heritage building, damaged by fire in October 2018

Most Read