Paul Bernardo's day parole hearing pushed to October
Published Wednesday, July 19, 2017 8:27PM EDT
A hearing to determine whether convicted killer Paul Bernardo should be granted day parole has been pushed back to this fall, CTV Toronto has learned.
Bernardo began his application for day parole last year, but he has pushed back the hearing date from August to October.
Legal experts say it’s unlikely that Bernardo, who was convicted in the deaths of 14-year-old Leslie Mahaffy and 15-year-old Kristen French more than 20 years ago, would be granted day parole.
Regardless, a lawyer representing the victims’ families says they plan to fight his application every step of the way.
“While I am convinced that the chances of Paul Bernardo ever getting parole is somewhere between zero and nil, we will not let our guard down,” lawyer Tim Danson told CTV Toronto.
Bernardo was convicted of raping and murdering the two teen girls in 1995. He was sentenced to life with no chance of parole for 25 years.
After serving 22 years behind bars, Bernardo became eligible for day parole, despite his designation as a dangerous offender.
If granted day parole, Bernardo would be allowed to leave the prison for scheduled periods of time and return in the evening.
Danson says he hasn’t been given any specific reason why Bernardo pushed back the hearing.
“If Paul Bernardo puts it off again, then he puts it off -- but we're going to be ready,” he said.
CTV legal analyst Ed Prutschi says that Bernardo faces two major challenges in his bid for day parole: his convictions, and his designation as a dangerous offender.
“So he's basically facing two mountains, neither of which I anticipate he's in a great position to climb,” Prutschi said.
Moving the hearing date has been personally difficult for the victims’ families, their lawyer says, because they’re never sure when they’ll be facing the man who killed their loved ones.
They’ve also struggled with the news that Bernardo's ex-wife, Karla Homolka, who was convicted of manslaughter, has volunteered at a school in Montreal.
“It is as if it happened yesterday -- there's been no passage of 25 years, 24 years,” Danson said.
The families plan on attending the hearing to deliver victim impact statements.
The October hearing, if it follows through as scheduled, is expected to take place at the Millhaven Institution in Bath, Ont., where Bernardo has been serving his life sentence.
Bernardo is eligible for full parole in 2018.
With files from CTV Toronto