Police Association of Ontario Says the Rights of Victims Must Come First



    TORONTO, Feb. 21 /CNW/ - The Police Association of Ontario (PAO)
representing over 31,000 front-line police personnel is outraged that the
convicted, cold-blooded killer of a police officer has successfully challenged
his incarceration location in an effort to be moved to a location closer to
his home town.
    In 1997 Allan MacDonald walked into a bar in Penetanguishene, Ontario and
shot and killed Ontario Provincial Police Constable Tom Coffin. The Officer
was murdered because he had charged MacDonald with impaired driving about a
year before.
    In January of this year the Federal Court of Canada granted a judicial
review to MacDonald and ordered that he be transferred and incarcerated closer
to home. It also ordered that he be reimbursed $4,000 for court costs. He had
initially been jailed at Fenbrook Institution in Gravenhurst until an
assessment indicated he should be housed in Joyceville Penitentiary near
Kingston. He was subsequently transferred to Joyceville. He has now been
ordered transferred back to Fenbrook as a result of the ruling.
    In granting him a transfer back to Fenbrook, the court decided to place
him closer to his family, friends and support group. His transfer also placed
him squarely back near the family of the officer he murdered. Constable Coffin
was only 32-years old when he was murdered and left behind a wife and three
children.
    Karl Walsh, President of the Ontario Provincial Police Association (OPPA)
stated that "it is time to put the rights of victims and their families before
the rights of the criminal". The OPPA have started an on-line petition on
their web site located at http://www.oppa.ca to call for legislative change to
ensure that the victim, or victims, of crime are taken into consideration when
placing an offender in a prison.
    Bob Baltin, the President of the Police Association of Ontario, stated,
"There is a real need to change the Club Fed mentality for federal prisons.
Recently the PAO commissioned a public opinion poll that showed that a
decisive 91% of those polled agree that Canadian laws should be toughened to
make persons convicted of crimes of violence and gun crimes more accountable
for their actions. Victims and their families must have a voice in the
process".





For further information:

For further information: Bruce Miller, Chief Administrative Officer,
Bus: (905) 670-9770, Cell: (416) 707-3923


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