Police demand victims' rights be placed above those of killers



    OTTAWA, Feb. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - In a joint news release issued today, the
presidents of the Canadian Police Association (CPA), the Police Association of
Ontario (PAO), and the Ontario Provincial Police Association (OPPA), call upon
Canadians to take a stand and sign an online petition calling for victims'
rights to be considered above those of murderers. The petition can be found at
www.oppa.ca.
    The call is in reaction to a recent decision by the Federal Court of
Canada to move Allan MacDonald, the convicted killer of Ontario Provincial
Police Constable Tom Coffin, to a medium security facility closer to his
family and support group despite objections by the officer's widow living in
the area.
    "Police personnel from coast to coast, supported by their families and
many other Canadians, have lost confidence in a system that places the rights
of killers above those of the victims of their crimes," said Canadian Police
Association President Tony Cannavino. "Although the Government has signaled
its intentions to address the deficiencies with Corrections Canada, we join
with the OPPA and PAO, to call on Parliament to amend the Corrections and
Conditional Release Act so that when deciding on the place of an inmate's
incarceration, the victim, or victims, of that crime are taken into
consideration. In addition, we call on the Federal Government to implement the
report of the Blue Ribbon Panel's Review of Corrections Canada," he added.
    Allan MacDonald walked into a bar in the town of Penetanguishene, Ontario
in May 1997, came up behind OPP Constable Coffin and shot him in the head.
Constable Coffin died at the scene. MacDonald killed Constable Coffin as a
result of having been previously charged by the officer for Impaired Driving.
    "Police officers in Ontario are outraged of the Federal Court decision
and are frustrated with a system that continues to fail in protecting victims
and their families," said Police Association of Ontario President Bob Baltin.
"I sincerely hope that people across Ontario and across Canada band together
in support of this petition that will send a clear message to decision makers
that victims' rights are above those of murderers," he added.
    The federal Corrections and Conditional Release Act is the legislation
used to determine what penitentiary an inmate is placed in.
    "The current legislation has no provision for factoring in the effect the
criminal and the crime have on any victim's family," said Ontario Provincial
Police Association President Karl Walsh. "In this instance, it never
considered the effect such a move would have on Prov. Const. Coffin's widow,
his children, his parents and siblings who still live in the area, not to
mention the community he served and the policing community to which he
belonged. We are putting out a call for assistance, to all law abiding
Canadians, to put victim's rights ahead of killers."

    Those wishing to sign the petition can do so on line at the Ontario
Provincial Police Association website at www.oppa.ca.




For further information:

For further information: Tony Cannavino, President, Canadian Police
Association, c/o Pierre Collin, Communications Officer, (613) 231-4168, Cell:
(613) 299-6516, pcollin@cpa-acp.ca; Bob Baltin, President, Police Association
of Ontario, (905) 670-9770; Karl Walsh, President, Ontario Provincial Police
Association, (705) 728-6161


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