Karla Homolka eligible for a pardon as early as July 5 - Macleans.ca

Karla Homolka eligible for a pardon as early as July 5

Schoolgirl killer will reportedly apply for pardon next month


Convicted schoolgirl killer Karla Homolka is planning to apply for a pardon and will be eligible to do so on July 5, according to a report by CTV News. Unnamed sources say Homolka could be successful unless the government passes new legislation, currently held up in the House of Commons, that would deny violent offenders the right to apply for pardons. Prime Minister Stephen Harper cited Homolka’s upcoming eligibility as a reason for the reforms. The majority of convicts who apply for a pardon are granted one, and only 800 of 40,000 pardon applications were denied last year. A pardon does not erase a person’s criminal record, but makes it easier for them to get a job and travel abroad. Homolka, who was released from prison in 2005, received a 12-year manslaughter sentence in a plea bargain deal for the rape-murders of Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French.

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Karla Homolka eligible for a pardon as early as July 5

  1. if we allow this to happen we have failed as a nation

    • You're right, but i'm afraid it will

    • Perfectly said Matt. This is 100 percent correct

  2. It should have never come to this, she should have been given life for being involved in 3 pre-meditated murders. A definite failure indeed.

    • I absolutely agree! They had no business plea bargaining like that … and then finding out the rest of the story. She ENJOYED it. You can see it in her eyes she's not right in the head. She should still be in prison not applying for a pardon. What has the country come to?

    • It was the FBI profile by John Douglas and Roy Hazelwood that labeled Holmolka a battered woman under complete control of her husband that led to the plea deal. The prosecutors didn't become aware of the full scope of her involvement until after she signed the deal and started singing. Turns out she was the aggressor in and instigator of many of the abductions.

      Interestingly, it was also John Douglas who did the profile that lead to the arrest and wrongful conviction of Guy Paul Morin for the Christine Jessop murder. After Morin was cleared by DNA testing, Douglas stated: "I would have serious doubts at this time about the infallibility of any scientific testing." In other words, he believed his behavioural profile over a DNA lab result. Not that he has a God complex or anything.

      I don't dismiss behavioural profiling as useless. It can be a useful tool in steering investigations of murders and sexual assaults in the right direction, especially if several crimes are linked (serial). And fortunately, we do our own now. We don't need to sub-contract to the FBI anymore. But a profile should rarely if ever be used as evidence in court, nor should a profile be used as the sole basis to determine whether a plea deal should be struck. Let's hope we don't see that mistake anymore.

  3. Why is it everywhere I look in the media about pardons, lately all they say is that the legislation is being 'held up'? If in fact these journalists were to do some research, they would realize that on June 14, the bill had its second reading in parliament, meaning it is that much closer to coming into force.

    That said, I do not approve of the way the Conservatives are trying to push this legislation through, just to prevent Karla from getting her pardon. What happened to debate, discussion and democracy? I agree, Karla did some truly horrible things, but that does not justify pushing this bill through with such speed. The effects of this bill need to be properly researched, as it will have a HUGE impact on anyone with a criminal record. For more info on the new record suspension legislation and what it will REALLY mean to Canadians, visit my blog at http://www.recordsuspensions.org.

    • So Ryan, do you think the victims of the crimes perpetrated are concerned that the criminals might have a hard time taking a vacation in Europe or getting a great job? What is the impact on the them?

      • I'm not saying that pardon legislation doesn't need to be revamped, I AM saying that its ridiculous to try to force through a bill just because we 'have to stop one person from getting a pardon'. What about the millions of other Canadians with a criminal record, say, for example, marijuana possession at the age of 18? Is it fair for that individual to have to wait at least 5 years before they can apply for a pardon? The late teens and early 20's is when people are trying to build up careers and education, but a criminal record makes it that much harder, which creates a slippery slope for those trying to rehabilitate.

        • I'm sure theres lots of people who just want to 'make criminals suffer as long and hard as possible', but from a purely logical perspective, is this really beneficial to Canadians? I understand its only right to want to punish those who have hurt others, but at some point we have to realize that one of the best ways we can stop a convicted individual from committing MORE crimes is to give them a chance to better themselves, and move past their criminal record. 96% of all pardons ever granted are still in effect, showing that the vast majority of people who get them truly do want to live their life as a law abiding citizen. Why make it even harder for them, and on us in the long run?

          • Don't waste your breath, you're making way too much sense for the "foamers" to understand what you're saying.

          • Well Oliver, seems like the ''foamers '' are leading in the ratings, and the Sex Offender and criminal sympathizers are well behind in the ratings, so we must be on the right track huh??

          • Oliver only shows up to defend terrorists, pedophiles, and hardened criminals, so I wouldn't take him seriously. Oh yes, he also likes to troll Steyn columns in all caps. He's very knowledgable, mature, and respected around these parts.

          • Viva_Vivian..Your way with words never ceases to amaze me…. Bravo.. ( sound of hands clapping ) Bravo…..

          • Speaking of foamers, have you made any contribution to this discussion other than insult people? You're such a sad little man.

          • Raging_Ranter, yes I have contributed to this disscussion, three times actually and all were in response to Oliver and have gotten thumbs up on all three,(four on one comment) as far as insulting people that was not my intent, but i have debated with Oliver in the past and he will defend sex offenders until the end, that is why I called him a ''Sympathizer''. Not to insult him, just telling the truth.! I hope this clears up any confusion on my intentions !

          • True North, I was replying to Oliver, not you. Admittedly, with these multiple threads-within-threads, it's hard to tell who's replying to who sometimes. Oliver has been quick to insult anyone who would question Holmolka's right to be pardoned. One wonders what stake he might have in this legislation.

          • "One wonders what stake he might have in this legislation."


          • Viva_Vivian …100 % Agree.

          • RagingRanter,my apologies for jumping the gun rather quickly, I do not usually do that sort of thing, but having commented on Oliver's verbal drivel three times in a row…well I think you get my drift.,And yes very much agree on how defensive Oliver is when anyone Question's the rights of a Sex offender being pardoned..(see various previous posts in Macleans ) Yes sir, It does make one wonder !!

          • The government is in a rush because they don't want to be embarrassed again like they were over the Graham James pardon. I agree these things need to be thought through. But Holmolka is one of the most notorious criminals in Canadian history. That she might soon be pardoned is a screaming alarm that something needs to be done. And it's important to get it done before yet another glaring injustice can be visited upon the families of her victims.

        • Do you know anything about the law? Eighteen year-olds, and in fact adults and youths of all stripes, who are caught in possession of marijuana are routinely offered diversion, or direct accountability. That means they do a couple hours of community service, write a letter of apology, or contribute to a charity and the charge is withdrawn. The Crown Attorneys of this country do not trouble themselves prosecuting piddly little charges like possession, especially when it's first -timers. Dealers are another story and even so, they are not exempt from pardons. The point of this legislation is that coldblooded killers — or what you call "some horrible things" — should not have access to pardons.

          • What I'm trying to say is that the conservatives bill would try to paint those who committed less serious (but yes, still indictable) offences with the same brush as those convicted of murder, sexual assualt, and terrorism (I just used the 18 year old as an example). That means that even if they don't get the same prison sentence, they will still be forced to live with a criminal record for the same amount of time as those convicted of the more serious crimes. Now is that really fair? I'm never a fan of such good/bad distinctions as the conservatives love to make.

          • You're right and Canadian law is how you say it is. In fact, if you're an accused it's even better. Canada has one of the most lax legal systems in the world. I think Canadians watch a lot of American TV and conflate what they see there — life sentences for drug possession, 350 years for tax evasion, etc. — as the same situation here. It's not at all. I personally have never seen a life sentence handed down for anything in my life at my job and only the ones that garner a lot of press do. Think about the Toronto 18 terrorist who walked out of jail the day he pled. Three years for plotting, training, and amassing finances to take out the biggest city in Canada? And that's all she wrote!

      • The government is tasked with making laws that benefit society as a whole. Not ones solely for the benefit of the victims. Their well-being must be taken into consideration, as should the well-being of the people with criminal records, and the safety of, and cost to, the general public.

        • Very true. The law must take into account the well-being of all of us. And we'll all be much better off when Holmolka, Graham James and assorted other perverts are no longer able to get pardons.

        • Amen! Another voice of reason!

    • Read some of your blog ….great read and so true……Harper and his phony gang of right wing evangelical Christians seem to like to push every hot button issue that comes a long………from sentence reform….mandatory minims….to denying pensions to prisoners many of which paid into the cpp for years and some are former veterans…….anybody that works in the prison ministry will tell you pardons are a good thing and help with rehabilitation……they could just make an exception for karla……..basically the system works very well…..i plan to post your blog on Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament on facebook….thanks Ryan for the common sense.

      • Thanks! Just trying to keep democracy alive! From what news I've gleamed, it looks like Vic Toews is trying to force through this bill TODAY with Senate voting on it tomorrow, in the hopes that the bill will come into effect before Karla can apply for her pardon. Although unlikely to happen, its scary that Toews actually thinks his actions are reasonable!

  4. I may be missing something here, but is there any reason why the powers that be can't just simply deny Karla her pardon?

    800 pardon applications were denied last year, so precedent exists.

    • The reason is democracy. Is it right to just push ANY bill people feel strongly about through as fast as possible, without giving both sides at least a fair chance to look at the pros and cons of making the decision?

      • I think you misunderstood my question: I was wondering whether, under existing rules, the Parole Board could simply refuse to give Karla a pardon. New legislation, whether hastily pushed through Parliament or not, would not be required.

        • Under existing rules, the National Parole Board is not allowed to look at the conviction, there is basically a check list they have to go through:
          1) have they completed all the terms of their sentence (incarceration, parole, full payment of fines)
          2) have they completed the required conviction free period (currently 3 years for summary, 5 for indictable-although it sounds like that will change today to 10 years)
          3) Is the pardon application completed correctly (all the 'i's dotted and 't's crossed

          and thats about it. as long as all those boxes are checked off, the NPB has no choice but to grant a pardon no matter what the crime.

    • Graham James' received a pardon about five years ago. You want to take a chance with Holmolka? It'll be a lot easier to deny her a pardon now than to reverse one after it's been given to her.

  5. It's a shame they found the evidence of her involvement in those rape/murders AFTER she had already made a deal with the police.

    Personally… I don't think she'll get the pardon, nor does she deserve it. Would be very immoral for them to give her one.

    • Immorality has never stopped anyone before. Apparently from what I'm hearing she has better than a 50/50 chance.. which is better odds than i personally think she deserves. I don't necessarily agree that the bill should be shoved through just to stop her from getting a pardon… but I do think they should DENY it… they have that ability and right to do so.

    • Actually, the truth is so much grimmer than that. In order to make a plea she had to admit to everything she did. The discovery of those tapes PROVED that she withheld the truth on some points, and blatently lied in others. Those tapes provided evidence that could, and SHOULD, have been used to revoke the plea agreement. But Marion Boyd was so ideologically fixated on and in support of Karla's "battered spouse" defence, that she refused to see the evidence in front of her.

      For the record, I don't believe anyone has ever been tried for Tammi's death, which as far as I know WASN'T in the plea agreement. Perhaps someone out there might consider starting a petition…

  6. This will be a HUGE impacts to all of the criminals who should be punished for their actions…..not forgiven!! Maybe if we had more strict laws in Canada it would actually be a deterent to commit a crime! Let's use Karla for an example……be invovled in a sexual murder of three people….go to jail for 12 years???? 15 years later…….Oh that was alrigth what you did…….we pardon you……you are now excused……we forgive you!!! Yeah…..talk to the families who's lives are ruined forever because of her…… Any crime is the same! ENOUGH CATERING TO CRIMINALS!!

    • Maybe you should try and understand things rather than simply chowing down without thinking about what you're eating.
      A pardon isn't a "get out of jail free card" and she got a plea bargain.
      So before complaining about things you don't understand maybe you should try develop the capacity for critical thought.

      • What more is there to understand? Carla Homolka is a skinner, a sexual predetor, considering she was convicted for her involvment in the sex slayings of young girls and only got 12 years, I would consider that like a get out of jail free card.

      • Oliver, you aren't clever enough to be telling off other people the way you are. Telling someone they need to exercise critical thought while completely failing to do so yourself makes you look rather simple.

  7. Hopefully she will not receive a pardon, hopefully she will NEVER be pardoned. The government is showing sickness too, for daring to use the horror of Karla H. as a political weapon to obtain a majority government.

    • I don't recall them campaigning on the "Get Karla" ticket. Perhaps some people are just legitimately concerned about this pardon business, given Karla's notoriety, and don't want a repeat of the Graham James scenario (he was pardoned five years ago).

  8. If the Conservatives were truly committed to law and order as they say they are, they never would have prorogued Parliament so as to party at the Olympics.

    These and other bills Harper promised supporters died on the order paper when Harper up and pulled stakes to "recalibrate" Now they want to ram legislation through.

    Harper failed Canadians in order to hang around the Olympics. He also failed Canadians to the tune of around a billion for a three day summit. More photo ops with the international set. The guy is more interested in power mongering than he is in running our country well. He'll throw anything by the wayside for political expediency. I think Harper is as phony as his lake.

    • That's nonsense, nobody said the Conservatives were using it to obtain majority. Sounds like Liberal attack retoric to me. Stick to the subject.

    • There was no bill on pardons on the table before the prorogue. The pardon thing never became an issue until it was revealed that Graham James had received a pardon five years ago. And that news only broke two months ago. Suddenly, everyone was worried about who would be pardoned next, and it came to light that Karla Holmolka might be.

  9. This definitely needs to change. Nobody who has been proven guilty of a violent crime, as Karla Homolka has been, should be able to apply for a pardon. No time is long enough to pay for their violent crimes. Just think of the families of all the victims for once!

    • She got a plea bargain.
      Look it up.

      • So she should get a pardon because she got a plea bargain?

  10. She'll never get a pardon. So it's not even an issue.
    But instead of getting rid of the pardon option, why not just make it non-eligible for those convicted of certain crimes? Rape, child molestation, spousal assault and murder are a few that come to mind….
    There are some people out there who do deserve a pardon. Some kid who got caught with a joint shouldn't be lumped in with people like Holmoka.

    • It says in the article: she got a plea bargain.
      It was only after the deal was made that it became apparent that she wasn't as innocent as she claimed.

      • If that was indeed the case ,then that should have been a deal breaker, then they could have hit her with say…Life and no parole for 25 years….might as well toss in a D.S.O (dangerous sex offender) designation too. Pardon or not, she is walking the streets now…It is just not right !!!

    • Actually, that basically what the legislation is trying to do, remove pardons for certain people convicted of the type of crime that should never be pardoned.

    • Nobody thought Graham James would get a pardon either. Until he got one. They are not getting rid of pardons, they are doing exactly what you say they should do; making it impossible for certain violent criminals to get pardoned.

  11. The reason why Canada is so Screwed up as a nation is evident in the comments by several people here. Perhaps people's memories are quite short when it comes to Karla Homolka and what she did. Or perhaps most bleeding heart join whatever cause idiots mistaken for people just don't give a damn. Therein lies the reason why this country is messed up. Karla has gotten off so easy for what she did that it is utterly sickening,. Throw in a pardon for her. It will just confirm what I already see around me as a declining society as a whole.

    • Or maybe the reason Canada is so "screwed" up is because people like you talk about things you have no grasp of.
      How about you look into the court case before throwing around words that have no meaning since you don't understand anything about the law.

      • Or maybe you should just keep repeating that she got a plea bargain, as though that somehow has any bearing on the current discussion. I can only conclude that you are an idiot.

  12. The neo-liberal tendency to place the perpetrators rights above and beyond that of the victim never ceases to amaze me. This lady could actually geta friggin pardon too – almost like an automatic thing nowadays as she served her sentence in full so we don't have that method of stopping this insanity. I hope Harper gives this one the full court press as when he does he gets the job done – if you are a left wing nut on this file don't respond to my post as I will only nuke your message faster than Iran is building more reactors.

    • As I asked earlier in this thread: couldn't the Parole Board just refuse to give Karla Homolka a pardon? Without new legislation being required?

      What I object to about this legislation is not that it is "too tough on perpetrators" but that it is being crafted solely for political tactical benefits. I would be in favour of tougher crime legislation if it actually made Canada safer; evidence so far suggests that increasing prison sentences does not increase public safety.

      (Feel free to nuke this message, if you like.)

      • No, they can't. That is the purpose of this legislation. As Ryan pointed out, there are three criteria needed when issuing pardons and that is done without any knowledge whatsoever of the crime they have been imprisoned for. It's bureaucratic nonesense and it has to stop.

    • You used the term "neo-liberal" wrong. Neo-liberals are generally considered to be economic right wingers. A better word would have been "progressive", as that's what the bleeding hearts prefer to call themselves nowadays.

  13. Nancy ,your horrible english destroys whatever point you're trying to make.

    • Azzimovia, you're horrible use of spaces before your commas and your failure to capitalize the word 'English' destroys whatever point you're trying to make. Normally I wouldn't care. But if you're going to point out the literary and grammatical flaws of others, you might want to read your own posts carefuly before clicking 'Submit'.

      • Azzimovia got OWNED!

  14. If she had been given the death penalty (which she and her hubby both deserve) we would not be having this discussion.

    • Really?! Are you a Canadian?! We don't have the death penalty in Canada – that is one of the things that makes Canada a great country. Move to Texas! BTW – I do think that Karla should have rotted in jail for the rest of her life – but I am proud to live in a country that doesn't have the death penalty.

      • I agree with Rick – and I am a proud Canadian. I realize we don't have the death penalty, but I also believe that in certain cases we should. Bernardo and Homolka is one such case – you agree that they should rot in jail for the rest of their lives (or should have in her case), which means you don't mind supporting them for the rest of their lives through the taxes you pay. For people like Bernardo and Homolka life in prison is too good.

        • As proven by his crimes, Paul has a control issue to the point of it being diagnosable by the DSM. Him being in jail where he has NO control over his life is a hell that most people wouldn't understand. Killing him would literally be the easy way out – no more suffering for him.

  15. Very sad if she does in fact get the pardon. She never should have been given the Plea option. She should have been charged fully, just like Paul Bernardo. The law needs to change to protect the victims, their families and the public from these criminals.
    As they say "you do the crime, you do the time"… and they should add to that "no exceptions" – and that should include allowing evidence found later to be admissible.

  16. …To me, this is at the equivalence of not only subjecting the Canadian society to harm..but also those abroad. I know forgiveness is important, okay, fine..but once a killer, always a killer. Do we really want these type of people in the work force?…interacting with our children, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters or whoever it is in your life that is important to you…
    In so many ways, Canada is a wonderful country, but in others, we have much to learn…there's a time for peace, but a time for respective protest and if the government doesn't get this bill passed..well, be expecting much public uproar. As a country with the freedom of speech, it's essentially inevitable…so let's hope Harper and crew can get things sorted out.

  17. If this happens people should be fired!! Starting with the P.M

  18. Does anyone know how we can lobby to prevent this atrocious pardon being permitted?

  19. This is just so stupid. Could we be any more lenient with violent criminals here? A pardon! Really? Come on.

  20. This is another piece of legislation the NDP are trying to hold up.Whosoever fault it is parliament is still sitting this bill has been reviewed.I can"t understand the NDP they are only interested in causing problems since their socialist ideas were rejected by the Liberals in coalition talks.They are trying their best to hold up this bill because they failed on their stupid stand about the detainees.They are like spoiled brats if they cannot make propaganda that they are really making the country work,then they pull these capers that they are working for the people

    • While we're at it, could someone start a petition to have her tried for the murder of her sister?

  21. Forget about Karla for a moment, if the punishment fits the crime, and convicted felons serve their full sentence, people should get a second chance in life, no? Plea bargains don't count for full sentence, so this pardon business need not apply.
    Since Stephen Harper is trying to push this through and this is a democracy, not a dictatorship, he should be seen as a man on our side with this issue. Fire the P.M.? I don't understand. No matter what party color we see flying at the time, you have to look at the idiots stiring before them that vote for some willy nilly ideas! HST, blah!!

    • John, they're not removing pardons for all convicted felons, just the violent ones.

  22. And those that will be wrongfully convicted will even have less of a chance at life thereafter.

    The mob mentality of the public is disgusting.

    Prison is meant as rehabilitation not as some collective punishment to make us feel good.

    • If you're wrongfully convicted, a pardon is the least of your worries. If evidence comes to light that you were wrongfully convicted, your conviction can be thrown out. You don't apply for a pardon if you're wrongfully convicted, you file an appeal. Some criminals can be rehabbed. Those who murder their own sister for sexual pleasure cannot be.

    • No, prison is for punishment and to keep the offender away from the public.; it is this "Hug a thug " mentality that is washing us all down the drain.

  23. If Homolka gets a pardon due to the NDPand their love for loosers and murders then we will probably have seen the last of the NDP because that will be their next election DOWNFALLand afther that only a FOOL would vote ndp

    • Graham James got a pardon after Stockwell Day looked at the system 4 years ago and didn't change anything. Does that make anyone who votes Conservative a fool?

  24. Homolka's plan is to become a Liberal member of parliament in the next general election so she needs a pardon, without one she may have to settle for becoming an NDP'er.

    • I hear Libby Davies seat might be available.

      • Ha, what about Guergis, is she out yet or what? I just looked her up on the parliamentary website, and shes still listed as the MP for her area.

  25. Well we know now she will not get a pardon, but apparently she resides in another country now so could probably care less. How can you leave the country if you have a Criminal Record? Am I missing something here? What country (Besides Canada) would allow a known murderer in as a Citizen?

    • good question!

  26. I would also like to know how a person with a criminal record can leave the Country and live in another?? and also people that have had a DUI say in their late teens and even 20 to 30 years later can't even get a passport to travel for a vacation? How does that work? do you need a pardon for that crime in order to get a passport?

  27. Well to hell with justice being the same for all of us. This country gives soft sentences and makes deals with nurders and rapists then tries to back out of the deals with measures like this one. If she and others are so much of a threat make tougher laws and stop making these types of deals. That Karla can't go on vacation does not make me feel safer. What is the price tag to tax payers for the Homolka bill, besides the obvous loss of democratic process once again. Keeping the senate running and extra couple of months for this. Wow!

  28. I have three questions perhaps someone here can help me with.

    1) If I understand this correctly, in order to make a plea deal the criminal has to allocute completely and accurately to the crimes in question. Not doing so is grounds to revoke the plea. And based on that Homolka's deal could have been revoked (and in my opinion SHOULD have been revoked). I remember strong discussion at the time to that effect. Does anyone know if this is indeed the case?

    2) I l also remember discussion at the time that Karla's plea did not cover crimes against Tammi, and that in fact no-one has ever been charged or convicted for Tammi's rape and murder, nor for the sexual assaults of Jane Doe. If that is the case, theorectically it should be possible to charge her now for those crimes. Can anyone elaborate on whether or not the above is a) accurate and b) possible?

    • 3) Zachary's Law was recently passed in Parliament in respect to considering vulnerable minors in relation to granting bail for serious crimes. It concerns and alarms me that no-one is discussing the fact that Karla was allowed to have – and more importantly keep – a child. While we're talking about restricting pardons here for serious crimes, can we at least talk about (as distatesful and emotionally loaded as it may be) automatic removal of children from certain types of criminals? Honestly, how much chance does her son have of coming out of his childhood a normal happy productive human being?

  29. Just for us justice in Canada? Let us make up the rules as we go along depending on how we feel on any given day . Remember you who would deny others their rights under the law, Do not slip or let your children slip, because they and you could be the next people looking for a fresh start or a pardon. I wonder how you would be chirping then.This debate should not be about an individual it should be about why it is about an individual. This is about deeper things than making pardons harder to get. This is about what should be at the heart of Canadian justice, a little thing called due process of law or does that mean nothing in Canada any more?

  30. What is this scoring thing that you do here? Who are the peers doing the judging on comments? Who thinks themselves worthy to judge the opinions of others? Maybe that is what is wrong a few elite at the top judging instead of listening and respecting.

  31. They also failed to meantion that she too was involved with the killing of her younger sister, so that makes 3…………….are they kidding…………..pardon her……….why……………..