EDMONTON – Alberta justice officials say they are pressing the federal government to prevent a woman who drowned her two young sons from travelling back to her native Australia.
Allyson McConnell is scheduled for early release Thursday after serving two-thirds of a 15-month jail term for manslaughter.
The depressed and suicidal woman killed her children in the town of Millet, just south of Edmonton, in 2010. She later drove to the city, jumped off a busy overpass and was rushed to hospital.
Court heard she and her husband were in the middle of a bitter divorce and she wanted to take her children back to Australia.
Her former husband, Curtis McConnell, released a statement to Global News saying he believes his ex-wife is set to fly home to Australia later this week. He has struggled to find out more.
“I am not sure if Allyson is free once she lands in Australia,” he wrote. “Being only 34 years old, will she start a new family and have another child in her care?”
A judge ordered that McConnell was to serve her sentence at an Edmonton psychiatric hospital and it’s not known if doctors there have approved her release.
Josh Stewart, a spokesman with Alberta Justice, said he also doesn’t know if the woman is set to fly out of the country. But he says officials want to keep her here pending the outcome of an appeal by the Crown.
His office has left messages asking for help from Federal Justice Minister Vic Toews and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. It has not yet received a response.
The Crown, who originally charged the woman with second-degree murder, is appealing her manslaughter conviction and sentence, but the Court of Appeal has not set a date to hear the case.
Stewart said if McConnell goes back to Australia and the court orders a new trial or more time behind bars, there would be the hassle of a lengthy extradition process.
“It’s important to us justice is served here in Alberta,” he said.
The Immigration and Refugee Board issued a removal order against McConnell last fall after her trial, said Lisa White with the Canada Border Services Agency.
Due to privacy issues, she couldn’t provide details on whether McConnell is set to leave Canada. She said under some circumstances, such as pending criminal charges, stays can be issued.
Court appeals don’t apply, she said.
“By law, the appeal of a conviction doesn’t say a removal.”