Restorative Justice week runs from November 16-23, 2014 with a national conference being held in Banff, Alberta. At the CRCVC, we support victims who may choose to engage in restorative justice practices. Our Board member, Carolyn Solomon, was just interviewed as part of a panel on restorative justice by Alberta Primetime about her face-to-face encounter with her son’s killer in 2013. She believes it was a positive experience and would recommend it to other victims in order to have their questions answered and express the personal harm they have suffered. For Carolyn, meeting the offender in her case was never about forgiveness, a common misconception about restorative justice. Since her son was taken from her, Carolyn has wanted to meet the perpetrator and hold him directly accountable for his actions. Watch the video here.
Justin Bourque has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for 75 years for killing three RCMP officers and wounding two others, a New Brunswick judge has ruled. Bourque, 24, plead guilty to three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder of RCMP officers.
Court of Queen’s Bench Chief Justice David Smith handed down Bourque’s sentence in what he called a “difficult case.” He said it was, “One of the most horrific crimes in the history of Canada.”
When Smith delivered his sentence, Bourque stood to listen and didn’t react when the decision was handed down. Smith said no sentence could fix the despair that Bourque caused by his shooting spree. The judge said the five life sentences are mandatory, and the only question was the length of the sentence before he is eligible for parole.
This sentence means that Bourque will not be eligible for parole until he is 99 years old. Smith said Bourque’s decision to plead guilty is to his credit, but given the evidence was so overwhelming in the case, it doesn’t count for a lot.
The judge said Bourque showed little remorse for the crimes until the end of the sentencing hearing when he addressed the families. Smith spent the first part of his decision going over Bourque’s past. He described Bourque as being obsessed with guns, video games, heavy metal music and dependent on marijuana. He said Bourque felt oppressed by the police even though he had no criminal record.
Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc was present for the sentencing. Outside the Moncton courtroom, Roger Brown, the RCMP’s commanding officer in New Brunswick, said he was relieved with the sentence. “Am I happy with the verdict? I am,” Brown told reporters.
He said he was also happy with the quick manner of the sentencing process. Brown said it has been a difficult time for the families of the slain and wounded officers, the RCMP and people in Moncton. “The healing must now start,” Brown said.
The CRCVC offers our deepest condolences to the families of Doug, Fabrice and Dave. Six young children lost their fathers in a horrific act of violence and the road ahead will not be easy for them. We hope that the families will find some comfort in knowing that the sentence sets a precedent in Canada and that the public will be protected from the shooter.