Canadian True Crime - Major Case Updates & Feedback 2023—Part 2

Episode Date: November 21, 2023

[Part 2 of 2] Continuing our look back at cases we've covered that have had major updates or have attracted notable feedback.Approximate timestamps:1:20 - Jacob Hoggard Trial10:30 - The Brentwood Five... (Matthew de Grood)20:15 - Dellen Millard, Mark Smich and other criminals serving consecutive life sentences29:00 - The Giant Mine Murders - 30th Anniversary32:30 - The Renfrew County Massacre - Inquiry update35:30 - The Survival of Zach Miller38:20 - Feedback around using AI Voices in episodes41:10 - Albert Johnson Walker (the murder of Ronald Platt)45:00 - Paul Bernardo’s recent parole controversy and the aftermathMore info:GIVEAWAY: Lay Them To Rest by Laurah Norton - it's easy to enter for the chance to win one of five hardcover copies. Deadline November 30. See link above for T&Cs.PODCAST RECOMMENDATION: Giant - Murder Underground, a seven-part series looking back on the Giant Mine Murders.Listen ad-free and early:CTC premium feeds are available on Amazon Music (included with Prime), Apple Podcasts, Patreon and Supercast, giving you access 24 hours early without the ads. Please note: case-based episodes will always be available to all, we will never put them exclusively behind a paywall.Full list of resources, information sources, credits and music credits:See the page for this episode at Hosted on Acast. See for more information.

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Starting point is 00:02:04 It's not for everyone. Please take care when listening. This is part two of the major case updates and feedback episodes of 2023. To see the list of all the cases we're discussing and the approximate timestamps, give or take a few minutes, see the show notes, and as always there'll be a quick summary of each case to get you up to speed. As a quick reminder, there is still time to enter the giveaway to win one of five hard cover copies of Lay Them To Rest by Laura Norton, a new true crime book about forensic science told in a way lay people can understand that is just made
Starting point is 00:02:46 Oprah's true crime book list. To learn more about the book or enter the draw, see the show notes or visit We called this series the rise and fall of headlies Jacob Hogard, but what it ended up turning into was an analysis of sexual assault trials in the context of rape myths and stereotypes. We explored the twin myths of sexual assault, which is the falsely held belief that evidence that a victim complainant has had prior sexual activity somehow makes them less credible and more likely to have consented to the sexual activity in question. We also talked about the fallacy of the perfect victim who does everything right, doesn't go out
Starting point is 00:03:39 late at night, doesn't wear revealing clothes, doesn't do drugs or alcohol and she certainly does not sleep around. She's a good girl, and the story usually goes that she is randomly kidnapped and assaulted by a total stranger, and she reports it to the police right away without delay. The problem is that stereotype is not at all based on reality, because studies consistently show that eight out of 10 sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim. So for most sexual assault survivors, the chances of meeting the criteria to be deemed a true or perfect victim are slim to none.
Starting point is 00:04:20 It's easy to see why so many decide not to report their complaints to police. We ended the series by saying that unless the rules of enthusiastic consent are better understood and practiced and ruthless criminal defense lawyers stop using aggressive and harmful tactics, the dire situation that is every sexual assault trial won't be changing anytime soon. The response to this series was overwhelming. We heard from many sexual assault survivors who said they felt seen and validated. We also heard from many others who told similar stories of manipulation, gaslighting, and coercive control.
Starting point is 00:05:02 And thanks to everything they learned from the series, they were now thinking back on their own life experiences through a different lens. These are the kinds of messages that keep me going, knowing that a new generation are reconsidering their experiences and will be educating their children about enthusiastic consent. So thank you to everyone who took the time to send in these messages. It really meant a lot. You'll remember that we finished up after Jacob Hogard's first trial, which was about sexual assault charges involving two victim complainants who had their identities under publication ban. We called one of them Emma from Ottawa. She was 24 when she met Hogard on Tinder when she was volunteering at We Day. Hogard was found guilty of sexual assault causing bodily harm. The second complainant at that trial, we called Sophie from Barry, a minor
Starting point is 00:06:01 at the time, a teenager who'd been a fan of the band for years. Despite Jacob Hogard and his defense team acknowledging that his behavior with Sophie when she was 15 amounted to grooming, luring and possibly child pornography, those charges were not on the table. And the jury found that the crown did not prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, finding Jacob Hogard not guilty of the charge of sexual touching of a minor and the charge of sexual assault causing bodily injury. 37-year-old Hogard was sentenced to five years in prison, put on the sex offender registry for
Starting point is 00:06:41 next 20 years, and banned from possessing any weapons for 10 years. His defence lawyer Megan Sevard strongly hinted at an appeal of the charge that resulted in a guilty verdict, and Hogard was released on bail pending appeal. But there's still another trial to go. The media reported that Jacob Hogard had been charged with a new count of sexual assault causing bodily injury related to a third complainant from Kirkland Lake on Tario. After our series aired, he again elected to be tried for sexual assault before a jury, rather than a judge-only trial.
Starting point is 00:07:22 In July of this year, the media reported that the trial has been delayed, and it is scheduled to start in September of 2024. There hasn't been any further news on his appeal of the guilty verdict, but have checked in with Emma from Ottawa, not her real name of course. As you remember, she announced she was suing Jacob Hogard on the grounds that her life has been fundamentally and forever changed by the sexual assault he was convicted of, and she continues to suffer physical, emotional, and mental pain and suffering, as well as a loss of enjoyment of life. The next issue Emma has to face is whether she will testify at the next trial for the Kirkland Lake victim complainant next year. She tells me that in the spring there will be a
Starting point is 00:08:13 pre-trial hearing to deal with who is going to testify, and she's already feeling increasingly depressed and anxious about the whole thing. You might remember that in our series we referred to the 2019 book Putting Trials on Trial, where law professor Elaine Craig argues that the legal profession continues to fail victims by needlessly traumatising those who come forward. A key tactic utilized by the Defence is to try and raise reasonable doubt by attempting to shift the blame from the perpetrator to the survivor, asking questions underpinned by rate myths and stereotypes, accusing the victim complainant of lying because they wanted attention, regretted having sex or felt rejected afterwards and wanted to get revenge for
Starting point is 00:09:04 that. These tactics were all used in an effort to discredit Emma at trial. You might remember that the defense tried to bypass both rape shield laws, firstly by carelessly incorporating an incorrect clip into their trial materials, and using it to berate Emma until she became distraught, broke down on the stand and falsely admitted that she lied to the CBC to get the interrogation to end. The problem was she didn't lie. The clip was of someone else, not her, and when a third party discovered and reported the error to the judge, Jacob Hogard's defense team wouldn't
Starting point is 00:09:45 even acknowledge they'd made it, let alone apologise to Emma for their brutality. The defense bypassed the other rapeshield law around private records not being admissible by the defense to discredit the victim complainant. Instead, they ambushed Emma on the stand with a phone call that Jacob Hogard secretly recorded, arguing that it was not a private record and therefore the rapeshow Lord didn't apply. The judge allowed it, but stated she felt backed into a corner because the damage had already been done. Professor Elaine Craig argues in her book that as a result of tactics like these,
Starting point is 00:10:29 many sexual assault survivors actually regret participating in the legal process, because of the way they were treated in court, typically by the Defense Council. Emma tells me that this is certainly her experience. She says that testifying as a survivor at Jacob Hogard's sexual assault trial set her mental health back to a point where she had to start therapy and treatment for trauma again. She says on reflection that her court experience was actually worse than the sexual assault
Starting point is 00:11:02 itself, which is a damning indictment of our criminal justice system. And worse, this causes other victim complainants to hold back on reporting on their experiences, which does nothing to reduce the number of sexual assaults, let alone the ones that are reported. So for Emma, the prospect of testifying again at the next trial is a daunting one. Obviously, because Jacob Hogard was found guilty
Starting point is 00:11:32 on the charge related to her, his lawyer will have a difficult time trying to dispute the facts of the case and discredit her this time. But this also means that at the upcoming hearing, the defense will likely try to argue that Emma shouldn't be permitted to testify, and I can't imagine that's going to be pleasant.
Starting point is 00:11:54 Emma and I will be staying in touch, and of course we wish her all the best over the coming months. The Brentwood Five This was the tragic case of a 2014 College House party in Calgary, a night where five young people lost their lives. Zachariah Rathwell, Jordan Segura, Josh Hunter, Katie Paris, and Lawrence Hong. They were attacked and stabbed at the end of the party by Matthew DeGrood, who at the time was having an episode where he believed he was the son of God, the devil was talking to him, and a war was
Starting point is 00:12:39 about to begin that signaled the end of the world. As it turned out, he had undiagnosed schizophrenia, and he was given the label of not criminally responsible due to mental illness, or NCR, a defense which hinges on the offender being in a state where they weren't able to understand that their actions were wrong. Since that time, Matthew DeGrood has been in a facility and has been applying for all privileges and freedoms as soon as he's eligible. Every year, his status is assessed by the Alberta Review Board and it has been a bumpy rollercoaster. In 2020, he applied for more freedoms, but the board denied the request stating that he was still a
Starting point is 00:13:25 significant threat to the safety of the public. They noted that he had changed medications and experienced a deterioration in his mental condition, which he was unaware of, and also went undetected by medical professionals. At his next hearing in 2021, the review board heard that Matthew DeGrood's psychosis was in full remission, and there have been no problems with him taking his medication. They cleared the way for him to transition to a group home. At the next hearing in 2022, Matthew DeGrewd applied for absolute discharge. His treatment team of psychiatrists and other professionals found that he had made significant progress and was in many respects a model patient who was highly motivated to stay compliant. But the team noted that his
Starting point is 00:14:20 health is fragile. Any disruption in medication may cause his psychiatric condition to get worse. And because he hasn't had any experience taking his medication without assistance, transitioning to a lower level of mental health care could make his condition worse. The treating psychiatrist noted that when his mental health deteriorates, he is not likely to return to hospital voluntarily. And if he was given absolute discharge, his risk of imminent future violence is low. But if he does become violent, it is, quote, significantly likely to be of high severity. The review board decided he remained a significant risk
Starting point is 00:15:07 and denied the application for absolute discharge. His legal team appealed the review board's ruling, arguing that it was unfair and biased, that Matthew DeGrood has been stable on medication is at low risk to reoffend and should be allowed to live with his parents while also being monitored. His lawyer also argued that the review board relied on inaccurate recitations of evidence and that the board chair was biased because he may have connections to the provincial government. The review Board dismissed these complaints. Matthew DeGroote himself argued that he felt the proceedings weren't fair and that victim impact statements shouldn't have been released to the public. He also argued that the board
Starting point is 00:15:56 didn't properly assess whether he was a risk to the public because his schizophrenia had been in full remission for years. The review board decision stated it had considered Degrood's mental state and did not find anything unfair about the hearing. The complaint was dismissed. So Matthew Degrood's legal team took it to the Alberta Court of Appeal, who unanimously dismissed the appeal,
Starting point is 00:16:23 saying they failed to provide evidence of any error in a review board decision that was reviewable, and that it was reasonable for the review board to find that degrude still poses a risk of serious violent behavior. The appeal was denied. In response, the father of Joshua Hunter, one of the five young people who lost their lives that night, told CBC News that he was very relieved about the decision. The Barclay Hunter described deGroods lawyer as highly irresponsible in pursuing the appeal. He said, quote, I understand his lawyer is in a place to advocate on his behalf, but it is highly
Starting point is 00:17:06 irresponsible of them all. His lawyer and his family, to pursue such a reckless position on his behalf against the better judgment of his treatment team and the review board. Barclay Hunter goes on to suggest that there needs to be changes to Canada's criminal justice system to ensure that anyone who has deemed NCR after committing extreme violent crimes such as de-grude must serve a minimum period of time in an institution and be closely monitored for the rest of their lives. After this decision, Matthew de-grude's parents decided to speak out publicly for the first time to Johnny Wakefield of the Edmonton Journal.
Starting point is 00:17:51 His mother, Susan DeGrood, said nobody knew he had schizophrenia. It was an undiagnosed mental illness, and while she knows the immense pain and sorrow her son caused, quote, if you know Matthew, he is not the monster people like to believe he was. She said that mental illness hit him hard, but he recovered. That's the most important part. Quote, he's very remorseful and cognizant of what he needs to do to keep himself in that position. She said she believes that the system, including doctors, are scared to give Matthew new privileges
Starting point is 00:18:29 and freedoms, quote, not because of his progress, but because of what they think the public will say. Susan and Douglas DeGrood complained about their perception of some of the actions of the family members of the victims, including a victim impact statement that contained what they felt could be regarded as implied threats, and that they often contained personal information. Susan added, quote, there is a safety factor here because the information is such that if it is posted online and somebody decides to come hunt us down, what recourse do we have?"
Starting point is 00:19:09 She claimed that the annual review board is actually an annual retrial of her son. Quote, the focus of the board isn't now about what Matthew did and how he's supposed to get better. The focus is still trying to make him pay for what he did and reminding him every year of what a horrible person he was. We're just fighting to have him progressed the way he's supposed to be progressed." All in all, Susan DeGrood said the review board should recognize that there are six families impacted by this, not just five.
Starting point is 00:19:45 Quote, we feel great sympathy for the victims, but we also have to protect our son. That was July of 2023. In September, Global News reported that Matthew DeGrew decided to take his case for absolute or conditional discharge to the Supreme Court of Canada. Greg Peris, the father of Katie Peris, one of the victims, said that he was shocked. He added that he and all of the other family members were hoping that the Supreme Court would refuse to hear that appeal, because quote, it could have far-reaching ramifications for other patients who are found
Starting point is 00:20:26 not criminally responsible and want more freedoms. It puts into question the process and provincial control on reviews and decisions made by legal and medical professionals. In early November, it was again time for Matthew DeGrood's annual review, and again he asked that the review board consider an absolute discharge as well as conditional discharge that will allow him to live at home with his parents. At the end of that hearing, he was given the opportunity to address the families of the victims, and he promised he would commit himself to remaining well.
Starting point is 00:21:05 Quote, I want to make it clear today that I have no desire to inflict any more pain on the victims' families and I'm very sorry if my appeals have added to their suffering. The review board hasn't yet released their decision. The Supreme Court of Canada also has not decided if it will hear the case. The Chilean-Canadian weather is here and if you're anything like me, you're already dreaming about two things. How you can escape it to bask in the warmth of your next sun-filled vacation and score
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Starting point is 00:23:58 The decision also stated that when a sentence is imposed without a realistic possibility of parole, it leaves offenders with no incentive to rehabilitate themselves. And rehabilitation is obviously the primary goal of the Canadian criminal justice system. The Supreme Court decision is referred to as RV B-Sinet, after the Quebec Mosque shooter who killed six people at a mosque in 2017, the 27-year-old was given a life sentence with no chance of parole for 40 years, which was brought back down to 25 after this Supreme Court decision. Last year we said that this decision has widespread implications to other cases. According to the Globe and Mail, there were a total of 23 people who committed multiple
Starting point is 00:24:50 murders and received consecutive parole and eligibility periods, who may now appeal to have those periods reduced as well. He is an update as to where that's at. So far, the following perpetrators have appealed citing the Supreme Court decision, Jason Klaus and Joshua Frank, who were found guilty of the Klaus family murders in Alberta. Edward Downey, who murdered Sarah Bailey and her five-year-old daughter Talia, also in Alberta, and Derek Syretzky, who murdered Terry Blanchett, his two-year-old daughter Hailey Dunbar Blanchett, and unrelated victim Hannah Mekitek in Alberta. All of them were successful and had their parole
Starting point is 00:25:34 inaligibility periods reduced to 25 years. Another case is the perpetrator of the 2018 Toronto Van attack, who killed eight women and two men that day, leaving many others seriously injured, including one woman who later died of her injuries. The crowd indicated it was going to be seeking consecutive life sentences and parole and eligibility periods, but sentencing was delayed pending that Supreme Court decision. When it came down, the perpetrator of the Toronto Van Attacks was sentenced to life with no chance of parole for 25 years. Dallan Malard and Mark Smitch are both eligible to make similar applications.
Starting point is 00:26:21 They were both convicted of the murders of Tim Bosmer and Laura Barbcock. And separately, Malad was also convicted of the murder of his father, Wayne Millard. He was given a parole in eligibility period of 75 years. Mark Smitch was given 50 years. In October of 2022, CBC News reported that families of murder victims traveled to Ottawa to appear before a parliamentary committee to condemn the Supreme Court's decision. Now, as it turned out, this was the same hearing about the victims' bill of rights that Kelly Favreau and the My Voice My Choice team were there to speak about, in the context of publication
Starting point is 00:27:05 bands being applied to their names. I had no idea until Kelly told me that Charlene Bosmer was at that same hearing as well. Charlene told the committee that the provision for consecutive parole periods was one of the few things they as victims had to hold on to. Quote, it says to us that you can kill as many people as you want here in Canada because sentencing will not change. She added that when Malad and Smitch were originally sentenced, she felt relief knowing her daughter would never have to face them at a parole hearing.
Starting point is 00:27:41 That daughter was just two years old when her father Tim Bosmer was murdered. In quote, she had the right to be raised by him and know him for the loving man that he was. Now, because of the ruling in May, when my daughter is 27, she will be asked to carry on the fight that I thought I already fought for her. The parole hearings will begin. Laura Babcock's mother Linda told CBC News that when it happens, she'll feel like justice for her daughter will have been stolen as well. Quote, My feeling is if you point a gun and shoot somebody, then you do it to somebody else.
Starting point is 00:28:19 Those are two murders and they should be treated as such. Linda Babcock stated that the whole situation is devastating for them, pointing out that after 25 years' up quote, then we have to start going to parole hearings and giving a victim impact statement. Now, as we know, parole hearings are an incredibly stressful time for those on the victim's side, as it is their last chance to advocate for their loved one in a system and process that has no place for them. It's also worth noting that many of the family members of those who were killed in the Toronto Van attack have also spoken out about this Supreme Court decision. So, the update. In March of 2023, both Delen Malade and Mark Smitch successfully
Starting point is 00:29:09 applied to have their parole and eligibility periods reduced to 25 years. As of now, there are only 15 years to go until they can make their first appearances before the parole board. As it turns out, both men have been in the appeals process for years, as both have launched appeals of their original convictions as well. It's taken a long time because Dallin Malard can't make up his mind as to whether to hire council or represent himself, but the Ontario Court of Appeal has reached a decision in relation to the murder of his father, Wayne Millard. While Dallin Millard argued that the guilty verdict was unreasonable based on the evidence, the Court of Appeal found that none of his arguments had any merit, and the evidence that he committed the murder of his father was overwhelming.
Starting point is 00:30:02 The appeal was dismissed. The Court of Appeal reserved their decision when it came to Millards' appeals of his convictions for the murders of Tim Bosmer and Laura Babcock. Mark Smitch has also launched an appeal of his guilty verdicts in those two cases. He claims he is the victim and was convicted in the joint trial based on strong evidence against Dellen Mellard, but weak evidence against him, he claims. Perhaps we'll have an update about these appeals next year. The final update is that while all of these appeals were happening, Dellen Mellard was also participating in yet another trial, this time for his role in a prison
Starting point is 00:30:46 stabbing. According to reporting from CBC News, Malard and another inmate were involved in a fight in July of 2021, and were both charged with assault causing bodily harm. The attack left another inmate with potentially life-threatening injuries, according to a doctor who testified. The other inmate appears to be the ringleader in the attack, and he pleaded guilty and received a one-year sentence. De La Moulade pleaded not guilty and went to trial in February of 2023. He represented himself in this trial, appearing by video, described as wearing a short-sleeved shirt with arms now covered in tattoos and his brown hair short, except for that long, thin
Starting point is 00:31:34 braid he's been growing for years which was hung over his shoulder. He was sentenced to one year in prison for his role in the stabbing, to be served concurrently with the three first degree murder convictions he is already serving. It's not hard to see why the families are upset, why they have referred to these subsequent crimes as effectively being freebies. Of course, these freebies will be taken into consideration when he eventually applies for parole, but that
Starting point is 00:32:05 is likely to be far sooner than any of the families had anticipated. The Giant Mine Murders This episode told the story of giant mine in Yellowknife Northwest Territories at a time when a bitter labor dispute devolved into chaos and violence. In 1992, nine underground miners died when a bomb detonated. Their names were Vern Falilca, Norm Houry, Chris Neal, Joe Pandev, Shane Riggs, Robert Rousel, Arnold Russell, Malcolm Sawler, and David Vodnoski, and they each left behind devastated families, including children who grew up without a father. The perpetrator was a fellow minor, Roger Warren, who was later convicted of nine counts of second degree murder.
Starting point is 00:33:04 He passed away in 2019. September of 2022 marked the 30th anniversary of the giant mine murders, one of Canada's worst ever mass murders. To commemorate the anniversary, CBC North released a podcast called Giant Murder Underground, a seven-part series that provides an in-depth look back at the murders and the impact they had. We've linked that podcast in the show notes. Also of note is the impact the mind had on the local indigenous peoples, the Denny, who occupied and used that land for centuries until the mine was established there.
Starting point is 00:33:45 Today, giant mine is closed, but it is a massive environmental problem, described as the most contaminated site in Canada. During the more than 50 years, it was an operation. It reportedly released more than 230,000 tons of toxic arsenic trioxide into the environment. The local Yellow Knives DNA First Nation call it Giant Mine Monster. Here's what they say on the website
Starting point is 00:34:17 The Giant Mine is one of the richest and longest running gold mines in Canadian history. Between 1948 and 2004, it produced 7 million ounces of gold. The companies that controlled the mine made more than 1 billion in profits, with millions and subsidies from Canada. But for Yellow Knives Denny, it unearthed a monster. It destroyed the critical harvesting area our ancestors had long protected. Arseneck contaminated our air and water, it poisoned our people and caused the death of at least one child, all with the government of Canada's knowledge, permission and support.
Starting point is 00:34:57 End quote. The deniers say that today their land is spoiled and they are fearful of fishing or harvesting any food near giant mine. that today their land is spoiled, and they are fearful of fishing or harvesting any food near giant mine. Remediation work began in 2021, and is expected to continue until 2038. With the federal government reaching agreements with the Yellow Knives DNA First Nation
Starting point is 00:35:20 to ensure they benefit from the cleanup project. Whether or not that actually happens is anyone's guess, and there have been complaints that indigenous peoples have not been employed for the cleanup project as promised. It's estimated that it will cost more than $4 billion to clean up the mine. The Renfru County Massacre Back in February of this year, we re-released an updated episode covering the worst-ever case of intimate partner violence in Ontario and one of the worst in Canadian history. In 2015, the lives of three women, Natalie Wormedam, Anastasia Kuzik and Carol Colletton,
Starting point is 00:36:12 were snuffed out within hours of each other by basal baroutski and a violent murder spree that could have been prevented. As part of the updated episode, we reported on the public inquest into the massacre and the 86 recommendations for system changes to reduce the risk of it happening again. While some of the recommendations were specifically about how police and parole officers handled Basel Barutski and his behaviour, the majority were directed at the province of Ontario. In July of this year, there was a reunion meeting to mark one year since the inquiry, where the Ontario government would be responding to the recommendations. The Inquest jury was invited, all the loved ones of the victims were invited, along with all the advocates for victims of intimate partner violence,
Starting point is 00:37:06 and of course the provincial government. The hope was that the government would send a representative to attend the reunion, but unfortunately the families of Natalie Walmadam and Estasia Cusic and Carol Colletton were extremely disappointed that no one was sent, just a response document. And that too was a big disappointment. Advocate's noted that the Ontario government rejected a great number of recommendations, including almost every single one that calls for accountability and transparency. Recommendations included declaring intimate partner violence and epidemic, which the Ontario government said it was not going to do, despite the fact that 32 municipalities across the province have already done so, including Renfrew County. The government also
Starting point is 00:38:00 declined to establish an independent commission to oversee the implementation of the recommendations, which many took a solid proof that they aren't that interested in implementing them. For a number of recommendations, the government simply pointed to programs already available, which advocates noted were not what was actually asked for. There was also a lot of buck-passing. After the reunion, Natalie Warmedam's children, Malcolm Warmedam and Elizabeth Warmedam, told CTV News that they feel betrayed, angry and appalled. They wonder how many women
Starting point is 00:38:40 have to die before the government starts to take notice. Sadly, it's an all-too-familiar tale. The Survival of Zack Miller This was the story of two young boys who were abducted by convicted pedophile Peter Whitmore and held captive in an abandoned Saskatchewan farmhouse in 2006. Both boys survived and had publication bands placed on their identities as miners who had been sexually assaulted. Zach Miller had his publication band removed so that he could speak out publicly about his experience. So that's why the episode focused more on his side of things. Peter Whitmore has been incarcerated in a federal prison in Ontario, serving a life sentence
Starting point is 00:39:38 for offences that include kidnapping, sexual assault causing bodily harm, threats, and possession of child pornography. According to reporting from the Saskatoon star Phoenix, last September 51-year-old Peter Whitmore applied for full parole, with his lawyer pointing out that his ability to manage various mental health conditions had improved. In response, the parole board noted that Whitmore continues to have acknowledged deviant sexual preferences. Quote, «You manipulated vulnerable families into trusting you with their children and subsequently used weapons, domination and fear to coerce victims. The decision also pointed out that Whitmore had a history of interpersonal problems with other inmates, predatory sexual behavior towards vulnerable inmates, and had been involved
Starting point is 00:40:35 in threats and assaults while in prison. He also has, quote, a dismal community supervision record showing little regard for the terms of probation or peace bonds. The board pointed out that Whitmore hadn't provided them with a release plan or indicated what support was available in the community. Basically, he was grossly underprepared to make a viable application for parole. The decision quoted from a psychological risk assessment of WITMORE that said, it is difficult to imagine a time when risk will be considered manageable in the community in this case. This is not the time.
Starting point is 00:41:19 With that, the board denied full parole, saying that Peter WITMmore will present an undue risk to society. In the last year or so, we've started using AI voices to read certain quotes. And a couple of people have sent in observations and questions. One person said they found the choice to use hilarious text to voice apps to read quotes to be an interesting direction. So obviously my response is that the AI voices aren't supposed to sound like real voices. And the reason I started putting them in every now and then
Starting point is 00:42:01 is when there's no original audio available and there's an interesting quote or a series of text messages or something else where I want to put emphasis on something. It's more impactful if it's not all just read by me, it kind of adds interest and breaks things up a bit. And as for some of them being hilarious, yes, that probably is intentional. For example, when we were doing the Jacob Hogan trial series, I used some AI voices to read tweets from fans of the band who were blaming the victims who came forward. And I did intentionally find the most judgy and annoying sounding voices for those. I also used a particular voice for Jordan Peterson,
Starting point is 00:42:44 which I found quite personally amusing. It's possible that sex is so dangerous that it has to be encapsulated with you. And in the Legacy Christian Academy series, I used an AI voice to bring one of the cartoons from the school workbooks to life. And because I couldn't find any children's AI voices, I selected an adult voice but I set the pitch way up so that they sounded squeaky and super weird. Just listening to the words in the Bible helps me obey.
Starting point is 00:43:11 Basically, it's a creative choice, similar to choosing the background music. And like all art, it's subjective. Some people like it and some people don't. But I have to admit that I have fun with it. Now one listener mentioned that in the earlier episodes of this podcast, we used to have other podcasters providing the voices where possible, and for example, text message conversations and that type of thing. And they wanted to know why we don't still do this instead of using the AI voices.
Starting point is 00:43:43 So there's just a couple of reasons for this. The truth is that it takes far more time and coordination to have different people record and edit different lines. And sometimes we just don't have that time up our sleeve, whether it be for communication or enough time to give them notice to have the read back. So it's really easy to just put the text in and use an AI voice to achieve the same thing. The other issue is that when we did use to use other podcasters to voice these quotes, we always got complaints then as well. So at the end of the day, it's obviously impossible to please everyone. But for now, it's faster and easier for us to use AI voices for the odd quote. The Murder of Ronald Platt
Starting point is 00:44:50 Ronald Platt was murdered in 1996 in England by a man named Albert Johnson Walker, a diabolical Canadian criminal given the nickname the Rolex killer. Albert Johnson Walker was once a financial advisor in Southwest Ontario who left behind an unbelievable trail of fraud and destruction and then fled to the UK with his teenage daughter. He assumed the identity of Ronald Platt, a man who had immigrated from England to Canada and Walker also groomed and coached his own daughter to actors though they were a married couple. During this time that they lived in England, she gave birth to two children who called him dad. At some point, Ronald Platte returned
Starting point is 00:45:38 to the UK and discovered his identity had been stolen, and then his body was found by a fisherman. The investigation led to Albert Johnson Walker, who was found guilty at trial and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. In 2005, he was transferred to Canada to serve out the rest of his sentence here. Where we left off, Walker had applied for parole in 2021, and the parole board found that he demonstrated a lack of remorse and understanding of the harm caused by his financial and fraud crimes. When it came to the murder of Ronald Platte, Walker had testified at his trial that he knew nothing about his death.
Starting point is 00:46:27 But at this parole hearing he changed his story, insisting he knew what happened, but that Platt's death was unintentional and accident. The board rejected his explanation and denied parole. This summer, the Toronto Star reported that a limited day parole had been granted, so that Walker, who is now 77 years old, can participate in a 60-day relapse prevention program as a trial, with the view of it leading to full parole. But according to the parole board decision, the board indicated that Albert Johnson Walker's considerable charm and ability to con people has not been forgotten, as evidenced by the fact that he was able to
Starting point is 00:47:12 have his own child pose as his wife while he assumed another man's identity. The board said, quote, you have been described as a charismatic and very manipulative individual who engages in a high level of impression management. Walker's daughter, who is now in her late 40s, hasn't spoken out about her father in years, presumably because it's a very painful situation for her and the two children. Their paternity has never been addressed publicly. The last time she spoke out was in 2005, when she stated that she believes he's a dangerous individual, she's scared of him, and she believes he poses a threat that she needs to protect her family from.
Starting point is 00:48:10 Paul Bernardo and Carla Hamolka and the murders of Tammy Hamolka, Leslie Mahaffi and Kristen French. This update actually has very little to do with Carla Hamolka, but in May of 2023, the media reported out of nowhere that Paul Bernato had been transferred from the maximum security mill haven institution where he'd spent the last 10 years to a medium security facility in Quebec. Any time there is news about Paul Bonato or Kala Humolka, it stirs up public emotion in Canada and this was no different. It wasn't just that Banado had been transferred to medium security. The bigger problem was that no one knew why. The reason for the transfer was not provided to the public. Paul Banado is obviously one of Canada's most prolific and infamous criminals known to be smart, charming, highly manipulative and dangerous. Between 1987 and 1992, he raped and sexually assaulted at least 18 women in the area of
Starting point is 00:49:12 Scarborough, Ontario. And after he met Carla Himolka and moved to the Niagara Falls region, they arranged to drug and sexually assault Carla's 15-year-old sister Tammy Himolka, and she died during the incident. Then, they kidnapped sexually assaulted, tortured, and murdered 14-year-old Leslie Mahaffee, followed by 15-year-old Kristen French. These crimes were so heinous that Paul Bernardo was designated a dangerous offender, a rare label that means he is unlikely to ever be released from prison. But he certainly has tried.
Starting point is 00:49:51 He was first eligible to apply in 2018, but was denied. The parole board heard that psychiatric reports determined Bernardo met the criteria for narcissistic personality disorder and a diagnosis of psychopathy, as well as sexual sadism, voyeurism, and parapherelias or deviant sexual interests. The reports also found he was more likely to repeat violent sexual offending. So in light of all this, it's understandable why the Canadian public was so upset about
Starting point is 00:50:25 his unexplained transfer from maximum to medium security. Journalist Ashley Burke would report for CBC News that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and key cabinet ministers received hundreds of emails from Canadians expressing their shock at Benado's transfer, and urging the federal government to find a way to reverse it and send him back to maximum security. It came out that the office of the federal minister for public safety at the time knew about the transfer three months in advance, but when asked by the media, the actual minister Marco Mendocino said he wasn't informed until after the transfer had happened. It's a long and complicated issue, but overall it didn't look good for the liberal
Starting point is 00:51:13 party, and the prime minister ended up shuffling Mendocino out of his cabinet minister role. But even more upset were the families of Leslie Mahaffee and Kristen French. They too were kept in the dark about the transfer right up until the day that it happened, which must have felt like a total blind side. And they also did not know the reasons why. Even though they've attended Bernardo's previous parole hearings, they've become increasingly upset that the evidence discussed at these hearings remains shrouded in secrecy. Records like psychological assessments, treatment records,
Starting point is 00:51:52 case management reports, audio recordings of previous hearings, and other documentation that the parole board refers to when making their decision. Describing the series of events as a slap in the face, the families demanded that Banado be returned to maximum security, a request that was supported by members of the Federal Conservative Party, which is known for being tough on crime. These multiple waves of controversy resulted in the correctional service of Canada launching a formal review of the transfer decision in presenting the results of that review in July of this year. The correctional service of Canada Commissioner Anne Callie emphasized that federal corrections is responsible for managing inmates and must make decisions based on law rather than on how society feels about a particular offender.
Starting point is 00:52:48 But she added, quote, what they have gone through is unimaginable. Public safety and their safety continues to be top of mind for us in any decisions we make. Hearing about this case so intensely over the past weeks has brought up strong emotions and rightly so. I regret any pain and concern this transfer has caused. The Commissioner made a rare decision to release some personal information about Paul Bernardo in relation to why they made the decision they did. The public learned that between 1999 and 2022, Banado's security classification had been reviewed 14 times, and each time he met the criteria to be moved
Starting point is 00:53:35 from maximum to medium security. The reason he wasn't transferred was because of his high profile status, which placed him at a greater safety risk. In maximum security, his interactions with other inmates were extremely restricted and controlled, so he would need to be better integrated with them to move into medium security, where he might not spend as much time in his cell and could associate with other inmates. It's worth noting that experts quoted by CBC News said a transfer from maximum to medium security doesn't elevate his risk of escaping and being a danger to the public. In June of 2022, Banado applied to be moved to Bath Institution, the Medium Security Facility next to Mill Haven.
Starting point is 00:54:27 And a security review found that even though he again met the bar to be reclassified to Medium Security, he had failed to properly integrate with the other inmates. So he spent the next month working with his case management team on an integration plan, which was determined to be successful. In July of 2022, he was moved to Bath Institution. But it appears that his ultimate goal was to be moved to the Lama Casa Institution in Quebec, another medium security facility that also offered treatment for sex offenders. After 10 months at Bath Institution with no reported incidents or behavioral concerns, the decision was made to approve Banado's transfer to Quebec.
Starting point is 00:55:17 While the review found that there were improvements to be made and more sensitively notifying the families of Leslie Mahaffee and Kristen French. The commissioner stated that the decision to transfer Bernardo was determined to be sound. Commissioner Kelly emphasized that the correctional system in Canada is based on the rehabilitation of offenders, even if some remain imprisoned for their rest of their lives. And in making decisions that has to balance public safety risk, secure and humane offender treatment, and victims' rights.
Starting point is 00:55:53 She also clarified that Banado's transfer to a medium security prison would not lead to his release, and at any point an inmate can be returned to a higher security level if necessary to ensure public safety. Quote, the fact that he is at a medium security institution does not negate the fact that he is a psychopath and that he committed horrific and unspeakable crimes. Tim Denson, the lawyer, representing the families of Leslie Mahaffee and Kristen French, said they rejected the review's conclusion and believed that a different set of criteria should be applied to people who have met the criteria for psychopathy. The families have also stepped up their request
Starting point is 00:56:38 to access the documents and records related to Bernardo's parole hearings, like psychological assessments, treatment records, and any other documentation in advance of the hearing so they can better prepare for it. Their lawyer, Tim Danson, said the families have seen Banado manipulating the system and lying about evidence at previous parole hearings, which are supposed to be public. He wondered, quote, how is it that we have a public parole hearing and the evidence that is being presented at that hearing is somehow secret?
Starting point is 00:57:13 And even though the families have requested those documents multiple times since 2018, the request has always denied with the reason given that releasing such records would be a total invasion of Banado's rights to privacy. This October, CBC News reported that the families have taken their request to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Starting point is 00:57:36 Their lawyer Tim Danceson said that it's in the public interest for the documents to be released publicly so that Canadians can decide if the system is working as it's supposed to. In an interview with CBC News, the lawyer said that at the last parole hearing, Bernardo gave a lengthy presentation estimated to be about 40 minutes long. Quote, he talked about these unspeakable crimes against Christian French and Leslie Mahaffee and the other victims like you and I will talk about the weather. So why can't the public have that information?
Starting point is 00:58:11 Why can't they listen and hear for themselves? The Mahaffee and French families are hoping the Supreme Court of Canada will hear their case, but it's unlikely to happen before Banado's next parole hearing, which is scheduled for February. Our thoughts are with the families and all of those directly affected by the crimes of Paul Banado and Carla Hamolka. That's the end of this year's Major Case Updates. Thanks for listening and special thanks to Anya Best for researching these case updates.
Starting point is 00:58:53 Please see the show notes for the full list of resources and links for further information on any of these cases or the podcast, including how to access ad-free episodes on our premium feeds. You can also find this info at Audio editing was by Niko from the Inky Paul Print, aka We Talk of Dreams, who also composed the theme songs, and production assistance was by Jesse at the Inky Paul Print. Additional research, writing, creative direction, and sound design was by me, and the disclaimer was voiced by Eric Crosby. I'll be back soon with another Canadian true crime story. See you then. you

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