Corrections defends Bernardo’s privacy, as it faces calls to detail transfer reason


Published June 9, 2023 at 3:23 pm

The Correctional Service of Canada is defending Paul Bernardo’s privacy rights after the public safety minister said they should be waived.

Marco Mendicino says Canadians deserve to know why the serial rapist and killer was transferred from a maximum-security prison to a medium-security facility.

The independent federal correctional service is reviewing the transfer after widespread backlash, saying in a statement earlier in the week that while it understands Canadians want answers, it was “restricted by the law” in what it can say.

What prison authorities are allowed to disclose, including to victims, is outlined in the law governing corrections and in the federal Privacy Act.

Federal correctional spokesman Kevin Antonucci says in a statement today that under the privacy law, it cannot disclose an inmate’s personal information without their consent, “except in specific circumstances.”

It says considerations include the sensitivity of the information as well as the likelihood and level of “injury relative to the benefits of the disclosure to the public.”

Bernardo is serving a life sentence for the kidnapping, torture and murders of 15-year-old Kristen French and 14-year-old Leslie Mahaffy in the early 1990s.

The family of Burlington’s Mahaffy said they were “shocked” that Bernardo was moved.

Tim Danson, lawyer for the families of two of Bernardo’s victims, said the move and the controversy surrounding it has brought up decades of anguish and grief.

In June of 1991, Bernardo abducted Mahaffy near her Burlington home, who, along with his accomplice wife Karla Homolka, killed the 14-year-old M.M. Robinson High School student.

Her disappearance, along with French and other young girls, frightened communities for several years until the arrests of Bernardo and Homolka.

The criminal trials were widely covered by Canadian and international media, making Bernardo and Homolka two of the most infamous killers in this country’s history.

Homolka was released from custody in 2005.

Bernardo was also convicted of manslaughter in the death of 15-year-old Tammy Homolka, and admitted to sexually assaulting 14 other women.

The Canadian Press

– With files from

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