McConnell likely returned if Alberta wins appeal, minister says
Australia media watching return of mother who drowned sons
Australia will be asked to send Allyson McConnell back to Canada if Alberta wins the appeal filed in her case, provincial Justice Minister Jonathan Denis said Monday.
"We will be in contact immediately with Australian officials and have her brought back to Canada so she can serve the rest of her time here," Denis said Monday.
On Thursday, McConnell, an Australian citizen, completed her sentence for drowning her two sons, which freed Canada Border Services to have her deported. She was set to leave the Edmonton International Airport for Australia at 9 p.m. Monday.
The Crown filed an appeal following McConnell’s manslaughter conviction and six-year sentence last year.
However, because the judge gave her credit for time served, McConnell served ten months in custody, meaning the appeal was not heard before she was released.
Alberta in touch with Australia foreign office
Denis said that Alberta is now contacting the Australian foreign office to let them know that McConnell is a person of interest.
If the appeal goes in Crown’s favour, Denis believes diplomatic ties between the two Commonwealth nations would make it likely she would be returned to Canada.
"Under the treaties that we have, my understanding is that if the sentence was overturned in favour of some larger sentence Australia would be required under these conventions to bring her back to Canada to pay her debt to the province," he said.
But Shayne Saskiw, Wildrose justice critic, said McConnell's departure creates a legal problem for the province.
"Their grounds of appeal will be inhibited by the fact that she's already been deported so it's definitely going to weaken their case," he said.
Late last week, federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said that the province took too long to ask Ottawa to intervene and keep McConnell in Canada.
Denis said that the appeal was filed within the 30-day window following McConnell’s conviction and said there was nothing else the prosecution service could have done.
Australian media awaiting return
News of McConnell's pending return has piqued the interest of media in Australia.
Rachel Olding, a crime reporter with the Syndey Morning Herald, said the story was front-page news over the weekend.
"There's just a lot of questions I guess about what happens next and what this means that she might be back on our shores," she told CBC News.
The community is unsettled about having McConnell back in Australia, she said.
"If she comes back here there's a whole other chapter that's about to be played out. Where will she go, where will she stay what will she do with her life, how much monitoring will there be on her, considering that legal proceedings are still on-going back in Canada?"
CBC News asked the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship what, if any, special condtions or supervision would apply to McConnell on her return home.
A spokesperson would only say that McConnell "is an Australian citizen and has lawful right of entry into Australia."