The Quebec government will not create a public registry of convicted sex offenders in the province because it may spur vigilante justice, the provincial justice minister said.
Opposition party Action Démocratique du Québec presented a petition Wednesday with more than 62,000 signatures demanding a public registry for convicted sex offenders.
Justice Minister Jacques Dupuis was swift to dash hopes of a public registry, citing concerns about vigilantism and the potential of people hunting down offenders after they're released from prison.
"We absolutely know that that was the case in some instances in the United States, where the registry was made public," he said.
Police alreadykeep a private registry, and inform victims of sex crimes and their families when a convict is released, he said.
The national site is run through the RCMP and provides "rapid access by police to current vital information about convicted sex offenders," according to the Mounties' website.
Ontario, for example,has a sex offender registrythat suppliesan address and photo of an offender, but thedatabase is only accessible to police.
Aprivate registry doesn't help the majority of the population, argues the ADQ.
"I know what the public's position is on this," and people want a public registry, said ADQ public security critic Sylvie Roy.
Quebec resident Sophie Dupont believes a registry could have kept her seven-year old daughter out of harm's way. Dupont's daughter witnessed sexual acts performed by a neighbour who had been convicted in the past of sex crimes.
A registry would have made her more vigilant, "so that we could see their faces, to know who they are," information that would have likely prompted her to shield her daughter from their neighbour.