Accused killer was barred from Sheshatshiu
Friends, family of victim outraged by easy breach of court order
Friends and relatives of Bernice Rich said they were shocked to learn that the man accused of killing her had been ordered by a judge to stay away from Sheshatshiu, where the murder occurred.
The body of the 21-year-old woman was found in a wooded area of the Labrador community June 14.
Gordon Milley, 30, has been charged with first-degree murder in the case. He also faces charges of sexual assault, public mischief, and breach of recognizance.
Milley has a total of 71 criminal convictions dating back to 2001.
He was on probation and under strict conditions not to be in Sheshatshiu at the time of Rich's death.
The fact that Milley could breach those conditions so easily has many concerned, including Emily McNaught.
"To me, that's not justice. It should have been prevented. I also have brothers that were in that situation before, and it almost came to the point where they could have murdered someone themselves, but there was always a look out, a watch out for men like him," she said.
McNaught is inviting residents of Happy Valley-Goose Bay to the Kinsman Park on Wednesday night to remember Rich, and to speak out about violence against women. She also said it'll be a chance to address what she calls an unfair judicial system.
"It wasn't fair at all, wasn't it? Something that could have been prevented," said McNaught.
Bernice Rich's cousin, Julianna Pijogge, who lives in Natuashish, was outraged to learn that Milley had been banned from entering Sheshatshiu.
"It made me mad. How could nobody not know he wasn't allowed to be there, and why didn't they report it if they knew he was in there in the first place?" she asked.
This is not first time such frustration has been expressed.
In 2009, Levi Aggek from Labrador broke the terms of his probation by leaving the province, and murdered Spring Phillips, 26, in Toronto.
Then justice minister Felix Collins called it a failure of probation services and called in retired judge William Baker to conduct a review.
He made 18 recommendations in his November 2010 report.
On Thursday the Justice Department said the majority of Baker’s recommendations have been implemented or are in the process of being completed.
Rich's funeral will be held later this week.
Milley is due back in court on July 3.