Accused in Banff attack served time for violent assaults
A Calgary MP wants to know why a man with a violent criminal history and now charged in a vicious attack on two women in Banff was out on the street.
Two women were kidnapped and beaten on Sunday morning when they accepted a ride from a stranger in Banff. The RCMP said one woman escaped and called for help, while the other was sexually assaulted twice before police found her and arrested a suspect.
'His convictions in the past have been rape, violence against women and now he's accused of the same violent act, so why is he out?'—Art Hanger, Calgary Northeast MP
Cory Lawrence Bitternose, 38, of no fixed address, has been charged with 11 offences, including kidnapping, sexual assault, choking to overcome resistance, assault with a weapon, and uttering threats.
Bitternose has a criminal history of attacking women. In 1990, he broke into a Calgary office building washroom and beat a woman so badly that he left the imprint of his shoe on the victim's face. Bitternose pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and was sentenced to more than five years in prison.
In 2004, Bitternose was sentenced to 30 months in prison, in addition to two years he had already spent in custody, for sexually assaulting a woman and assaulting her boyfriend, as well as for assaulting another woman.
"All his crimes have been violent crimes. His convictions in the past have been rape, violence against women and now he's accused of the same violent act, so why is he out?" said Art Hanger, Conservative member of Parliament for Calgary Northeast, on Wednesday.
Suspect attended violence counselling program
The judge in the last conviction recommended that Bitternose join a counselling program run out of a psychiatric centre in Saskatoon for inmates considered to be at a high risk to reoffend violently.
The Aggressive Behaviour Control Program (ABC) would run for six to nine months, including group therapy and one-on-one work with a nurse or social worker, explained Jeff Campbell, a spokesman for Correctional Service of Canada.
"It was meant to address those factors that led them to be aggressive and to change their attitudes," he said.
Hanger, a former police officer and outspoken advocate of tougher sentences, wants to know why Bitternose was not designated a dangerous offender, which would leave him open to being jailed indefinitely.
"This violence doesn't seem to affect the sentencing program anymore, so I think it breaks down when you look at a light sentence given to a violent offender," he said.
"It breaks down when an offender goes through the system that obviously he can persuade or con people into believing that he's one thing when he's not. And it breaks down when he's put back out on the street and there's no control."