Canada

Controversial criminal sent back to prison

An Ontario man with a violent history has been sentenced to two more years on brand-new crimes, one day after his controversial release.

A repeat sex offender was sent back to prison Wednesday, just one day after being released amid community outrage and warnings that he was likely to commit another violent crime.

A tearful Martin Ferrier, 31, pleaded guilty to breaching conditions attached to his release in Brampton, Ont., and uttering death threats against a reporter.

The Ontario man has 63 convictions for crimes ranging from sexual assault to forcible confinement, assault and arson, and has spent almost all of his adult life behind bars.

During a brief court appearance, Ferrier blamed the media for not giving him privacy and freedom following his release from jail.

"I just wanted it to be known, your honour, the media have been reporting a lot of things," he said. "A lot of it is wrong."

Ferrier had said he wanted to live in Brampton after being freed from the Warkworth Institution in Campbellford, Ont., on Tuesday. That led Peel Regional Police to issue a warning that he was highly likely to commit another violent crime, based on mental health experts' assessment of him as an "incurable psychopath" and his expressed desire to become Canada's most prolific killer.

Brampton Mayor Susan Fennell was relieved to hear Ferrier would not be living in her city in the days ahead.

She has received more phone calls and e-mails from residents on this than on any other issue she's handled in her two terms in office.

"People are frightened, people are concerned and people want to know what they can do," she said.

Fennell said she hopes something can be done to keep Ferrier in jail for longer than his new two-year sentence.

After one motel in the Toronto area turned Ferrier down on Tuesday night when he tried to book a room because he didn't have a credit card, he checked into another motel near Pearson International Airport. He paid cash and didn't register under his own name.

Managers asked the 6-foot-5 man to leave about 10 p.m. after a desk clerk learned his identity from reporters.

He then took a cab to Peel Regional Police headquarters in nearby Brampton, where he spent the night. Word of the new charges came Wednesday morning.

Ferrier's most recent 28-month prison stretch was for threatening his former brother-in-law. During his time in jail, police said he was convicted of using a weapon to assault another inmate.

Before his release, his mother, Judy Perry, had begged corrections officials to keep her son incarcerated for the sake of the public.

Correctional Services Canada has no power to do that after an inmate's full sentence has expired.

"I think this will allow me two more years to lobby the attorney general to have the laws changed," Perry said. "Now we have two years to do this. So let's get on it."

DANGEROUS OFFENDERS

Dangerous offender applications must show that a convicted person poses a risk to others by proving any of the following:

  • A pattern of behaviour that is likely to lead to injury or death to other people.
  • Indifference to the safety of other people.
  • The offender is unlikely to rehabilitate in the future.
The Crown must apply for dangerous offender status before the offender is sentenced for a "serious personal injury offence," or, under certain circumstances, within six months after sentencing. Once classified as a dangerous offender, inmates serve an indefinite prison sentence. Source: Department of Justice Canada

Nobody in the justice system has ever asked for Ferrier to be declared a dangerous offender, which would allow Corrections Canada to keep him in prison.

"Information received by Peel Regional Police indicates that Ferrier is at a high risk of re-offending violently and sexually," the police advisory said. "Ferrier also has a history of re-offending within a short period of being released from custody."

While in prison, he refused to participate in any treatment programs, the statement said.

Under the terms of his release on Tuesday, Ferrier had signed a peace bond to obey 18 conditions for the next 12 months. The conditions said he must:

  • Not possess weapons, ammunition, explosives, or non-prescription medications.
  • Take all medication prescribed by doctors.
  • Remain at home between the hours of 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. unless he is working.
  • Report to police every Wednesday and Saturday.
  • Avoid contact with his previous victims.
  • Notify police within 24 hours if he changes his job or address.
  • Not associate with members of biker gangs.

According to past documents from the parole board, in 1995 Ferrier confessed to three murders for which he hasn't been charged. In the documents, he has said he wants to be remembered as "Canada's most prolific killer."