New Brunswick

N.B. attorney general wants to address parole board

New Brunswick's attorney general wants the National Parole Board to let him speak at a hearing for a man convicted of killing a 16-year-old Moncton girl back in 1987.

Murphy opposes store clerk killer's bid for unescorted passes

New Brunswick's attorney general wants the National Parole Board to grant him an "unprecedented" chance to speak at a hearing for a man convicted of killing a 16-year-old Moncton girl back in 1987.

'The killing of Laura Davis, a very innocent 16-year-old girl, was nothing less than a demonic crime. '— Attorney General Michael Murphy

Attorney General Michael Murphy, the Moncton North Liberal MLA, said he was appalled when Laura Davis was shot in the head while working at a convenience store in Moncton 22 years ago.

Patrice Mailloux was convicted of that crime and is asking for unescorted absences from prison, a move that both Murphy and the Davis family oppose.

Murphy said he acknowledges that it is an unusual move for an attorney general to ask for standing at a parole hearing, but he said he feels he has no choice but to object to Mailloux's request for unescorted passes.

"It is unprecedented. I'm the first attorney general to ask for status to object to the release of Patrice Mailloux," Murphy said.

"The killing of Laura Davis, a very innocent 16-year-old girl, was nothing less than a demonic crime. We have to send a message of deterrence across our communities in New Brunswick and across the country."

Murphy said if he's not allowed to appear before the parole board on Sept. 24, he'll send another letter to the chairman of the National Parole Board to explain why he objects to Mailloux's release.

Murphy said he and other attorneys general across Canada need to send a strong message of deterrence for criminals.

Ron Davis, Laura's father, said he was grateful for the high-profile support from the province's attorney general.

"I'd never heard of this before, but it's just fantastic to have them on your side,"

Davis said it's been very difficult for him and his family to attend parole hearings, hear the details of the night his daughter was killed, and see Mailloux.

Federal Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan said in an email statement on Friday afternoon that laws introduced by the Conservative government are intended to get tough on criminals, such as Mailloux case.

"Unfortunately, the criminal justice system we inherited from the Liberal Party allows for this sort of early release," Van Loan said. "We've consistently stated that we want to reform the criminal justice system to put the rights of victims before the rights of the criminal.

"That is why we introduced legislation to make the protection of society the focus of the prison system including decisions of the parole board."

The minister said the proposed federal law would require the National Parole Board to consider the seriousness of an offender's crimes in making its decisions.

Van Loan said an early federal election would kill the proposed laws.

Mailloux had unescorted passes revoked in 2006

Mailloux, who was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 20 years, was given unescorted passes back in 2006.

Those requests were revoked because he was illegally selling cigarettes, lying about where he was, and possibly planning his escape.

He is now allowed escorted absences during the week for work.

"We cannot will not allow such matters to unfold in our communities and when somebody goes away for life they are away for life," he said.

Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe Liberal MP Brian Murphy is also supporting the fight to keep Mailloux from getting unescorted passes.

Appearance would be 'inappropriate'

Ed Ratushny, a law professor at the University of Ottawa, said Murphy shouldn't get involved in individual cases.

The law professor said the parole board is a quasi-judicial body, and it would be "inappropriate" for the province's top lawyer to appear to be using that office to influence their decisions.

"There's danger that these kind of things, when someone gets involved in it, it looks as though they're trying to show that they're tough on crime and that sort of thing," Ratushny said.

"And it's more of a political than an official approach to things, and that could be very unfortunate."

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