Justice system must address how killer slipped through cracks, advocate says

Now that Basil Borutski has been found guilty of murdering three of his former partners, it's time for the justice system to talk publicly about how he fell through the cracks, says the director of the Women's Sexual Assault Centre of Renfrew County.

Basil Borutski found guilty Friday of murdering 3 former partners

Basil Borutski was found guilty Friday of murdering three of his former partners — Carol Culleton, Anastasia Kuzyk and Nathalie Warmerdam — on the morning of Sept. 22, 2015.

Now that Basil Borutski has been found guilty of murdering three of his former partners, it's time for the justice system to address how he fell through the cracks, says the director of the Women's Sexual Assault Centre of Renfrew County.

"I think a piece of the puzzle that's missing is that we haven't really heard, in a public format, from the justice system about, how was he held accountable?" JoAnne Brooks said in an interview with CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning on Monday.

Brooks called for a deeper examination of the case by the system in order to answer some key questions.

"How do we change the law? What is the threshold for determining a dangerous offender?" she said. "But those wheels of justice take a long time to change.

Borutski had a lengthy criminal history. He was convicted of threatening to hurt victim Nathalie Warmerdam's son and kill their dog in 2012. Borutski was actually on probation for those offences when he assaulted murder victim Anastasia Kuzyk in 2013.

He was on probation for the offences against Kuzyk when he murdered her, Warmerdam and Carol Culleton on Sept. 22, 2015.

Roundtable on violence

"I think that there is really a cry perhaps for [Ontario's] Roundtable on Violence Against Women to begin to really actively look at this case in particular, and rural women's situations also, to make change and advocate for change and accountability."

Borutski was convicted Friday in Ottawa and his sentencing hearing is scheduled to take place Dec. 5 and 6 at the courthouse in Pembroke, Ont.

Dec. 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, which was created to commemorate the anniversary of the École Polytechnique massacre that left 14 women dead in 1989.

At an event in May at the Human Rights Monument on Elgin Street, not far from the Ottawa courthouse, JoAnne Brooks said the deaths of Nathalie Warmerdam, Anastasia Kuzyk and Carol Culleton 'rocked us all to the core.' (Elyse Skura/CBC)

Brooks plans to attend Borutski's sentencing. That same day, her organization will hold events at the Pembroke courthouse, at the Renfrew County Women's Monument in Petawawa and at the library in Eganville, Ont.

Throughout the county there's been "a wide range" of reactions to the verdict, Brooks said. There's a sense of relief, but also "some sadness" at the second-degree murder finding in Culleton's strangling.

"There's definitely a sense that, how can things be better? So, looking at increased public education and awareness about what is violence against women, what is stalking, what is harassment, so that there is a general awareness and ... a friend's family might be able to speak up sooner and reach out for help and support."

CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning