Judge imposes tough restrictions
LuAnn LaSalle and Nelson Wyatt
Canadian Press

Friday, June 03, 2005

Canadian Press photographers managed to snap this photo of Karla Homolka as she was being driven to court today. (Credit: Canadian Press)
Canadian Press photographers managed to snap this photo of Karla Homolka as she was being driven to court today. (Credit: Canadian Press)
JOLIETTE, Que. (CP) -- Karla Homolka, Canada's most infamous female convict, grimaced tightly Friday when a judge told her she'd be forbidden from consorting with violent criminals as part of a range of restrictions upon her release from jail in about a month.
Homolka also raised her shoulders slightly when a Quebec judge told she can't contact her onetime partner in crime and ex-husband, Paul Bernardo, who's been declared a dangerous offender and is serving a life sentence for the sex slayings of two southern Ontario schoolgirls in the early 1990s.
Judge Jean Beaulieu also ordered Homolka to stay in touch with police about her whereabouts, avoid consorting with children under 16 and to stay away from her victims for at least a 12-month period.
The ruling came after an extraordinary two-day hearing that saw Homolka step into the public eye for the first time since 1995, when she testified against Bernardo at his first-degree murder trial in the deaths of Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy.
She is close to completing her full 12-year manslaughter sentence for her part in the crimes. Authorities will have to reapply to the court again in a year to have the restrictions placed upon her again under Section 810 of the Criminal Code.
News of restrictions, however short-term, was greeted with relief by the families of the victims, their lawyer said.
"They're very pleased with the decisions," Tim Danson said outside the courtroom.
Ontario officials were also delighted.
"Today Canada's justice system acted -- not reacted -- acted to prevent harm upon Homolka's release and to protect the public upon Homolka's release," Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant said in Toronto.
Homolka, 35, showed little emotion as Beaulieu told court that the Ontario Crown's fears that she might reoffend were reasonable before proceeding to read out restrictions that included a requirement that she undergo therapy and give police 96 hours' notice if she wants to leave Quebec.
She's also forbidden from consuming drugs other than prescription medication.
Homolka's lawyer, Sylvie Bordelais, said Homolka would respect the conditions, calling her an "obedient citizen."
"She never wanted to do anything wrong and she doesn't want to raise the animosity and fear or any bad feelings people might have regarding her," Bordelais said outside court.
"The only thing that she wanted was to see her family, to see her nephew and her niece ... that was her main concern."
Bordelais didn't say whether she planned to appeal the ruling.
The hearing in this community north of Montreal heard psychiatrists for Homolka portray her as a victim who was under the control of her violent and psychopathic husband during the abductions and sex slayings of French and Mahaffy.
The Crown argued that Homolka remains a serious public danger who should be kept under close surveillance when she is released in about a month.
But a psychiatrist who evaluated Homolka last month said Friday the schoolgirl killer is neither a psychopath nor a serious threat to reoffend.
Louis Morissette portrayed Homolka as a woman with low self-esteem who participated in violent sexual crimes because she was afraid of losing Bernardo.
"The experts mostly agree, if she hadn't met Bernardo, it would never have happened," Morissette told the hearing.
On Friday, Homolka, dressed in a charcoal-coloured blouse and grey pants, smiled a few times from the prisoner's dock but showed little other emotion as Morissette described her as a narcissist.
Morissette met Homolka twice last month and reviewed her entire psychological history.
"Is she dangerous in the short term? No. If you tell me is she is at risk to make a bad relationship choice and of doing something bad, that's her vulnerability. And she has to be followed."
Beaulieu, who did not intervene very often during the morning testimony, said his role is to protect society.
"Here we are in 2005 and she's come back to the same pattern," Beaulieu said. "She's back with a partner who is acting in the same style as the old one."
Beaulieu was referring to Homolka's relationship with Jean-Paul Gerbet, who is up for parole in 2008 for the murder of his girlfriend seven years ago.
Morissette played down reports of a sexual history between the two and testified that is not the story he was told.
"When you ask Madame Teale (Homolka), it was a kiss in the library that was seen by a guard."
Court heard Thursday that Homolka had a nude photo of Gerbet in her cell, as well as a pair of his underwear.
But Morissette said the photo was one that showed Gerbet naked from the waist up in a swimming pool. He added the two exchanged "clean underwear."
"Is this abnormal?" Morissette said. "That's the question."
Morissette said Homolka knows she can't have a relationship with Gerbet because he will be deported to his native France when he is released from prison.
The two exchanged letters as recently as two weeks ago.
"These are things that must be discussed," Morissette said. "She doesn't hide it. She discusses it."
In an afternoon exchange, the Crown cross-examined Morissette and brought up a 1996 counselling session in which Homolka described the kind of man she would like to meet.
"Mrs. Teale has established criteria selection for her next eventual partner," the document said. "She wishes to find a man who believes in the moral values of marriage, wants children, is loyal, is educated, loves his mother, has a good attitude toward women, doesn't have a history of abuse in his family, no criminal record, who is loved by her family and loves pets and, if possible, is good looking."
"This isn't a good description of Jean-Paul Gerbet."
In her closing arguments, Homolka's lawyer argued that her client's rights would be violated if restrictions were placed on her freedom.
"She's conscious of the fact that she does everything possible to never find herself in the situation she was in," said Bordelais, adding that Canadians should learn to understand she has changed and is no longer dangerous.
Homolka and Gerbet met at Ste-Anne-des-Plaines, a maximum-security institution north of Montreal during Homolka's stay there between 2001 and 2003. She had been transferred there after the publication of photos of her at a birthday party at the Joliette Institute sparked public outrage.
Morissette also told court Homolka had a lengthy lesbian relationship at Joliette.
Homolka has been incarcerated in Joliette, 75 kilometres north of Montreal, but there were unconfirmed reports Homolka did not return to the prison Thursday night and, instead, slept at Ste-Anne-des-Plaines.
On Friday, the president of the union representing prison guards in Quebec said Homolka was the target of death threats a few weeks ago.
"The information we received was that the inmate in question did receive death threats," said Sylvain Martel. "Corrections Canada set up additional security measures to protect prison guards at the Joliette Institute."
Martel said the threats came from outside the penitentiary.
Homolka's controversial plea bargain with the Crown was made before authorities learned of the horrific images of torture and rape caught on videotape and hidden in the couple's southern Ontario home -- tapes that also cast a different light on the woman who had portrayed herself as a battered wife.
 Canadian Press 2005