The girl and her boyfriend, who is now 18, are both
charged with first-degree murder in the death of Ms.
The 14-year-old was apparently the very first
girlfriend of the young man.
But where he is alleged to have been the person
who actually lured Stefanie out of her east-end
Toronto home with a telephone call, stabbed her six
times and left her bleeding to death in the snow,
the girl, who wasn't present at the time Stefanie
died, is alleged to have "actively encouraged" him
to do it.
By law, anyone who encourages someone else to
commit first-degree murder, intending that he carry
out the crime, is guilty of the same offence as a
"It is apparent that the motive for this murder
was senseless jealousy on the part of [the girl],"
Judge McCombs said yesterday in his ruling.
"It engendered a hatred so vile that she wanted
the object of her jealousy, an innocent adolescent,
dead. And she used [the young man] as an instrument
of her hatred, by manipulating him and persistently
encouraging him to carry out a planned and
deliberate murder ..."
Under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, neither
teen can be identified by name.
But the girl's lawyer, Marshall Sack, didn't ask
Judge McCombs for the additional usual publication
ban, mandatory under Section 517 of the Criminal
Code if the accused seeks it.
In fact, Mr. Sack told the judge that since his
reason for denying the girl bail is to preserve the
public's confidence in the administration of
justice, it follows naturally that the public also
has the right to know why he came to that
In the result, The Globe and Mail and other media
may publish the judge's reasons, including his
characterizations of the allegations against the
girl and other details from the bail hearing last
Only the specific evidence Toronto Police has
gathered against the girl, part of a synopsis that
Crown attorney Robin Flumerfelt previously read into
the record, is banned.
In his ruling, Judge McCombs found that this
evidence - which includes cellphone and computer
records showing the girl "was in constant
communication" with her boyfriend both the night
before and the evening of Stefanie's death,
"actively encouraging him to carry out the murder"
from the bedroom where her parents believed she was
planning her "sweet 16" birthday party and watching
TV - was sufficient to conclude that "This appears
to be a very strong case."
The apparent strength of the prosecutor's case,
as well as the gravity of the offence, the
circumstances surrounding its commission and the
potential for a lengthy term of imprisonment are
factors that must be present for a judge to deny
bail on public confidence grounds.
These are the so-called "tertiary" grounds on
which an accused can be detained in custody.
The primary and secondary reasons for detention
are respectively to ensure the accused will turn up
for court appearances or for the protection or
safety of the public. Judge McCombs found that the
girl would attend court as directed and that she
wasn't a danger.
The girl's parents both testified on her behalf
at last week's hearing and were, as the judge noted,
"willing to pledge their entire equity [in their
home] of over $200,000."
Moreover he said, "I was very favourably
impressed by both of them. They are clearly
committed and loving parents. They are also
responsible and hard-working ... I have no doubt
that if bail were to be granted, they would be
responsible sureties, that they would do their
utmost to ensure compliance with any bail conditions
that might be imposed" and even "notify the
authorities if their daughter were to fail or refuse
to comply" with any court rules.
He also described the parents as "candid and
realistic" in their testimony and the watchful
supervision of their daughter they promised.
The girl herself, the judge said, is "an
outstanding student" in Grade 10 with a 90-per-cent
average and "universally positive" evaluations from
her teachers. Her education at a secure youth
detention centre, Judge McCombs said, would not be
"anything approaching the level of schooling she was
receiving prior to her arrest."
But, noting that Stefanie's "senseless killing
and the subsequent arrest of two teenagers for
first-degree murder have generated nation-wide media
attention," the judge said, "this was a particularly
heinous crime. It has shocked the conscience of
right-thinking people across the country.
"I have concluded this is one of those rare cases
where detention is justified ... and necessary in
order to maintain confidence in the administration
If convicted of first-degree murder, a judge
would have to decide whether the girl should be
sentenced as an adult or as a young person. The
mandatory sentence for a youth sentenced as an adult
is life in prison without eligibility for parole for
10 years, while for a youth sentenced as a young
person, the maximum sentence is six years in custody
followed by four years of supervision.