Video: Global News has learned the federal government will introduce legislation aimed at toughening sentences for sex offenders who assault children. Jacques Bourbeau reports.
OTTAWA – The Harper government plans to introduce legislation Wednesday to require those convicted of sexual offences against multiple children to serve consecutive sentences, Global News has learned.
Right now those convicted of offences against multiple children serve their sentences concurrently – all at once, not one per victim.
The legislation likely means child sex offenders will go to prison for longer.
“Our government will announce tougher measures to better protect our children from violent child predators, to ensure our justice system is more responsive to the needs of victims and their families,” said a government source.
The announcement, to be made by Justice Minister Peter MacKay and Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney, builds on a promise made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper last summer.
“Sadly there are truly evil people out there. The fact is we don’t understand them and we don’t particularly care to. We understand only that they must be dealt with,” Harper said at an August event in Toronto.
“To protect our children we must create a justice system that is more responsive to victims and especially more responsive to children and to the families of children who have been victimized by sexual predators.”
WATCH: Is having a publicly-accessible registry of sex offenders a good tool for responsible parents, or does it encourage fear-mongering and vigilante justice?
The Conservative government has brought in a number of mandatory minimum sentences over the years, raising concerns about overcrowding and violence in the country’s prisons.
Harper gave the example of Gordon Stuckless, a 64-year-old former usher at Maple Leaf Gardens originally convicted in 1997 for sexually assaulting on 24 boys while he worked at the Toronto hockey arena between 1969 and 1988.
The prime minister pointed out that Stuckless was originally sentenced to two years less a day, a sentence followed by the suicide of Martin Kruze, the victim who brought the sex abuse scandal to light.
Stuckless’ sentence was later increased to five years and he was out on parole in 2001 after serving two-thirds of it.
Harper vowed to introduce the legislation in the fall, and later prorogued Parliament until October.
With files from the Canadian Press
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