Is convicted killer Karla Homolka legally allowed to volunteer in schools?
She served 12 years in jail for the kidnapping, rape and murder of two Ontario schoolgirls, Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French.
Homolka now lives in Montreal’s south shore with her husband and three children.
“I do believe that she represents a threat to public safety,” Tim Danson, French and Mahaffy’s family lawyer told Global News.
“Karla Homolka got away with murder. She should be in prison with Paul Bernardo and should be a serving a life sentence with him.”
So, what are Homolka’s rights after serving her sentence?
Defense attorney Eric Sutton explains that, as a parent at the school, Homolka has the right to meet with teachers and pick up her child at the end of the day.
However, the school has complete discretion to decide who can volunteer with them.
Sutton told Global News he believes it would have been within their rights to turn her away.
Even if a person has a criminal record, the Quebec Charter protects their right to volunteer and work once they’ve served their time in prison.
The only situation in which that right is limited is when the volunteer’s work relates to the offense committed.
Sutton notes that Homolka’s offense of manslaughter is not related to her volunteer work.
However, he explains that there is a grey area in the law.
“The crime she committed wasn’t in a school setting,” Sutton told Global News.
“However, it’s hard to deny that there isn’t some connection that could give the school the right to say ‘we don’t want you to volunteer for us.'”
On the other hand, he says that her victims were young, so one could argue that there is a connection.
“I’m not convinced that, if the school decided to terminate the relationship, that she would have any recourse,” Sutton precised.
Canadian Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale places the responsibility on the school.
“Our role is to make sure that the appropriate background checks are made available, that this information is provided to the employer,” Goodale said.
“It is the employer’s responsibility to make that decision, but it needs to be an informed decision.”
Sutton says parents could possibly request an injunction, asking that Homolka not be allowed to volunteer at the school.
Otherwise, he notes parents retain the right to remove their child from the school if they feel there is a risk to their security.
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