The son of slain St. Albert seniors Lyle and Marie McCann is once again urging the federal government to get rid of an outdated section of the Criminal Code.
“On Sept. 15, 2016, Justice Denny Thomas convicted Travis Vader of second-degree murder for causing the death of my parents,” Bret McCann said in a statement Wednesday. “But, it was soon determined that an obsolete portion of the Criminal Code has been used by Justice Thomas. This error was later corrected on Oct. 31 and the verdict was reduced to manslaughter.
“The consternation and pain endured by my family because of this so-called zombie law was enormous.
“While this seemed unbelievable at the time, I have since learned that there are many sections of the Criminal Code which are obsolete and/or have been deemed unconstitutional.”
Section 230 was used by the judge when he convicted Vader of second-degree murder in the 2010 deaths of the McCanns. That section looks at “murder in commission of offences,” meaning that a murder was committed while committing or attempting to commit another criminal offence under the Criminal Code — including robbery.
However, portions of Section 230 were ruled unconstitutional more than 25 years ago.
Nearly one year ago, McCann and Conservative MP for St. Albert-Edmonton Michael Cooper held a news conference pushing the government to make changes to remove inoperative and unconstitutional sections of the Criminal Code.
Now, they’re speaking out again, frustrated the so-called zombie laws still exist. They say it’s been seven months since the Liberals introduced Bill C-39, and have failed to move the bill past first reading.
“What happened in the McCann case should never have happened,” Cooper said.
“The only way to prevent it from happening again is to remove unconstitutional and inoperative sections of the Criminal Code.
“The lack of progress is inexcusable,” he added. “Bill C-39 is straightforward legislation. It isn’t controversial. There isn’t any real opposition to it. If the Liberals wanted to pass this Bill, they could very easily do so.”
Both McCann and Cooper said they don’t want to see something similar happen to another family.
“It is ludicrous that these booby traps are allowed to exist within the Criminal Code,” McCann said.
“The last time any section of the code was removed or repealed was decades ago, in the 1980s. It would seem just a matter of time before another judge is caught by a similar booby trap and another family is placed in a similar tragic situation.”
Global News has reached out to the justice department for a response. This article will be updated when we receive comment.
— With files from The Canadian Press and Nick Logan, Global News