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Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Better treatment and monitoring needed for pedophiles: Whitmore lawyer

The kidnap and rape of two Prairie boys by convicted pedophile Peter Whitmore (right) may have been prevented by better treatment and monitoring of sex offenders, . Mr Brodsky is urging the PM to call an inquiry into the case; he says the government is not doing enough to prevent pedophiles from re-offending.

. In exchange for a guilty plea, the Crown would not seek dangerous offender status. He has been sentenced to life in prison.

, just after Mr Whitmore was arrested following the abduction of the two boys. He told me Mr Whitmore is a sick man who has absolutely no insight into his behaviour. The lawyer, who has represented the repeat offender several times, was disdainful about the way mentally ill criminals are handled by Correctional services: "Seventy percent of inmates have a mental illness," he said. "Almost none of them are getting treatment."

He adds that the convicts themselves - including Peter Whitmore - generally don't want to go to hospital:

"In the penitentiary, you're allowed to work, have recreation, conjugal visits - and not required to have any treatment. If he doesn't cause a problem, he'll be moved to lower security. In the penitentiary, he'll have rights. In a hospital, he'll have privileges."
This usually involves administration of the birth control drug Depo-Provera to inhibit the testicles from producing testosterone. The treatment has not been proved to prevent sexual offender recidivism.

Photo: RCMP

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  1. February 24, 2008

    Our ineffective tracking system effectively gives pedophiles in sheep's clothing free rein to re-offend


    When Peter Whitmore's reign of abuse came to its most recent end, and one of Toronto's more notorious pedophiles was committed to a prison in Saskatchewan, his lawyer wrote the Prime Minister of Canada calling for a public inquiry into the lax tracking of high-risk offenders.

    That letter went out in August of last year.

    Lawyer Daniel Brodsky then waited for an official response that went beyond the simple slough-off that his letter would be forwarded to Justice Minister Bob Nicholson.

    And he waited, and he waited, and he waited.

    A month before Brodsky dashed off his letter, Saskatchewan's Crown prosecutors had managed to secure a plea-bargained life sentence for Whitmore, a serial child molester with a history of abuse that has seen all too many headlines come and go.

    Critics at the time were quick to condemn authorities for not seeking a dangerous offender designation for Whitmore, a chronic predator who had quickly embraced the deal on the 15 charges he faced in the kidnapping and rape of two young boys, one from Manitoba and one from Saskatchewan, both who are now arguably scarred for life.


    But those critics missed their mark.

    What the Crown prosecutors really managed to do by securing a guilty plea from Whitmore, other than get him locked up for years to come, was to dodge an embarrassing accounting of why Peter Whitmore was freely wandering this country in the first place -- not only as an unsupervised predator, but with the tracking of his whereabouts on absolutely no one's to-do list.

    The system had effectively given a wolf his sheep's clothing.

    Despite being one of the most infamous pedophiles in Canada, with an infamy that led to him being literally run out of Toronto eight years ago, Peter Whitmore was nonetheless allowed by the system to once again become out of sight and out of mind, and therefore faceless and virtually anonymous -- the perfect pedophile disguise.

    The Saskatchewan Crown prosecutors' office had said the deal was offered to Whitmore in "the best interest of public safety."

    In truth, however, they were dodging accountability.

    And that, basically, is what Brodsky underlined in his letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, challenging his government to conduct what would amount to an autopsy into its own inability to protect the public from the Whitmores among it.

    "For the victims, their families and the community at large, the Peter Whitmore case will not be over until the serious, lingering questions are answered, and preventative measures put into practice," Brodsky wrote in his letter to Harper.

    "On that day, only then should you feel comfortable letting your own children go for a walk or a bicycle ride anywhere in Canada without wondering if they are targets of the next sexually-violent predator."

    Shortly after Whitmore's arrest, and during the time Saskatchewan authorities were throwing up roadblocks to impede Brodsky's representation of Whitmore, Brodsky was already putting the blame where the blame was reasonably deserved.

    "To put it bluntly, we don't supervise people very well," Brodsky told me back then. "That has to change. Someone has to wake up and pay attention. The system that should have been watching him has to be put on trial here, too. But no one wants to hear that."

    Recidivist pedophile Peter Whitmore, in fact, was unsupervised and free to associate with children for a full 45 days before the RCMP issued a Canada-wide warrant for his arrest on the abduction of the two boys.

    A court-ordered peace bond, which banned him from any contact with children, had already expired.

    And no one thought to have it renewed.

    As Brodsky rightly asked, "If you know the guy's a pedophile (and) you know he won't commit offences if he's closely supervised and treated, why in the world would you just let him go and leave him to his own devices?"

    In his letter to the prime minister, Brodsky suggested the immediate appointment of a commissioner with the mandate to question what changes are needed in law to truly protect our children, and "especially the practice relating to the assessment, treatment and management of high-risk, high-needs offenders," and then make the recommendations necessary to seal the deal.


    "The government no longer has the capacity to protect its citizens from high-risk, high-needs offenders," he wrote. "The trial and sentencing of Peter Whitmore certainly left that public consensus in its wake.

    "Never in Canadian history has public confidence in the post-trial system in place to treat, monitor, supervise and therefore protect the public from high-risk, high-need offenders been so low," he said, indicating that the time could never be more right for a public inquiry.

    A few days ago, some six months after Brodsky posted his letter to the prime minister, Justice Minister Bob Nicholson finally got back to him.

    "I regret the lengthy delay in responding," he wrote, and then he went on to cite the reasons why a public inquiry "would not be productive."

    He claimed Bill C-2, the Tackling Violent Crime Act now before the Senate, proposes a "more consistent use" of dangerous offender (DO) applications, aided and abetted by a requirement by the Crown to tell the court whether they have "fully considered" taking the DO route in prosecuting high-risk offenders.

    To encourage this, wrote Nicholson, there will be a third-strike aspect brought into play, namely that any offender with a third incident involving a "serious violent or sexual conviction" will be "presumed" to meet the DO criteria.

    Nicholson also said the bill would impose stricter peace bond conditions on the next potential Whitmore of the world, including "establishment of residency and curfew restrictions, treatment orders, drug-and-alcohol prohibitions, and electronic monitoring."

    And, in closing, the justice minister claimed his government has already enhanced funding to the National Flagging System," which he called a "formal network of justice officials, prosecutor and police who monitor high-risk offenders in the community, to contribute to appropriate sentencing and monitoring."


    There was absolutely no mention, however, of accountability in the system, and how the collapse of that accountability allowed the likes of Peter Whitmore -- notorious in every sense of the word -- to casually disappear off of every radar screen, and re-begin doing what sexual predators do when everyone is no longer watching or caring.

    Daniel Brodsky summed up the lack of answers well.

    "The last thing we need is more legislation," he said. "The vexing problem of public protection would best be served if the justice minister heard from a wide spectrum of people working at the grass roots level with high-risk, high-needs offenders so that informed decisions based on hard facts can be made.

    "That's what we need, not well-meaning hypotheses."


    From: Ministerial Correspondence Unit [mailto:MCU@JUSTICE.GC.CA] On Behalf Of Ministerial Correspondence Unit - Mailout

    Sent: February 6, 2008 8:00 AM

    To: Daniel Brodsky

    Subject: Correspondence from the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

    Dear Mr. Brodsky:

    The office of the Prime Minister has forwarded to me a copy of your correspondence regarding your concerns about the sentencing and supervision of high-risk violent offenders such as your client Mr. Peter Whitmore. I regret the lengthy delay in responding.

    I appreciate your concerns. I would, however, like to note that Mr. Whitmore was sentenced prior to the coming-into-force of the changes, in 1997, to the Dangerous Offender (DO) provisions, establishing the Long-Term Offender (LTO) sentencing option. As you know, this provision allowed for a court, upon conviction of a serious personal-injury offence, to impose up to ten years of intensive community supervision once such an offender is released into the community.

    While our Government believes that the 1997 reforms were an important step in improving public safety, we also recognized that problems still exist in the sentencing and management of the highest-risk violent and sexual offenders. In this regard, on October 18, 2007, I tabled Bill C-2, the Tackling Violent Crime Act, proposing significant changes to the current DO and the peace bond provisions under sections 810.1 and 810.2 of the Criminal Code. Bill C-2 was passed by the House of Commons and is currently before the Senate for consideration.

    The DO provisions will be tightened in a number of ways. First, to ensure more consistent use of this sentencing option in appropriate cases, Crown prosecutors will be required to inform the court whether or not they have fully considered and intend to pursue a DO designation under Part XXIV of the Criminal Code.

    Second, to encourage more consistent sentencing under Part XXIV of the Code, offenders with a third sufficiently serious violent or sexual conviction will be presumed to meet the DO criteria.

    Third, the sentencing criterion has been clarified to ensure more consistent determination of an indeterminate versus determinate LTO sentence.

    Fourth, individuals found to meet the DO criteria but given a determinate sentence with a LTO designation can be brought back for a hearing, under Part XXIV of the Code, if they are convicted of a breach of any condition of the Long-term Supervision Order. This last change will ensure that individuals who meet the DO criteria but did not receive an indeterminate sentence in the first instance will quickly be reined in if they demonstrate by their conduct that they cannot be successfully managed in the community.

    The amendments to the peace bond provisions under sections 810.1 and 810.2 of the Criminal Code will clarify that a court may impose strict conditions on individuals likely to commit violent or sexual offences, including establishment of residency and curfew conditions, treatment orders, drug/alcohol prohibitions, and electronic monitoring. Of particular significance to cases such as Mr. Whitmore’s, these instruments, currently limited to a twelve-month duration, could be doubled to 24 months.

    Our Government has also enhanced funding to the National Flagging System, a formal network of justice officials, prosecutors, and police that monitor high-risk offenders in the community, to contribute to appropriate sentencing and management.

    I understand your concerns about your client’s case but, for the reasons above, I do not believe that a public inquiry into this matter would be productive.

    I appreciate having had your correspondence brought to my attention.

    Yours truly,

    The Honourable Rob Nicholson


    -----Original Message-----

    From: Prime Minister/Premier ministre []

    Sent: Mon 13/08/2007 8:42 AM

    To: Daniel Brodsky

    Cc: Robert Nicholson

    Subject: Office of the Prime Minister / Cabinet du Premier ministre

    August 13, 2007

    Mr. Daniel Brodksy

    Dear Mr. Brodsky:

    I would like to thank you for your e-mail of July 30 regarding the justice system in Canada.

    As the matter discussed in your e-mail falls within the responsibilities of the Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., M.P., Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, I have taken the liberty of forwarding your correspondence to the Minister. I am confident that your comments will be carefully considered by the department.

    Once again, thank you for taking the time to write.


    Salpie Stepanian

    Assistant to the Prime Minister

    cc: Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., M.P., Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada



    The Whitewood Herald - Saskatchewan's Oldest Continuing Newspaper

    What a life sentence will do for Whitmore

    By Daniel J. Brodsky

    Date: August 13th, 2007

    Dear Editor,

    There is no sentence a judge could impose that would fully assuage the feelings of the victims, their families and the community at large in Peter Whitmore's case. Every pedophile leaves, in his or her wake, varying amounts of sorrow, grief, anger, fear and frustration. In all cases, young lives are shattered or ruined and families are devastated and torn apart. I suppose it's a normal sentiment to wish the perpetrator is locked up forever, tortured, and even killed.

    The result in Peter Whitmore’s case is fabulous because at least with a life sentence Peter will have access to some proper programming, and isn't that really the whole point?

    You hear language like this used all the time: ‘pedophilia is generally thought of as an incurable mental disorder.’ However, technically "cure" is a medical term used to describe the successful treatment of a condition which has the following features: the "condition" must be a disease (defined as a collection of signs and symptoms caused by a known or presumed pathophysiologic abnormality) and the "treatment" must correct the disease. An example of a cure in general medicine would be treatment of a fractured leg resulting in a reunion of the bone; or administration of an antibiotic which kills the bacterium causing pneumonia. Note: In both cases, "cure" says nothing about whether the person may break another leg or get pneumonia again! Most broken legs mend and most bacterial pneumonias respond to treatment. However, the fact that not everyone responds to treatment does not mean the condition must be described as "incurable".

    We don't refuse to treat cancer patients because there is no cure. In the cancer field, the oncologist uses the phrase "no evidence of disease" even though many cancers are in fact curable. If courts or tribunals were to adopt the oncology approach, I think it is fair to say that in many cases of men with disorders such as pedophilia, treatment results in "no evidence of disease" i.e. the patient reports no pedophilic fantasies or behaviors; response patterns are normal on phallometric tests; he has no contact with children and does not miss it. In that case, he would not meet any of the criteria for pedophilia and "shows no evidence of the disease".

    In psychiatry there certainly are conditions that can be cured; they are typically the ones with known organic causes and time-limited courses (e.g. Delirium, adjustment disorder(s) or a brief psychotic disorder). There are almost 400 psychiatric conditions listed in the DSM IV tr. It is a popular myth that there is a “cure” for most of them.

    The American Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) laws are Civil (not Criminal) Mental Health enactments. It is interesting to observe that in the United States sexually violent predators are diverted from the criminal justice systems to the state mental health regimes. SVPs are not criminalised. So the Americans don't turn sexually violent predators away from psychiatric hospitals. Why do we?

    Daniel J. Brodsky

    Criminal Defence Lawyer


    >>> From : Daniel Brodsky Received : 30 Jul 2007 01:07:37 PM >>>

    DANIEL J. BRODSKY, B.A., LL.B. B a r r i s t e r

    11 Prince Arthur Avenue

    Toronto, Ontario

    M5R 1B2

    tel: (416) 964-2618 .

    fax: (416) 964-8305

    July 30, 2007

    The Right Hon. Stephen J. Harper,

    Prime Minister of Canada

    Office of the Prime Minister

    80 Wellington Street


    K1A 0A2

    Dear Sir:

    This Government no longer has the capacity to protect its citizens from high-risk, high-needs offenders nor does it presently meet the assessment, treatment and management needs of the said group of offenders. The trial and sentencing of Peter Whitmore certainly left that public consensus in its wake.

    Never in Canadian history has public confidence in the post-trial system in place to treat, monitor, supervise and therefore protect the public from high-risk, high-needs offenders been so low.

    Accordingly, it is right for a public inquiry to be set up to bring to light, in an impartial and in an independent way, those facts that are necessary to assess what went wrong and what to do about it in aid of restoring public confidence in this Government's ability to maintain a peaceful and safe society and protect the public by identifying and managing high-risk, high-needs offenders on both sides of the prison-community interface.

    For the victims, their families and the community at large, the Peter Whitmore case will not over until the serious lingering questions are answered and preventative measures are put into practice as a result. On that day, you should feel comfortable letting your own children go for a walk or bicycle ride anywhere in Canada without wondering if they are targets of the next sexually violent predator.

    In my opinion, a Commissioner should immediately be appointed with the mandate to inquire into what changes, if any, should be made in the law and especially the practice relating to the assessment, treatment and management of high-risk, high-needs offenders and make such recommendations as it considers advisable relating to the administration of criminal justice in Canada.


    Daniel J. Brodsky,

    Counsel for Peter Whitmore

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