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“Preventable crime”

Article by: By JOE WARMINGTON
– It should not have happened.
Saying last week’s double stabbing murder of two innocent women in their Scarborough home was “preventable,” Chief Bill Blair yesterday called on the courts to protect society in the future by not granting house arrest or soft bail to “violent” suspects.
Sadly nothing can help Saramma Varughese, 75, and Susan John, 43, who were murdered in their own home Oct. 13.
UNDER HOUSE ARREST
The man charged with first-degree murder was before the courts on two separate alleged violent sex attacks on women in the east end. He was under house arrest.
“I don’t think house arrest works for violent people,” he said in an interview, which you can see on torontosun.com.
“I don’t think violent people pay the least bit of attention to it.”
When such people don’t, it puts regular people and police officers in danger.
“Society needs to be protected from dangerous people and I know in my business there are dangerous people out there,” Blair said. “We all know their names.”
He said he’s also concerned about his own officers’ safety.
“Those are my cops,” he said. “They have to go out and deal with these people every day.”
And police don’t “ultimately have the resources to keep that individual under 24 hour surveillance,” he said.
“The best way to protect society is to keep them in secure custody.”
“Frustrating for a police officer,” is how he described the alleged facts of this case.
“That man should have been in custody,” said Blair. “We had him in custody. I think it’s very unfortunate.”
He called it “tragic” and the “loss of those two women to such horrific circumstances could have been and should have been prevented.”
Blair said he does not believe every person should be denied bail.
“I understand not everybody can be kept in jail,” he said.
“But when you release them, it has to be for people who don’t represent a significant danger to society.
“I think the court system is going to have to err on the side of public safety.” He is so right.
And his words on this tragedy will resonate with the court system across the land as a reminder of just how important each decision granting bail and house arrest, and setting conditions can be.
Now Blair also made it clear he was not beating up on a specific judge but speaking about the big picture.
“I am sure the person responsible for releasing that individual must be doing a great deal of soul-searching about the decision that was made,” he said.
“I think that was a preventable crime.”
BEFORE THE COURTS
The “person responsible” he mentions is well-respected Madame Justice Donna Hackett, and the “individual” is one 31-year-old Nathaniel O’Brien who was before the courts on two separate sexual assault involving violence charges but was released to his parents by Hackett and placed under house arrest with conditions.
Speaking after a news conference to introduce the Pixels for Pistols, a cameras-for-guns amnesty program I’ll address in my Saturday column, Blair said he’s not interested in piling on a “good” judge who had certain facts in front of her and “who already feels bad enough.”
But he said he speaks about this case solely in the interest of future public safety.
“There shouldn’t be any question that our first priority is to protect society from dangerous people and when we have got them, and we have evidence to prove they’re dangerous, they should be kept in custody.”
Blair, who does not see any benefits for a public inquiry, questioned the practice of granting a second bail to those who breached their original bail.
“We arrest somebody (with) illegal possession of a loaded gun on multiple prohibitions from having a gun,” Blair cited.
“Frankly, if the first one didn’t work, what’s the he point of having four more (prohibitions)? At some point in time we have to say enough is enough.”
For Chief Blair that time is now.