Article by: Canadian Resourse Center for Victims of Crime
– Brian Riches is a 33-year-old violent offender on parole. In 1998, he attacked his victim with a hammer, striking him over 30 times in the head, back, and arms. As noted by the Parole Board, substance abuse was a significant contributing factor in his criminal behaviour, and as such, one of the conditions of his release was that he abstain from all intoxicants. In the last calendar year he has twice been suspended for violating this condition when periodic urinalysis came back positive for intoxicants.
At the recent hearing to determine if Riches should be permitted to resume his release, Riches claimed he uses marijuana regularly to ?chill out?, and attempted to minimize the significance of this fact by stating that he does not believe this to be a problem. The Board did not address the fact that another condition, requiring Riches to avoid any contact with criminals, may have been breached to obtain the marijuana. Finally, the fact that Riches? urine had tested positive for cocaine in May was discussed. Riches minimized this clear violation of his parole suggesting that his marijuana must have been laced with cocaine.
Riches admitted at the hearing that he will likely continue to use illegal drugs despite his conditions and despite the law. The Board noted that substance abuse was a significant contributing factor in his criminal behaviour. And yet the Board cancelled his suspension and released him again. Given this offender?s violent history and his problems with drugs, we question why the NPB did for not take the violations of both his conditions and the law more seriously, and why they would release a man, who they say is at higher risk if he is using drugs and who admits he will continue to use drugs.
NOTE ? Riches? conditional release has been suspended again.