Bret McCann has teamed up with local St. Albert-Edmonton MP and Conservative deputy justice critic Michael Cooper to call for changes to the Criminal Code.
They want to remove sections of the code that are no longer enforced, but have not yet been formally repealed.
Following the televised verdict of the Travis Vader trial, McCann gathered with friends and relatives at his St. Albert home to celebrate the end of a marathon judicial process rife with complications. This includes two years of investigations to a stay of proceedings in 2014 to an abuse of process trial in 2015. Vader has been convicted in the deaths of Lyle and Marie McCann, but their bodies have never been found. A hearing continues this week to determine his sentence.
McCann was glad to be off the seemingly never-ending “legal rollercoaster” that began the day his parents went missing from their motorhome while on a trip to B.C. in July of 2010.
The feeling didn’t last long. Relief was soon replaced with more pain and consternation, as it became clear through social media that there was an error in the judgment.
Twitter was abuzz almost as soon as the words lefts Justice Denny Thomas’ mouth: he had used an obsolete section of the Criminal Code to convict Vader of second-degree murder.
“Does this mean a mistrial? Is this it? Is this the end of it?” thought McCann upon hearing the news that Section 230 had been deemed unconstitutional over two decades earlier.
“The possibility that he (Vader) may be free after finding out he had killed my parents was just devastating,” he told a group of reporters Sunday afternoon, during a press conference at the St. Albert Inn.
Cooper is asking Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould to immediately undertake a review of the Criminal Code to purge it from obsolete laws such as Section 230, which caused the McCanns and their friends so much grief.
Parliament has not undertaken a revision of the Criminal Code since 1985. The lack of housekeeping has resulted in a document littered with “zombie laws”, which are no longer enforced but still on the books.
“These inoperable sections of the Criminal Code are booby traps for the unwitting,” said Cooper, “with the potential for very serious consequences, including mistrials, appeals, costs, delays and miscarriages of justice.”
Cooper, along with other members of the standing committee on Justice and Human Rights, sent a letter to Minister Wilson-Raybould asking for the removal of these outdated and unconstitutional sections of the code two months ago.
The Minister has yet to acknowledge the correspondence said Cooper.