Murder victim’s family wants answers from parole board

SHERBROOKE, QUE. – The family of Julie Boisvenu wants to know why her killer was paroled despite a rape conviction.

Parole board decisions in the rest of Canada are public record, while Quebec’s access to information laws prevent open access to inmate files

Boisvenu’s father says he can’t understand why Hugo Bernier was released.

In 1999, Bernier was convicted on rape charges in Gaspé and sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Even though the presiding judge said Bernier was dangerous and likely to reoffend, the criminal was paroled three months into the sentence.

Two years later, Bernier raped and murdered Julie Boisvenu in Sherbrooke, Que.

Boisvenu says the parole board won’t give him an explanation.

“If we are victims, why do we have to fight again to know what happened in Julie’s case? That kind of information should be public,” says Boisvenu.

Quebec’s access to information laws prevent open access to inmates’ files, says David Sultan, vice president of the Quebec Parole Board.

Sultan says it’s a different story in the rest of Canada.

“If you make a request in the federal parole board, they will send you the decisions, the conditions, and everything else that has to do with the inmate. It’s night and day,” he says, describing the difference between the federal and provincial systems.

The Quebec Parole Board recommended the province loosen its access laws, Sultan says.

He says the decision is in the hands of the public security minister.

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