Olson gets parole hearing
Serial killer Clifford Olson to appear before parole board next week
Paul Cherry, The Montreal Gazette
Published: Monday, July 10, 2006
Clifford Olson, Canada’s most notorious serial killer, will have his first chance at parole next week.
While Olson murdered 11 children and young adults in British Columbia, the National Parole Board will conduct the hearing, scheduled for July 18, at the special handling unit, a super-maximum security penitentiary in Ste. Anne des Plaines, about 30 kilometres north of Montreal where Olson is being held.
Olson, 66, is eligible for full parole in August, when his life sentence reaches the 25-year mark. When an inmate serving a life sentence has been in prison 25 years, the parole board is required by law to review their chances at full parole and render a decision.
An inmate can waive their right to a hearing but Olson has not.
During a typical parole hearing, commissioners are presented with reports detailing the crimes that were committed, an inmate’s behaviour while incarcerated and any psychological or psychiatric assessments. The commissioners will also be provided with a recommendation from Correctional Service Canada.
In Olson’s case members of the most of the families of victims have already said they plan to file impact statements to the board. Olson killed 11 people between the ages of 9 and 18 between 1980 and 1981.
During a hearing the inmate, or their lawyer, is allowed to speak, if they wish. Given Olson’s past propensity to grandstand he may seize the opportunity.
In 1997, he applied for a chance at early parole through the “faint hope” clause, which at that time gave serial killers at chance at a release after serving only 15 years.
During a hearing held in B.C.’s Supreme Court, Olson made a rambling statement to jurors that included unsubstantiated claims that he had killed more people. One of his own expert witnesses described him as being devoid of a conscience.
It took a juror 15 minutes of deliberation to decide to deny him any chance at an early release.
Ottawa later amended the faint-hope clause to exclude serial killers from applying.