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Petition initiated by murder victim's family targets young offenders

The family of murdered teen Kimberly Proctor is seeking signatures on a petition asking for changes to the way justice is handed down in Canada to young offenders convicted of serious crimes.

Kimberly’s Law, developed by the family with the help of Victoria lawyer Troy DeSouza, is being lobbied to provincial governments as well as the federal government.

“We need to prevent crimes like this from happening, provide services for our troubled youth and impose proper sentencing for extreme crimes committed by young offenders,” wrote Jo-Anne Landolt, Kimberly Proctor’s aunt, in a letter to media.

The family is appealing to all provincial governments and the feds to make changes. The petitions request the following:

Provincial

• Mandatory counselling and treatment for youth assessed as potential threats

• Hold parents civilly liable for the actions of their children, to a maximum fine of $25,000

Federal

• Automatic adult court proceedings for youth aged 16 or older accused of first- or second-degree murder

• Removal of publication bans upon guilty plea

• Sentence those convicted as adults, using adult parole criteria

• Keep youth charged with murder separate from other young people in correctional facilities.

NDP Juan de Fuca MLA John Horgan and Liberal MLA Jane Thornthwaite will present the petition in a non-partisan way to the B.C. legislature May 14.

“It’s about making sure a horrific event in our community does not go by without efforts by all of us to change our community so this doesn’t happen again,” Horgan said. “I’m just available for the Proctors to help in any way I can.”

He particularly supports funding for early intervention to identify and help troubled youth.

Horgan isn’t convinced holding parents accountable would stand up to a charter challenge, but said it’s important to address the general issues with government. And while technicalities surrounding petitions can cause them to be rejected, the ideas and level of support will still get across, he said.

“My hope is that when we present these petitions, that’s the first step in a dialogue with government. We want to demonstrate to the legislature and the people of B.C. that a whole bunch of folks think this is an important issue. I’m confident we’ll be able to do it.”

To view the petition visit kimberlyslaw.com.

kwells@goldstreamgazette.com

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