Basil Borutski’s refusal to sign probation order a ‘huge red flag,’ victims advocate says
Basil Borutski’s refusal to sign a probation order to stay away from one of the three women he allegedly killed earlier this week in separate Ontario communities should have been “a huge red flag” to authorities, according to an advocate for victims of crime.
He knew all three women. Their bodies were found in and around Wilno, Ont., a small town west of Ottawa, on Tuesday.
In September 2014, Borutski was sentenced to 19 months in jail for choking Kuzyk in a December 2013 incident. He was released on Dec. 27, 2014, after receiving credit for time served in custody prior to his sentencing.
Before his release, he had refused to sign an order to stay away from and not communicate with Kuzyk, according to court records.
Orders ‘most often’ signed, lawyer says
Heidi Illingworth, executive director of the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime, said Thursday that more should have been done to protect Kuzyk, Culleton and Warmerdam in light of the unsigned probation order, especially considering that the suspect had criminal histories with two of them, as well as other women he knew.
“I’m … amazed that he can get away with not signing it and that it doesn’t send off some red flags within the system to say, wait a minute, how is this person being let out early, first of all … and then is he going to comply with the conditions placed on him?” Illingworth said.
“It seems pretty obvious that he has little respect for them when he refuses to sign it.”
Trevor Brown, president of the Defence Counsel Association of Ottawa, said probation orders take effect immediately upon an offender’s release, regardless of whether the offender signs them, but that usually they are signed.
“Typically the defence lawyers aren’t there when the probation order is signed, though, from my experience, most often the probation orders are signed,” Brown said.
But while the orders take effect no matter what, Illingworth said an offender’s refusal to sign should be taken into account.
“To me, not signing this order is a huge red flag and there should be some sort of system that intervenes, whether it’s probation systems or the police themselves, to sign an [order to keep the peace] and to monitor him much more closely,” she said.
“When there is someone who has not admitted responsibility or is still holding on to anger, refuses to sign a simple probation order, there needs to be some sort of red flag that goes off to make sure that the people who need protection actually get it.”
Unknown if women were notified of Borutski’s release
In Ontario, victims of crime can register to receive automated phone messages alerting them to any change in a offender’s status in the provincial correctional system.
The Correctional Service of Canada also has a registration system for victims of crime to be notified about offenders in federal prisons.
The onus is on victims to register to receive updates because some victims do not want to be notified, Illingworth said.
It’s unknown if Kuzyk, Warmerdam or the other women who pressed charges against him were notified of his release.
Illingworth said the country’s justice systems need to do more to protect victims of domestic abuse.
“We have to start taking this much more seriously in Ontario and across Canada. A lot of women in this country are killed by their spouses or former spouses or people who are in their lives and remain a danger to them. A lot of women live in fear,” she said.
“It shouldn’t be up to women and their families to have to relocate and start their lives again, go into hiding and not be able to live normally. We should have systems to protect them.”