Kramberger: West Islanders must call for harsher sentences for violent crimes

West Islanders should let lawmakers know that sentences and parole conditions should reflect the need to protect the public from dangerous offenders.

Michael Manning holds a photo of his daughter Tara. Manning delivered a victim impact statement during a parole hearing for Gregory Bromby, the person who killed in 1994. Peter McCabe / MONTREAL GAZETTE

Yet another parole hearing for a murderer who raped and savagely stabbed to death a teenager in her Dorval home almost 25 years ago has me questioning whether our legal system is doing enough to protect the public from violent criminals.

Gregory Bromby, now 42, killed Tara Manning on May 5, 1994, while her father slept in another room.

Michael Manning, her father, travelled to Vancouver to deliver another victim-impact statement on Tuesday. He wants to deter the Parole Board of Canada from releasing Bromby.

Bromby was denied release in both 2007 and 2012, following parole hearings.

Bromby was a minor at the time of the murder but was tried as an adult. That option no longer exists under Canadian law. He was convicted of first-degree murder in 1997 and handed a life sentence. Since he was a young offender, his sentence allowed him to apply for parole after 10 years instead of the standard 25 years.

A decade after his conviction, Bromby admitted to killing Tara as well as committing at least two other rapes. Bromby has admitted to having anger-management issues toward women.

Following his daughter’s murder, Manning successfully lobbied Canada’s lawmakers to make it mandatory for suspects in major crimes to provide police with DNA samples.

In Bromby’s case, a judged ordered him to provide a DNA sample, which became key evidence in his conviction.

Stiffer sentences and parole eligibility for those convicted of rape and murder don’t necessarily deter future criminal acts.

But there are people who firmly believe that sentences for crimes causing harm are often too lenient.

Comments posted online about recent West Island and Off-Island hit-and-run cases, unrelated to the Manning murder, reflect public sentiment on the topic of crime and consequent punishment.

“Glad that they have arrested him and hope that his punishment fits the crime,” read one online post.

“(The) legal system protecting the criminal and the victim is just another number,” read another.

The sentence rendered for a crime is one thing, but another point requiring scrutiny for some is the too-speedy granting of parole for violent criminals. Criminals convicted of sexual assault — even for cases involving children — are sometimes out after a few years and often without any public notice or much outcry.

Considering the fact that it’s a federal election year and local candidates will be out on the campaign trail this fall, maybe it’s time for West Islanders to express their concerns about public safety when it comes to violent crimes and ask candidates whether it is time for Canadian laws to be amended to ensure sentences and/or parole conditions are, in fact, delivering justice.





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