Parents don't want to testify over the phone

Parents don't want to testify over the phone

The parents of a young girl murdered 72 stab wounds 14 years ago are demanding the right to attend in person the hearing of her murderer who still wishes to obtain permission to go out a few days a year, escorted.

“We can only be heard by telephone. [I am] enraged, insulted and pained. I was stunned, and so were the rest of the family. We feel that our rights are not respected, ”protests Darlene Ryan, stepmother of the young victim.

Almost fifteen years ago, Brigitte Serre, 17, was working in a service station in Saint-Léonard when a former employee showed up with an accomplice to steal the convenience store.

After she succeeded in loosening the ties that held her captive in the backroom, Sébastien Simon, then 18, knocked her out to prevent her from running away. He then stabbed her 72 times.

Too impulsive

If he failed to secure the right to escort four days last year due to his impulsiveness, Simon was quick to reapply as soon as he could. Among other things, he would like to visit his wife and do community service, according to Ms. Ryan.

Last year, the victim's family members testified against him in person, to make sure he stays behind bars.

However, because of the pandemic, the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) informed them that they could only attend the hearing by telephone, to avoid the risk of the spread of COVID-19 in the penitentiary.

However, the PBC specifies that it “is also working on setting up a secure videoconferencing system that will allow victims to participate in hearings by video”.

Feeling of helplessness

“They started the conjugal visits again, but I am not allowed to come and testify on the spot with a mask ?, asks the mother-in-law. It adds to the hurt, the frustration and the feeling of helplessness … Face to face is so important. ”

She and her partner, Bruno Serre, have been working for the rights of victims for years, working with the Association of Families of Assassinated or Missing Persons (AFPAD), which helps them prepare to testify.

“Now when it's for our daughter, the system prevents us from doing it fully,” she concludes, hoping that the proceedings will be put on hold.

  • Sébastien Simon is due to be heard on October 26th.
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