National News

Can't stop Bernardo: MacKay

By The Canadian Press

HALIFAX - Federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay says there's nothing the government can do to prevent Paul Bernardo from communicating with a woman who is reportedly planning to marry the convicted killer.

"That's not really an issue before the Justice Department," MacKay said Thursday after a funding announcement in Halifax.

"There hasn't been an action. There hasn't been preventative steps taken to prevent contact ... We can't stop a person from communicating through letters and emails unless there is something that is seen as harassing or criminal in its intent."

MacKay said that whenever he hears Bernardo's name, his thoughts turn to the victims "who will not be able to have relationships, who will not be able to enjoy many of the things that (Bernardo) will enjoy in his life.

"My thoughts are first and foremost about the victims that he left behind."

The QMI news agency is reporting that an unnamed 30-year-old woman from London, Ont., has admitted to writing letters to Bernardo since last fall.

The news agency says the woman's parents are insisting she has changed her mind about marrying Bernardo, and the agency quotes the woman as saying she is "rethinking" her plan.

In the early 1990s, Bernardo and his then-wife Karla Homolka were convicted of crimes related to the rape and murder of two teenaged schoolgirls, Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy.

Bernardo was declared a dangerous offender and sentenced to life in prison. Homolka served 12 years for manslaughter, having struck a deal with prosecutors in 1993.

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