For the first time since the end of the trial that convicted two teens for the murder of their 18-year-old daughter, Kimberly Proctor’s family spoke to media today about a series of changes they would like to see made to the justice system.
Kimberly’s extended family, including her grandparents, parents, two aunts and her brother Rob, attended a press conference to announce their campaign.
Victoria lawyer and former Conservative federal candidate Troy DeSouza is representing the Proctor family in their quest to have seven proposals made law. Together the proposals are being called Kimberly’s Law.
In March 2010, Langford teen Kimberly Proctor was brutally raped and murdered by two teenagers she knew from her Colwood high school. The boys pled guilty to first-degree murder and were sentenced to life imprisonment with no chance of parole for 10 years.
Kimberly’s father, Fred, said the changes they are asking for would help prevent other families from going through what his faced.
“Kimberly was our daughter and it’s, as you can imagine, somewhat difficult to be here today,” Fred Proctor said. “We came to realize this could have been anybody’s child that was murdered in this way. Hopefully some good can come of this, some change, for the better for the future for all.”
“We know that we can never get Kim back but we hope that some good can come out of this,” said Lucy Proctor, Kimberly’s mother. “I don’t wish this upon anybody.”
DeSouza sent a letter detailing the proposals to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and B.C. Premier Christy Clark on Friday, Jan. 4.
The first three proposals speak to preventative steps for stopping violence before it happens. The family is asking for nationally implemented threat assessment protocols for schools, to help better identify threatening behaviour in students. The B.C. government is the first in Canada to have a province-wide anti-bullying protocol for schools.
“We want these kids to be dealt with. We want them to get the help that they need,” said Jo-Anne Landolt, Kimberly’s aunt.
Sooke school district implemented a similar policy in 2011, in part in response to Kimberly’s murder.
A second protocol calls for mandatory counseling and treatment ordered by the provincial courts for students identified as “isolated, aggressive or problematic.” Parents should also be held civilly liable for the actions of their children, states the third proposal, and be forced to pay relief in cases where there is injury or death caused.
“Such financial penalty may compel otherwise uninvolved parents to take more control for the violent actions of their children or seek outside assistance,” reads the document.
A further four proposals call for young offender amendments to increase accountability for youth convicted of first or second-degree murder. The changes called for include trying youth over 16 years old charged with murder in adult court, allowing publication of their names upon a guilty plea and subjecting them to adult sentences.
Family members expressed disappointment that Kimberly’s killers are eligible for parole 10 years into their sentence. They would like to see 25 years in prison mean just that for young offenders in cases of murder.
“In seven years time we’re going to have to go before a parole hearing and get dragged through all this garbage again,” Fred Proctor said. “These two individuals, if you know the details, there’s no possible way they could be reintegrated into society, period, so why do we even have to look at that possibility 10 years later? It’s ridiculous.”
The fourth proposal asks that young persons charged with murder be detained separately from other young people, to protect other young inmates from the “boastful details of crimes” by those charged with murder.
The proposals were reviewed and discussed by a number of lawyers in the Victoria Bar Association.
“We have tremendous support here in Victoria in the legal community and we’re very grateful for their expertise,” DeSouza said.
The government has yet to respond to the letters, but DeSouza expects the process to be a slow one. A public campaign is in the works and DeSouza said the family will continue to work towards supporting the law and getting the public on board.
“It’s really going to be in the hands of our elected officials and government,” DeSouza said. “We’re very hopeful. This is a first step. … We believe that there’s consensus with Canadians for these proposals. It’s going to take some time though.”