Prime Time Crime


(Prime Time Crime May 4, 2009)


Bail hearing granted to convicted murderer


  By Sandra Martins-Toner

It has been just a little over two years since the murder conviction of Katherine Quinn, and Robert Allan Forslund in the murder of our 16 year old son Matthew Martins. Quinn has now been granted an Appeal hearing, and to add insult to injury, has applied for bail pending the Appellate Court judges’ decision.

This highlights a fundamental flaw in the justice system. While the presumption of innocence is a basic tenant of our legal system, why should someone who has already been convicted and found guilty of a crime be treated under the same rule? Quinn has appealed her conviction, and the Appellate Court has yet to render a decision on whether a new trial will be allowed, or her conviction upheld. This means that her present status remains convicted, or guilty, in the eyes of the law. How then can she be granted bail, when this is a provision created specifically for those individuals who are pre trial and deemed innocent? 

Most common sense people would say this cannot be true, that this should not happen. Yet our wrongheaded system does allow it. Not so in the United States. There, a convicted person appealing a decision awaits their fate behind bars, and in custody.

Here in Canada however, the right of the offender to exercise their freedom has been paramount over the protection of society since the Judicial Interim Release act was created in 1972.

Two basic problems are created by this. The first probability is the person will take advantage of bail pre-sentence, or pre-appeal to flee. Interestingly enough there are no Justice Department figures (that we have been able to find) on the number of people who flee while on bail. The second and more serious problem to our communities is the obvious threat these people pose when released back onto our streets.

Four recent well known examples of this are Peter Lee, Ryan Crossley, Allan Schoenborn, and most recently Ander Walker-Huria. All of these people committed murder whilst on bail release, awaiting trail or a sentencing for previous serious violent crimes.

Public safety in Canada is being eroded by an ever-revolving door in every bail court in our land. Too many criminals and defense Lawyers seem to be able to manipulate the bail system and get before a sympathetic judge, or have the luck to draw a non-combative prosecutor and out the door they go, free to commit more crimes.

Our confidence in the administration of justice is at an all time low. Not once is there a thought of the irrevocable trauma placed on the families of the deceased. The continuous re-victimization of the victims and families by the courts continue regardless of our pleas.

The laws that are in place today are not just, they only exacerbate the pain and angst already created by the perpetrators. We are no longer content to sit on the side lines waiting for justice to be served. We are in fact ready to rise up against the Federal Government to see that changes are made to legislations such as the Bail Reform Act.

As a good friend of ours, David Marley, an Independent Candidate in West Vancouver/Capilano recently stated: “Essentially, the message that needs to be conveyed is Canada's Constitution provides that the first priority of Government is to be the provision of "Peace, Order and Good Government, However, here in BC, in recent times this is demonstrably not being done. Public confidence in the administration of justice in our province is abysmal.”

The rights of the offenders continue to supersede those of the victims, and this must stop. Our own “Constitutional Rights” as law abiding citizens must come first.

Sandra Martins-Toner is the founder and executive Director of F.A.C.T. and can be contacted at



Prime Time Crime

Contributing 2009