The families of two people murdered by an Ontario man are demanding answers from the federal government after the multiple killer is transferred to a medium-security prison.
They say Mark Smich should be serving his life sentence in a maximum security prison.
While Smich was moved two years ago, the families say they are now speaking out following the recent national outcry over a similar transfer of serial killer Paul Bernardo. That transfer is under review and the families of Smich’s victims are calling for a similar review of Smich’s file.
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“Does anyone really think that someone who killed several people and never expressed remorse will be a new person after their sentence?” Linda Babcock, the mother of one of Smich’s victims, told The Canadian Press.
“Why kill two people, write a song about it and then be in a more comfortable location – come on.”
Smich, along with his friend Dellen Millard, murdered 23-year-old Laura Babcock – Millard’s former flame – in July 2012. The pair then killed a stranger, Hamilton’s Tim Bosma, 32, after taking him and his truck for a test 10 driving months later.
In 2016, a jury found both guilty of first-degree murder in Bosma’s death. In 2017, another jury found the couple guilty of first-degree murder for the death of Babcock, whose body has never been found.
Last week, Ontario’s highest court rejected the killers’ appeals on both murders. They are currently each serving two life sentences.
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The pair was originally sent to Millhaven Institution in Bath, Ont. Sent, a maximum security prison outside of Kingston, Ont., which houses some of Canada’s most notorious criminals.
Bernardo’s move leads to a new conversation
In May 2021, five years after his first conviction, Smich was transferred to Beaver Creek Institution, a medium-security prison in Gravenhurst, Ont., before briefly moving to another medium-security prison and then back to Beaver Creek.
The families received word of Smich’s move, but no explanation, said Linda Babcock, Laura Babcock’s mother.
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While the fact that Smich is in medium security weighed on the Babcocks and Bosmas for a while, the families say the national furor over Bernardo’s transfer prompted them to speak out.
Bernardo’s move from maximum-security to a medium-security prison in Quebec sparked anger across the country, even calling for the resignation of the minister of public safety in recent weeks.
Linda Babcock, speaking on behalf of her family and the Bosmas, said Smich’s transfer also deserves review.
On Monday, she wrote a letter to Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino to plead her case.
“Could you please explain to my family and the family of his other victim, Tim Bosma, why this person who killed our children should not be in a maximum security prison?” she wrote.
The families have not yet heard from the minister, she said.
Public security minister is ‘personally briefed’ on high-profile transfers
Mendicino’s office said he plans to issue a directive to ensure that the minister of public safety is personally informed when a high-profile prisoner is due to be transferred and that the correctional service notifies victims before such decisions are made. taken.
“Our thoughts are with all the victims and their families and friends during these difficult times,” Mendicino’s office wrote in a statement.
“Minister Mendicino will issue a ministerial directive to Canada’s Correctional Service requiring them to put victims at the center of their approach and process when it comes to transfers.”
Mendicino wasn’t the minister at the time of Smich’s move — it was Bill Blair, now secretary of emergency preparedness.
Correctional Service Canada declined to comment on Smich’s transfer, citing privacy rights, which Babcock objected to.
“The people in power are so concerned about the prisoner’s rights and comfort, but we wake up every day without our daughter, they denied her life,” she said.
Smich’s attorney, Richard Litkowski, also declined to comment on his client’s location or the conditions under which he is being held.
But he did say, generally speaking, “it’s disappointing for elected officials to comment on a specific decision by the CSC.”
“(Correctional Service Canada) is a body guided by a set of detailed legal and regulatory criteria. Unsubstantiated criticism of these decisions for what I can only guess is a perceived political advantage should be deplored, not applauded,” he said .
The Babcocks and Bosmas have the backing of Ontario Premier Doug Ford.
“I am deeply disgusted to hear that one of the murderers of Laura Babcock and Tim Bosma has been transferred to a medium-security prison,” Ford said this week.
“This is a disturbing pattern within the federal prison system that needs to be addressed. The perpetrators of heinous, violent crimes should stay in maximum security prisons where they belong. We owe it to their victims and their families.”