Conservative MP Tony Clement said the federal government should review the policy that allowed infamous killer Kelly Ellard to get pregnant while serving a life sentence for murder.
Clement, public safety critic for the official Opposition, said the news that Ellard is expecting a baby inside prison “is very disturbing.”
“It deserves certainly a review,” he said.
Postmedia News revealed Monday that Ellard, 33, is in the late stages of pregnancy after being allowed a conjugal visit in a B.C. prison with her federal parolee boyfriend last spring.
The boyfriend, Darin Dorozan, 41, has since been returned to prison for an alleged breach of his parole.
Under Correctional Service of Canada rules, all inmates are eligible for private family visits if they and their visitors meet the criteria. The visits can occur every two months for up to 72 hours in a separate building on prison grounds.
Correctional services would not comment on the specifics of Ellard’s case due to privacy laws.
But Clement said despite the policy allowing the intimate visits, “common sense has got to prevail as well.”
“I just think that they’ve got to apply the rules with common sense,” Clement said. “They have created a situation by allowing this to happen that now requires further intervention to assess the newborn’s health and wellness and ability to thrive, not just survive.”
Clement said a child advocate should be appointed to represent the interests of Ellard’s unborn child.
“I think the whole thing should be reviewed. And the policy should be reviewed. And obviously the particular circumstances of this particular newborn will have to be also reviewed by a child advocate who is an expert to this field,” said Clement, who earlier this month dropped out of the Conservative leadership race.
He said the difficult circumstances surrounding the case have “now created a very complicated situation with conflicting rights and responsibilities.”
Under a correctional services program, babies born to incarcerated mothers are allowed in some cases to remain with their mothers inside their institution under a program that began in 1997.
The baby’s father is serving a seven-year, two-month sentence after pleading guilty in 2012 to 11 counts of break and enter. He stole items to support a heroin addiction, according to parole records.
Ellard was convicted in 2005 of the 1997 murder of 14-year-old Reena Virk, who was brutally beaten and drowned under a Victoria bridge.
Though she was just 15, Ellard was raised to adult court and sentenced to life with no possibility of parole for seven years.
Last May, the Parole Board of Canada rejected her bid for day parole, saying that while she had finally accepted responsibility for her role in Virk’s murder, she needed to do more work before being released in the community.
She is eligible to apply for parole again in 2017.
Virk’s elderly grandfather Mukand Pallan said Monday that he knew nothing about Ellard’s pregnancy until contacted by Postmedia.
He said he didn’t think the news “is anything to be proud of for her or her family.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Pallan said.
He also said having a child would likely help Ellard get parole when she applies again next year.
“I think they will let her out. We were expecting that last time when they rejected her parole. They said to her to try again next year,” Pallan said.
Because of the baby “they will probably let her out. That will help her to get out.”
He said his family doesn’t plan on attending her next parole hearing.
“We are trying to forget it,” Pallan said.