In memory of Genni May

There are some stories we never want to write. Tops on the list are any that deal with the death of a child. And when the stories contain details that make grown men weep and decent people shudder, we join the many questioning our justice system that seems to favour the criminals over the victims.

Such is the sorrowful story of Genoa "Genni" May.

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Stolen from the hotel room where her family was staying for the night over 25 years ago, the little girl was attacked and murdered by a deranged psychopath. And while the horror of that night is something no parent should ever have to endure, what's happening now because of our justice system is adding a whole new level of torture to Genni's family.

Last week our newsroom got word that Darren Kelly (aka Ryan Brady) was up for parole. Because, understandably, the May family and Genni's mother Linda's family, the Hamiltons, never want Kelly to see freedom, they launched into action to prepare for the parole hearing. This meant having friends prepare petitions, friends write letters describing the loss of the little girl in graphic terms and friends and family make travel plans to be at the hearing.

But on Oct. 27, the families got word that Kelly had changed his mind and had withdrawn his request for a parole hearing. The parents drew a sigh of relief - until they found out that in as few as five months they could end up going through this whole process again.

And this can go on forever or until Kelly is released.

We think justice is not being served in this case for several reasons. First, Kelly was able to change his name legally in jail and no one would have been the wiser except that Tom May happened to check one day to find out what facility Kelly was in. Imagine his reaction when the answer came back that there was no one in the prison system by that name. A private detective May hired found out about the name change. Had he not done so, May worried that Kelly/Brady would have been able to go through the parole motions unchallenged. This loophole has since been tightened, but it should never have been there in the first place.

The next reason is the capriciousness of the system that allows killers to apply for parole every two years once their 25-year mandatory sentence is complete. Imagine facing those gut-wrenching hearings every two years. In this instance Kelly/Brady is able to apply for another hearing in five months because he hasn't yet had a hearing and his sentence expires soon.

And finally our privacy laws make it impossible for the families to get any answers as to Kelly/Brady's movements. Even something so simple as finding out if the prisoner received a letter written by May urging Kelly/Brady to forgo the hearing is impossible to find out.

As Canadians, we should be asking ourselves why we live in a country where the rights of the guilty seem to exceed those of the victims. In fact it's a question we should be asking of every elected politician in our country. Use your voice to right this fundamental wrong. Do it in memory of Genni May.

© Copyright Coast Reporter


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