Const. Tom Agar's killer gets unescorted passes from prison
The lawyer who successfully prosecuted cop killer Steven Lee LeClair said the public should trust the system that's now decided to grant him unescorted day passes.
Former judge and MLA Wally Oppal, who currently works for the Vancouver law firm Boughton Law, prosecuted LeClair for the Sept. 19, 1980 killing of Const. Tom Agar and three other people earlier that same day, including a 53-year-old pub manager, a 35-year-old waiter and a 72-year-old patron of the Palace Hotel pub in Vancouver.
Oppal told The Richmond Review that he didn't have a strong opinion about LeClair's release, noting that he's not aware of how good an inmate LeClair has been.
"It was a vicious, cold-blooded killing of a completely innocent police officer," Oppal said.
Oppal, who prosecuted 50 murder cases in his career, occasionally worked in Richmond, and knew Tom Agar before his death.
Agar was a good officer and a decent person, Oppal said, and was a three-year veteran who was working the front counter around 8 p.m. on the night of the shooting. Agar left behind a pregnant wife and a 10-month-old daughter.
Oppal said the public should trust and respect that the ordinary citizens who make up the Parole Board of Canada, did their homework before deciding to grant LeClair the day passes.
"I think time can change people," Oppal said.
But he noted that some people come out rehabilitated, while others come out worse.
In 2005, LeClair, who was convicted of the first-degree murder of Agar, made his first application for unescorted temporary absences despite being eligible to do so three years earlier.
On Feb. 6, 2013, Leclair was granted two eight-hour unescorted temporary absences per month to the home of his wife. He was also permitted to eat at restaurants within 10 kilometres of her home.
"The board concluded that your behaviour while incarcerated supported this release given the progress that you made in your correctional plan. The board also concluded that the (temporary absences) for family contact are desirable in order to assist in your re-integration into society."
In December, the board authorized an expansion of his absences, to include two unescorted absences, of 48 hours and 24 hours each month.
He's permitted to visit restaurants, parks, grocery stores, banks, clothing stores, and movie theatres no more than 20 kilometres from his wife's home.
He's also permitted to visit his wife's place of worship.
LeClair is barred from consuming alcohol, contacting any of his victims' families, and must strictly follow his timelines and be in direct supervision of his wife.
"These special conditions are reasonable and necessary to protect society and to assist with your reintegration as a law-abiding citizen."