'This is not over,' province, pledging to pursue appeals in McConnell case
Published Monday, April 8, 2013 12:45PM MDT Last Updated Monday, April 8, 2013 6:27PM MDT
While the mother convicted of drowning her two little boys is set to be deported back to her home country, the province has pledged to follow through with appeals that are ongoing in the case.
CTV News has learned Alberta Justice Officials have been in discussions with Australian authorities, to ensure that if their appeals are successful, Allyson McConnell would be extradited back to Alberta.
“We’re in the process of contacting the Australian Foreign Office to advise that she is a person of interest,” Solicitor General Jonathan Denis said Monday.
“This is not over, we will continue with the appeal until all avenues have been exhausted.”
It’s the latest update in a story that broke last week – after it came to light that McConnell was eligible for early release.
She was sentenced in the spring of 2012 for manslaughter – in the January 2010 deaths of her sons, 10-month-old Jayden and 2-year-old Connor.
The mother had originally been charged with second-degree murder, but she was acquitted of those charges, and two counts of manslaughter were laid against her instead.
While she faced two six-year sentences, to be served concurrently, she was given two-for-one credit for time already served.
That left her with a total 15 month sentence, but she was eligible for early release after 10 months – which officially ended last Thursday, and she would be deported to Australia.
Last week, Allyson McConnell’s former husband, and father of the slain children, issued a statement to the media, saying he was ‘appalled’ that his ex-wife was about to be released – the next day, he sent out another statement, saying he had found out more information on the case, but he questioned the little amount of information justice officials passed on to him:
“As the father of two murdered children I think I deserve a phone call explaining what is going on,” he said in Thursday's statement. “To this day I’m still waiting for a phone call.”
Last Friday, the federal government refused to step in to keep McConnell in Canada – despite the province trying to keep her from being deported to face the two appeals launched in her case.
One of those appeals is for the sentence she received; the other is for the acquittals on the more serious charges she faced at first.
Federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said in a statement issued Friday that McConnell’s deportation was set for Monday evening.
In addition, Toews’ statement criticized the province for waiting until the week of her release to try and keep her in the country.
Its criticism Curtis McConnell’s family echoed in a statement released Sunday.
“Why did the Alberta Government not act sooner to ensure Allyson would be here for the appeals?” The statement reads.
“We fear that if Allyson Meager McConnell is deported to Australia, we will never see her face justice for the horror and terror she inflicted on two innocent babies before killing them.”
In response to the criticism, Denis said in an interview with CTV News over the weekend that the province has taken the case seriously, and the appeal was filed within the 30 day window after McConnell was convicted – but the case is in the hands of the Alberta Court of Appeal.
Denis said Australian authorities will be kept updated on the status of the appeals in Canada.
“If the sentence of six years is increased to something more reasonable, we have full intentions of having her brought back from Australia to pay her debt to society,” Denis said.
With files from Bill Fortier