Suspension of Joint National Board of Investigation Correctional Service Canada - Parole Board of Canada
Date: August 10, 2020
Fully releasable (ATIP)? Yes (consult background section for Privacy Act considerations)
Branch / Agency: CSC
Issue: Federal Offender Eustachio Gallese was charged with first-degree murder to which he plead guilty on February 27, 2020. A Joint National Board of Investigation (BOI) was convened to investigate the incident. This has been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of Ms. Lévesque.
- A Joint National Board of Investigation, including two external co-chairs, was convened by both the Correctional Service of Canada and the Parole Board of Canada to examine the circumstances that led to this tragic event.
- Work on the Joint National Board of Investigation was delayed due to COVID-19. Prior to the suspension, multiple interviews had been conducted, a review of all relevant documentation completed and action plan to resume work was developed taking in to consideration health and safety measures recommended by public health authorities.
- Given the importance of this Joint National Board of Investigation and for security reasons, some interviews are required to be conducted in person rather than by using remote options. The Joint National Board of Investigation expects to conclude its full work, including interviews this fall.
- When the Joint National Board of Investigation is completed, as promised to Canadians, the results of the investigation will be shared along with any recommendations to be implemented.
Federal offender Eustachio Gallese has been serving a life sentence since December 16, 2006. He was convicted of murdering his spouse. The index offence occurred on October 21, 2004. He was first granted Day Parole (DP) on March 26, 2019. On September 19, 2019, his DP was continued while Full Parole was denied. On January 23, 2020, his DP was suspended. He was convicted of First-Degree Murder on February 27, 2020, due to his involvement in another murder. GALLESE is currently in federal custody.
Boards of Investigation
Boards of Investigation (BOIs) can be convened jointly by the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) and the Parole Board of Canada (PBC). BOIs can be conducted for offenders who are charged with a serious offence and when a preliminary review of the case reveals questions as to whether the law, policies or the duty to act fairly were respected.
The purpose of a BOI is to identify areas of systemic concern that must be addressed, such as the need to obtain complete information, training on risk assessment and compliance with the law, policy and procedures. CSC follows up on the recommendations formulated by BOIs by analysing them and by bringing amendments and clarifications to its policy and training programs in order to reduce the likelihood of such incidents in the future.
BOIs are administrative investigations that allow for a thorough review of the actions taken by the PBC/CSC. They are not criminal investigations.
Gallese Joint National BOI – Current Status
The Joint National BOI CSC-PBC into the murder of Marylène Lévesque by offender Eustachio Gallese was convened on February 3, 2020. Preparation, review work and some interviews have already been conducted by the BOI.
The COVID-19 situation has caused the work on the Board of Investigation to be suspended and the report completion date has been postponed until it is safe to resume the investigation, based on public health guidance.
A review of all relevant documentation has been completed and an action plan to resume work has been developed and endorsed by the Acting Commissioner of Correctional Service Canada and the Chairperson of the Parole Board of Canada on July 22, 2020.
Given the sensitivity of this Joint National Board of Investigation and for security reasons, some interviews are required to be conducted in person rather than by using remote options. The Correctional Service Canada expects to continue its full work, including interviews with witnesses as of September 8, 2020 per the Convening Order amendment signed on July 28, 2020. Please note that in order to prepare for September 8, 2020, the administrative work portion is underway.
CSC is committed to reducing the risks of COVID-19 in all of its operations and keeping our employees, offenders and the public safe.
The Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security
Senior officials from PBC and CSC appeared before the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security (SECU) on March 10, 2020, regarding their study on “Parole Board and the circumstances that Led to a Young Woman’s Death.” SECU reviews legislation policies, programs and expenditure plans of government departments and agencies responsible for public safety and national security, policing and law enforcement, corrections and conditional release of federal offenders, emergency management, crime prevention and the protection of Canada's borders.
Parole Decision-Making Process
Under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA), PBC members must ensure the following when making a conditional release decision: (1) that the protection of society be the paramount consideration in the determination of any case; and, (2) that the Board make the least restrictive determination consistent with the protection of society.
The CCRA outlines that the Board consider two things when granting parole:
- That the offender will not, by reoffending, present an undue risk to society before the end of their sentence; and
- The release of the offender will contribute to the protection of society by facilitating the offender's reintegration to the community as a law-abiding citizen.
Board members conduct a thorough risk assessment in all cases. They consider all relevant and available information in assessing an offender's risk to re-offend, such as mitigating, neutral, and aggravating factors; as well as information presented during the hearing or review, in order to render a final decision.
In 2018-19, 99.9 per cent of offenders on day parole were not convicted of a violent offence during their supervision period.
Prepared by: Raj Oberoi, Officer, Parliamentary Relations, 613-794-9632
Approved by: Kirstan Gagnon, Assistant Commissioner, Communications and Engagement, 613-995-6867
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