"Dear Zachary" Update
A message from my friend Kurt Kuenne that is a follow-up to his critically acclaimed documentary, "Dear Zachary."
From: Kurt Kuenne
Date: Mon, Feb 22, 2010 at 3:03 AM
Subject: Newfoundland Court of Appeal lets another accused murderer walk free on bail
Dear Friends of "Dear Zachary",
Many of you have been tremendously kind in your support of my film "Dear Zachary" and in writing Canada's Parliament to advocate for reform to their bail laws. Your efforts are bearing fruit, as we now have a bill in Parliament - Bill C-464 - which has received unanimous support in the House of Commons, and is now going before the committee on Justice & Human Rights when Parliament reconvenes in March. But since it's still in process, it has not yet passed, though we have high hopes that it will do so in the coming months.
In the meantime, however, the very same Court of Appeal in St. John's, Newfoundland that let accused probable murderer Shirley Turner walk free on bail to kill our little Zachary has recently repeated the same move. It has come to my attention that last month they released Raymond Newman - accused of the brutal stabbing murder of his estranged wife, Chrissy Predham-Newman - on bail until trial. Here's a link to an article about it, with commentary from David Bagby, Andrew's father (Zachary's grandfather):
Raymond Newman was originally denied bail when he was arrested and charged last summer, but, like Shirley Turner before him, he appealed that decision to the Newfoundland Court of Appeal. And like Shirley Turner before him, they have granted his appeal and are letting an accused, probable murderer - accused of slashing his wife's throat and stabbing her to death after she left him - walk free amongst the general populace until trial, placing everyone with whom in he comes in contact at risk in the interim. While people are innocent until proven guilty, it is our contention that perverting the concept of presumption of innocence - whose proper place is at trial - to the point where it gives an actual murder the opportunity to repeat his/her crime while awaiting trial is lunacy. When the charge is murder, the stakes are just too high to gamble with people's lives before a jury renders a verdict -- as we learned all too well when Zachary lost the Court of Appeal's last gamble in this arena.
This is precisely the sort of scenario I released "Dear Zachary" publicly to try and prevent. Once our bill becomes law, it is my hope that a scenario like this will no longer be an issue. But in the meantime, I ask for your support once again -- please write the judges credited with this decision - and/or the Attorney General of Canada - to let them know how you feel about the fact that they seem to have learned nothing from Zachary's entirely preventable murder, and are repeating the same moves once again. For those citizens of Canada, please write your MPs to be sure they know about this case, and urge them to support Bill C-464 when it comes up for a vote later this year. (If you need help finding your MP, go to www.dearzachary.com/bailreform)
These are the judges who rendered the decision to release Raymond Newman:
Justice Keith Mercer
Justice Charles W. White
Justice Denis M. Roberts
Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador
Court of Appeal
287 Duckworth Street
P.O. Box 937
St. John's, NL A1C 5M3
(No email address is listed, but their website is http://www.court.nl.ca/supreme/appeal/ if you desire more information.)
This is the contact info for the Attorney General of Canada:
The Honourable Robert Douglas Nicholson
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
284 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H8
Nicholson.R@parl.gc.ca or NichoR@parl.gc.ca
I have just sent all three of the responsible judges letters, along with DVDs of "Dear Zachary" for their review, in hopes that they will reconsider their decision. Thank you so much for your support for Chrissy's family, and for the innocent people of the community where her probable murderer is currently walking free.
Happy 2010 and all the best,