Terminally Ill Convicted Killer Granted Full Parole

Written on Behalf of Affleck & Barrison LLP

Convicted murderer Serge Robin (“Robin”) has been granted full parole and allowed to spend his final days outside of prison as he is suffering from a terminal illness.

Robin, a Montrealer, was convicted of killing three people and was a suspect in at least two other homicides.  Two of his victims were killed in British Columbia in 1992 while he was out on day parole for a sentence he was serving for armed robbery and the death of a 17-year-old girl he killed with a crowbar in 1976.

SERGE ROBIN’S CRIMINAL BACKGROUND

According to the Parole Board of Canada’s decision, Robin has a traumatizing background.  His father was convicted of rape and attempted murder and his mother was a sex-trade worker.  Robin grew up in a foster home.  He began serving his time in prison in 1973 when he was only 16 years old. 

Robin’s criminal history included armed robbery and the assault of an individual with a metal ashtray and the murder of 17 year-old Lise Labatie with a crowbar in Quebec City in 1976. 

In 1979, Robin was charged with killing two inmates, but he was acquitted of these charges.

Robin was granted day parole in 1992 at which time he became involved in organized crime.  On October 6, 1992, he shot Roger Daggitt in a hotel in Surrey, B.C.  Two days later, he killed Robert Pelletier in Vancouver, B.C.  It was alleged that he killed Pelletier as he was trying to infiltrate his drug-trafficking turf in Vancouver.  He recently told his parole officer that he killed Pelletier because he believed he was going to kill him. 

According to the parole decision, Robin was contracted to kill Daggitt.  He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.  This killing appeared to be in retribution for Daggitt having ordered the killing of stockbroker, Ray Ginnetti.  Robin was transferred from a penitentiary in British Columbia to the Port Cartier Institution, a penitentiary in Quebec. 

THE PAROLE BOARD OF CANADA DECISION

Last October, Robin was evaluated by a psychologist who classified him as a psychopath.

In 2018, Robin’s medical condition from cancer became worse and he was transferred to a penitentiary where he could undergo treatment.  Earlier this month, Robin was found to be so weak that he has only 10 to 15 percent of his physical capacities left. 

According to the decision by the Parole Board of Canada, Robin is so ill that he does not pose a threat to the public.  The decision stated:

You currently suffer from an advanced cancer, which significantly limits your physical capacities and provokes confusion as well as disorientation.  You will be in a terminal phase and you have little time left to live.  …

According to your file, you do not wish to die inside a penitentiary.  You still have chemotherapy treatments to receive.  If your health improves, a re-evaluation will be done to see if you match the criteria to be admitted into a palliative care centre.

Robin was granted full parole with the condition that he reside at an undisclosed location, likely a palliative care residence due to his deteriorating medical condition.

WHAT IS PAROLE AND WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR PAROLE BY EXCEPTION?

The Parole Board of Canada is an independent administrative tribunal.  The members of the Parole Board come from a variety of backgrounds including criminology, policing, education, law and social work.  It is the role of the Board Members to assess the offender’s risk to determine if a conditional release is warranted. 

Parole is a conditional release from jail for offenders to serve the remainder of their sentence outside of the confines of the institution.  The goal of parole programs is to provide a gradual, controlled, and supervised path between jail and freedom. 

The Parole Board does not automatically grant parole, each individual case must be reviewed to determine suitability for release.  The Parole Board will consider the following factors in determining whether an offender should be granted parole:

  • The offender’s criminal record;
  • The seriousness and nature of the offence;
  • The offender’s behaviour while in prison;
  • The offender’s release plan; and
  • The remorse he/she has expressed for the crime.

According to the section 121 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (“CCRA”), prisoners can be granted parole at any time if certain criteria are met.  Parole by exception can be granted if a prisoner is:

  • Terminally ill;
  • Likely to suffer serious damage to their physical or mental health if he/she continues to be incarcerated;
  • Experiencing excessive hardship that was not reasonably foreseeable at the time of sentencing; or
  • Subject to an order of surrender under the Extradition Act and to be detained until surrendering.

Prisoners who are serving life sentences or those serving indeterminate sentences are the only prisoners ineligible for parole by exception, except in the case of terminal illness.

Prisoners who apply for parole by exception must be assessed pursuant to section 102 of the CCRA.  These prisoners must show that they do not present an undue risk to society, which was the case with Robin given his deteriorating medical condition and lack of physical capacities.

If you have been charged with a criminal offence or have any questions regarding your legal rights, please contact the experienced criminal defence lawyers at Affleck & Barrison LLP.  Our skilled criminal defence lawyers have significant experience defending a wide range of criminal charges and protecting our client’s rights.  Contact our office today online or at 905-404-1947.  We offer a 24-hour phone service to protect your rights and to ensure that you have access to justice at all times.