Tori Stafford’s killer wants compensation for ‘unfair’ treatment after being moved from healing lodge back to prison
Terri-Lynne McClintic, serving a life sentence in the rape and murder of eight-year-old Tori Stafford, wants compensation for her “unfair” treatment when intense public outrage forced her transfer from a healing lodge back into prison.
She is seeking a review of the transfer and compensation for her ensuing loss of liberty.
When the public learned last year that McClintic was moved from a medium-security prison to the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge for Aboriginal Women on Nekaneet First Nation in southern Saskatchewan, there was an outcry of anger and frustration. Tori’s father, Rodney Stafford, led a protest on Parliament Hill and opposition politicians hammered the government on the move in the House of Commons.
In response, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale ordered the commissioner of Correctional Service Canada to review McClintic’s transfer, as well as the policy that allowed it to happen.
That prompted prison officials to again reclassify McClintic, this time in reverse, from being a minimum-security inmate to a medium-security inmate on Nov. 8, 2018.
She was then removed from the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge in Saskatchewan and transferred to the Edmonton Institution for Women. Soon after, she returned to her former prison home at the Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener, Ont.
She is apparently not happy with her change of environment.
In a court application filed April 30, 2019, she complains the transfer led to the loss of her liberty and the decision to move her was “unreasonable and procedurally unfair, and therefore unlawful.”
Her lawyers asked the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta to evaluate whether the decisions to transfer her and also for an award of costs.
The writ of habeas corpus, a serious court action challenging the lawfulness of restraining a person in government custody, named the Correctional Service of Canada, the warden at the healing lodge, the warden at Grand Valley, the Department of Justice, and Public Safety Canada as defendants. Courts are required by law to place a special priority on any application for habeas corpus.
After a review, however, Judge John T. Henderson put the application on hold Monday until more information is offered by McClintic’s lawyers.
For starters, Henderson said in written reasons, the application says an “affidavit of Terri-Lynne McClintic affirmed April 10, 2019” supports the application — but the affidavit was not actually filed with the court, at least not at the time of him writing his decision.
Without McClintic’s sworn statement on her alleged suffering, there is currently no evidence for the court to evaluate.
Further, Henderson writes, the Alberta court seems to no longer have jurisdiction over the matter.
“It appears Ms. McClintic was initially transferred from the lodge to the Edmonton Institution for Women but now no longer has any connection to Alberta and its courts,” he writes. “It is trite law that the jurisdiction of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench is limited to the province of Alberta.”
Henderson subjected the application to what is called a Civil Practice Note No. 7, which is a document-based “show cause” judicial review on whether the application should be heard.
Henderson’s review “identified what appear to be potential issues with the application,” he writes. “On its face, the application is potentially one which is defective,” he writes.
McClintic has until 14 days to file her statement with the court.
If she meets that deadline, then the government and prison respondents have seven days to answer and Henderson will then make a final decision whether to dismiss or hear her complaint.
McClintic, serving a life sentence, is not eligible for parole until 2031 after pleading guilty to the first-degree murder of the girl from Woodstock, Ont., the senselessness and brutality of which deeply shocked and appalled the community.
In 2009, Victoria “Tori” Stafford was leaving school when McClintic, lured her to a car with the promise of seeing a puppy. She was forced into the car and McClintic’s boyfriend, Michael Rafferty, drove to a remote area where the girl was raped, beaten to death with a hammer and left in garbage bags under a pile of rocks.
At Rafferty’s murder trial, she changed her story from what she told police investigators. She previously said Rafferty swung the hammer but admitted she had.
Kelsey Sitar, a Calgary-based lawyer who filed the application, declined to comment on the case Tuesday, saying she did not have instruction from her client on speaking to the media.