No escorted absences for Kelly Ellard after 'rare' split decision
Jeff Lawrence, CTV Vancouver Island
Published Wednesday, January 18, 2017 10:13AM PST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 18, 2017 6:36PM PST
Convicted B.C. killer Kelly Ellard was not granted temporary escorted absences after a parole board came to a split decision Wednesday.
Ellard, now 34, was applying for permission to leave prison for medical and parenting reasons.
She recently gave birth while serving a sentence for the 1997 second-degree murder of Reena Virk.
“Specifically, she was looking for escorted temporary absences for parental responsibilities,” said Patrick Storey of the Parole Board of Canada, Pacific Region. “She was asking for up to five escorted absences per month and up to four hours for each absence.”
At the parole hearing at the Fraser Valley Institution in Abbotsford Wednesday, two board members came to a split decision, meaning a new hearing will be needed.
“One board member wouldn’t authorize them and one board member wanted to authorize them, so it’s basically a non-decision,” said Storey. “It’s quite rare. It doesn’t happen every day, certainly.”
A new hearing will now be scheduled in the not-too-distant future, Storey said.
Two new board members will study Ellard’s case and interview her to arrive at their own decision.
Ellard was denied supervised release from prison last May after the parole board stated it wanted her to take more responsibility in Virk’s death.
She was 15 years old when she viciously killed Reena Virk, drowning the 14 year old in the Gorge Waterway near Victoria’s Craigflower Bridge.
Her taking responsibility was brought up again in Wednesday’s hearing, but board members said it appeared Ellard was making progress.
“There was considerable discussion about what happened from her perspective, and of course the board then wanted to know how much insight she had into the reasons why she committed the crime that she committed,” said Storey. “Clearly she’s taking more and more responsibility for what happened, being more candid about her role in the event.”
During the hearing Ellard was tearful at times when describing her crime, and especially when she discussed seeing the world with different eyes now that she’s a mother.
The board also heard Ellard’s baby, whose gender was not mentioned in the hearing, lives with her in prison.
“It’s the best therapy I could have asked for. I didn’t expect this to happen. It’s the best thing I could have had,” she told the board.
The baby’s father, Ellard’s boyfriend, also lives in a federal prison where he’s serving a sentence for break-and-enters after having his parole revoked in fall.
"They questioned her closely about the relationship and its influence on her, and her view on whether or not it's a positive relationship," said Storey. "There was a pretty thorough discussion about that issue."
Ellard is not the only mother living with a child in a federal prison.
Corrections Services Canada says there are currently 10 mothers across the country living with their babies.