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Accused killer's refusal to sign probation order was a 'message': group

Basil Borutski arrives in a police vehicle for an appearance at the courthouse in Pembroke, Ont., on September 23, 2015. Alarm bells should have gone off when the man now accused of killing three ex-girlfriends refused to sign a probation order last year prohibiting him from contacting one of them or coming within 200 metres of her, a women's rights group said Friday.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
September 27, 2015 - 8:30 AM

Alarm bells should have gone off when the man now accused of killing three ex-girlfriends refused to sign a probation order last year prohibiting him from contacting one of them or coming within 200 metres of her, a women's rights group said Friday.

Amanda Dale, executive director of the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, said Basil Borutski's decision should have been cause for concern.

"It's a pretty pointed refusal and we know that if people have understood and digested the risk factors in domestic violence, it would have been a huge red flag," she said.

"He was giving somebody a message and the message wasn't properly interpreted."

A refusal to sign the order doesn't mean it lacks the weight of the law, and such probation orders take effect immediately, regardless of whether offenders sign them.

Dan Brown, a Toronto criminal defence lawyer, said the revelation about Borutski, charged Wednesday with three counts of first-degree murder, doesn't raise any particular red flags for him.

He said a signature is little more than an acknowledgment that the offender read the order.

"The order becomes valid when it's imposed on him. It's not a question for him to agree or disagree with it," Brown said.

Borutski is accused in the deaths of 36-year-old realtor Anastasia Kuzyk, Nathalie Warmerdam, 48, and Carol Culleton, 66. He appeared in court earlier this week to face the allegations and was ordered held in custody until his next court appearance Oct. 5.

The bodies of the three women were found within hours of one another on Tuesday in a usually sleepy area of the Ottawa Valley about 180 kilometres west of Ottawa.

Borutski, 57, went to jail in 2014 after being convicted of assaulting Kuzyk in December 2013. He was released last December, and placed on two years' probation.

The terms of that probation required him to stay away from her and not to contact her, according to media reports. But Borutski didn't sign it.

A candlelight vigil was held Friday evening in the town of Wilno, close to where Kuzyk's body was discovered.

A sombre crowd filled a park across from the tavern where Kuzyk worked, with a few wiping their eyes as friends paid tribute to the women. Flowers were then laid in a makeshift memorial.

News from © The Canadian Press , 2015
The Canadian Press

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