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Senator apologizes for supporting Homolka

CTV.ca News Staff, Jun. 23 2005

A Liberal senator who sat with Karla Homolka's defence team during a court hearing on June 3 has apologized.

Senator Michel Biron, 71, sat beside Homolka's lawyer in a show of support. At one point he even gave Homolka a slight smile, witnesses say.

He later called Ontario's application to place restrictions on Homolka after her release from prison "unjustified."

"I have to give her a chance... I don't consider her dangerous," he said.

Liberal Senator Michel Biron .
Liberal Senator Michel Biron shares his views on the Homolka hearing from Montreal Friday with Canada AM.

St. Catharines MP Walt Lastewka, who represents the riding where Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy were raped and killed in the early 1990s, demanded the senator resign. Instead, he received a letter of apology from Biron.

"I can hardly imagine the grief and pain that the families have suffered," the letter reads. "I sincerely regret if any of my statements over the past few days have contributed to their pain."

The letter continues to thank Lastewka for telling him of the facts of the Homolka case, but misspells Leslie Mahaffy as "Leslie Mahaffey."

Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant, who argued for the restrictions Homolka will face, was angry about the senator's presence during the hearings.

"To use the bully pulpit of the senate to stand shoulder to shoulder with Homolka is just outrageous," Bryant told CTV. "I suppose a letter of apology is better than nothing. Probably too little, too late from the perspective of the victims' families."

Tim Danson, the lawyer for the Mahaffy and French families, thinks Biron knows little about Homolka.

"Would he hire Karla Homolka to baby-sit his children? I mean, what is the nature of his interest?"

A former telecommunications entrepreneur, Biron was appointed to the Senate by former prime minister Jean Chretien in 2001, the same year he became a member of the Order of Canada.

With a report from CTV's Paul Bliss