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Incarceration doesn't rehabilitate people

Toronto criminal lawyer Peter Thorning says long periods of time behind bars isn't the way to rehabilitate people.

He made the comments in court at the sentencing hearing of a man who was convicted of killing Toronto-area woman, Mimi Khonsari, more than a decade ago, reports PostMedia.

Thorning, partner at Brauti Thorning Zibarras LLP, was quoted in the column by Christie Blatchford as saying to the court that “whatever efforts were made (at rehabilitating his client) during the course of his adult life or youth, it didn’t prevent this.”

The lawyer also told the court that “long periods of custody, with your liberty deprived, are not conducive to rehabilitation," says the newspaper service.

Clare Alexander Spiers has been in jail since he was arrested on Dec. 13, 2004, about seven months after Khonsari died, says the article.

He’d been convicted in the case before, of first-degree murder and two counts of kidnapping, but because of improper “jury vetting” carried out by the then-Crown prosecutors — they’d asked police for “comments and details” about prospective jurors, which they used to screen jurors, but failed to disclose to defence lawyers — the conviction was tossed by the Ontario Court of Appeal in November 2012 on the grounds that a miscarriage of justice had occurred and a new trial was ordered, reports PostMedia.

He pleaded guilty last month before Ontario Superior Court Justice Ian Nordheimer for sentencing, says the article.

Spiers received a sentence of life in prison with no parole eligibility for 17 years, reports PostMedia.

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