The Halifax Herald
Friday, January 24, 1997

Bernardo's lawyers slapped with porn, obstruction charges

by Gloria Galloway

TORONTO (CP) -- Two of Paul Bernardo's former lawyers were charged Thursday with keeping explicit videotapes of his sex crimes - evidence that would have prevented Karla Homolka from striking a plea bargain if it had been made public sooner.

Ken Murray and Carolyn MacDonald were charged with obstructing justice and possessing child pornography. The two represented Bernardo in 1993 and 1994 while police were looking for the tapes to bolster their case against him in the sex slayings of Kristen French, 15, and Leslie Mahaffy, 14.

The lawyers, who surrendered to police early Thursday in Niagara Falls, Ont., were released after promising to appear in court Feb. 25.

Murray also faces a charge of making obscene material. Police wouldn't confirm the charge relates to copying the tapes.

Austin Cooper, Murray's lawyer, said his client will plead not guilty to all counts.

``Now that the charges are laid, I'm not allowed to comment ... What I have to say will be said in court.''

Murray has maintained he did nothing wrong and he's been made a scapegoat for police mistakes. His trial is expected to focus on the extent of privilege lawyers can claim in defending their clients.

The Law Society of Upper Canada is also investigating Murray and MacDonald. It has rules prohibiting lawyers from withholding information from authorities in certain circumstances.

The tapes show Homolka and Bernardo raping French, Mahaffy, Homolka's younger sister, Tammy, and another teen known only as Jane Doe.

Murray told a Toronto newspaper he took the tapes from Bernardo's home in St. Catharines, Ont., in May 1993.

That was two months before Homolka was allowed to plead guilty to manslaughter in exchange for testifying against her husband.

She was sentenced to 12 years for her role in the slayings.

Police failed to find the tapes - which Murray said he located above a bathroom ceiling light - despite a 71-day search of the house.

Murray eventually quit as Bernardo's lawyer. In the fall of 1994, he gave the tapes to lawyer John Rosen, who took over the case. Rosen gave the tapes to prosecutors.

After a 1996 inquiry, Justice Patrick Galligan concluded: ``If the videotapes had been in the hands of the authorities on or before May 14, 1993 (when Homolka's plea bargain deal was struck) the Crown would never have entered in the resolution agreement.''

The tapes played a key role in convicting Bernardo in September 1995 of murdering French and Mahaffy. He got a life sentence and was declared a dangerous offender, so he'll probably never get out of prison.

Mahaffy's mother, Debbie, has complained that keeping the tapes secret prevented police from charging Homolka with first-degree murder like her ex-husband.

The police investigation into the lawyers' conduct began after Bernardo's conviction. ``I'm pleased that they're charged'', French's father, Doug, said Thursday from his St. Catharines home.


Copyright © 1997 by Canadian Press. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.