The de Villiers Petition

Soon after the death of their daughter Nina in August, 1991, a national petition was launched by Priscilla and Dr. Rocco de Villiers, with the assistance of Hamilton Mountain M.P., Beth Phinney. The response to the petition was overwhelming, and as a result, CAVEAT soon came into being. In just a little more than 2 years, 2.5 Million Canadians had added their names to the petition.

On February 7, 1994, the de Villiers Petition, was presented to Justice Minister Allan Rock, in Ottawa. Priscilla and Rocco de Villiers later met with Prime Minister Jean Chretien to discuss the petition.

Due to public demand, CAVEAT continued to circulate the petition after presentation to the Justice Minister. We estimate that we collected close to 3 Million signatures before discontinuing the petition.

The de Villiers Petition appears as follows:


"We, the undersigned residents of Canada, in support of the parents of Nina de Villiers, draw the attention of the House to the following:

"THAT the murder of Nina de Villiers on the ninth of August, 1991, has exposed serious deficiencies in the criminal justice system. There are many vulnerable persons who have little protection under the current system. Women, children and disabled persons are at particular risk;

"THAT crimes of violence against the person are intolerable and constitute the most abhorrent crime society faces;

"THAT current criminal law does not require bail hearings in crimes of violence to be presided over by Judges;

"THAT current criminal law may require only a simple signature on a document, with no money actually posted, as surety for the release of accused perpetrators of crimes of violence;

"THAT sentencing in crimes of violence does not appropriately reflect society's abhorrence of violence in order to act as a true deterrent, and to protect the public by removal of the offender from society;

"THAT the risk to society posed by the early release of a violent offender appears to be of secondary consideration to the rights of the individual criminal;

"THAT the statutes governing the criminal justice system in Canada must be revised to reflect societal attitudes.

"THEREFORE, your petitioners request that Parliament recognize that crimes of violence against the person are serious and abhorrent to society and amend the Criminal Code of Canada, the Bail Reform Act of 1972 and the Parole Act accordingly.


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