After hearing from almost 30 witnesses over three weeks, the jury tasked with making recommendations arising from the murders of Carol Culleton, Anastasia Kuzyk and Nathalie Warmerdam delivered 86 recommendations last Tuesday June 28 2022. Above: Valerie Warmerdam, victim’s daughter, speaking at inquest.
The jury’s decision attracted widespread national and international media coverage. Sarah Boesveld in UK’s The Guardian newspaper introduced a detailed report with: “A community in rural Canada has made a series of transformative recommendations at a coroner’s inquest that – if adopted – could position the country’s most populous province as a leader in preventing femicides, particularly those carried out by an intimate partner.”
Top of the list of recommendations was the request that the Ontario Government “formally declare Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) as an epidemic.” Evidence had been introduced that since Basil Borutski’s murderous rampage in September 2015, 111 women in Ontario have been killed by their current or former partner. The jury also wants prominence given to the word “femicide” by having it included as a cause of death by coroners and added to the Criminal Code of Canada so as to highlight the killing of women and girls because of their gender.
Much of the evidence given during the inquest held in Pembroke focused on the perceived deficiencies of the criminal justice system and probation services that allowed Borutski to dodge the penal consequences of his decades-old record of violence including partner abuse. He had served jail terms for assaulting Kuzyk and Warmerdam, was on probation at the time of the murders, and was also subject to a weapons ban. Two years before the three murders that he carried out in just over an hour, he had been officially identified as being “high risk.”
Witnesses, including Valerie Warmerdam (Nathalie’s daughter) gave evidence outlining Warmerdam’s and Kuzyk’s constant terror that Borutski might kill them or harm their families.
The jury’s recommendations also emphasized the need for “significant financial investments” as being necessary in ending IPV and also wants consideration of implementing disclosure protocols which permits individuals to check if their partner has a record of IPV.
In commenting on the verdict, Valerie Warmerdam called for action on the part of the relevant authorities who will receive the recommendations saying “I want change. These recommendations are a good start if they are actioned. That’s a big If.”