HUNTER: Sudbury cop killer slams parole board for denial of day parole

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Spare a moment, if you will, for poor Clinton Suzack.


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He’s not happy that the National Parole Board is keeping him on ice and, uh, not following the rules as he interprets them.

Who is Suzack?

On Oct. 7, 1993, Suzack and accomplice Peter Pennett ambushed, pistol-whipped and then shot to death Sudbury cop Joe MacDonald as he made a routine traffic stop.

McDonald, 29, died not far from where he lived with his wife Nancy and two infant daughters.

The killers were convicted of first-degree murder.

Suzack, now 55, wants day parole but the National Parole Board of Canada doesn’t seem quite ready to spring him on the public even after 26 years in the slammer.

In previous parole board hearings, Suzack has expressed remorse and acknowledged the “suffering and consequences” for MacDonald’s family. While the board offered escorted temporary absences and a minimum security prison, Suzack turned up his nose.


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Slain Sudbury Const. Joe MacDonald was gunned down by drug dealers Clinton Suzack and Peter Pennett after a routine traffic stop in Sudbury in October 1993.
Slain Sudbury Const. Joe MacDonald was gunned down by drug dealers Clinton Suzack and Peter Pennett after a routine traffic stop in Sudbury in October 1993. Photo by Sun files

And he now says the board erred in April and proceeded to launch an appeal.

The crux of his beef is that the board failed to take into account “Indigenous Principles” and gave him an “Unfair/Inadequate Risk Assessment.”

“You explain that there is a direct link between your systemic and background factors as an Indigenous person and your criminal acting out,” the board begins in its response. “You explain the hurdles and what you describe as unfair treatment during your sentence and how you have remained on your healing journey.”

The tribunal, the cop killer sniffs, did not take into account Gladue principals in their ruling.

For the uninitiated, Gladue principles are a tool for the judiciary to consider the experiences of Indigenous people, including residential schools, poverty and the whole shameful gamut.


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  1. Slain Sudbury Const. Joe MacDonald was gunned down by drug dealers Clinton Suzack and Peter Pennett after a routine traffic stop in Sudbury in October 1993.

    Cop killer loses day parole but could gain some freedom this summer

  2. Clinton Suzack, now 55, has been imprisoned since he and Peter Pennett were convicted of first-degree murder for killing Sudbury Police Const. Joe MacDonald on Oct. 7, 1993.

    Cop killer’s tormented past explains violent behaviour: Parole Board of Canada

Generally, I’m in favour of taking these factors into account at sentencing. But my line is drawn at murderers, rapists and pedophiles.

And unfortunately, what is a humane principle and good law is too often being exploited.

Gladue has become the de facto hail Mary for violent criminals.

“You submit that the Board’s decision did not provide proper consideration for the Gladue principles and condemns you to an unjustified and indefinite incarceration in a medium-security institution where you have nothing left to gain,” the board wrote.

Officials want Suzack to have a gradual reentry to society but, no, he wants it all. And the board? They just don’t “comprehend” Gladue.


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The board writes: “You ask how you can be blamed for not responding to the punitive sanctions of a State that was the root of your trauma.”

And on and on for five more dreary pages.

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In the end, the appeal board came to the same conclusion the last review board did: No go.

“The Appeal Division affirms the Board’s decision of April 30, 2021, to deny your day parole,” they wrote.

But the board did order the Parole Board to review Suzack’s case for escorted temporary absences, unescorted temporary absences or day parole within the next 12 months.

Reading the appeal decision, Suzack appears to believe Gladue is some sort of magic bullet that can lift him away from the gray walls of his existence. It is not and cannot.

Least of all for a cop killer who sounds like he’s a petulant teen gaming the system.



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