A women’s rights group says alarm bells should have gone off when the man now accused of killing three ex-girlfriends refused to sign a probation order last year prohibiting him from contacting one of them or coming within 200 metres of her.
Amanda Dale, executive director of the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, says Basil Borutski’s “pointed refusal” to sign the document was “a huge red flag.”
A refusal to sign the order doesn’t mean it lacks the weight of the law, and such probation orders take effect immediately, regardless of whether offenders sign them.
Dan Brown, a Toronto criminal defence lawyer, says the revelation about Borutski, charged Wednesday with three counts of first-degree murder, doesn’t raise any particular red flags for him.
He says a signature is little more than an acknowledgment that the offender read the order.
Borutski is accused in the deaths of 36-year-old realtor Anastasia Kuzyk, Nathalie Warmerdam, 48, and Carol Culleton, 66 — he appeared in court earlier this week to face the allegations and was ordered held in custody until his next court appearance Oct. 5.
The bodies of the three women were found within hours of one another on Tuesday in a usually sleepy area of the Ottawa Valley about 180 kilometres west of Ottawa.
Borutski, 57, went to jail in 2014 after being convicted of assaulting Kuzyk in December 2013. He was released last December, and placed on two years’ probation.
The terms of that probation required him to stay away from her and not to contact her, according to media reports. But Borutski didn’t sign it.
“It’s a pretty pointed refusal and we know that if people have understood and digested the risk factors in domestic violence, it would have been a huge red flag,” Dale said.
“He was giving somebody a message and the message wasn’t properly interpreted.”
A candlelight vigil was to be held later Friday in the town of Wilno, close to where Kuzyk’s body was discovered.