ALBERTA

Allyson McConnell, Mom Who Drowned Sons, Goes Before Immigration Board

04/04/2013 06:54 EDT | Updated 06/04/2013 05:12 EDT
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EDMONTON - An Australian woman who has finished her jail term in Alberta for drowning her two children is to have an immigration detention review on Friday.

The review for Allyson McConnell is a routine step where the Immigration and Refugee Board will decide whether she should be further detained in Edmonton or released from custody and removed from the country.

If the board decides to detain her, she will have another hearing in seven days, said board spokeswoman Melissa Anderson.

McConnell earned early release Thursday after serving two-thirds of a 15-month sentence for manslaughter.

Alberta Justice Minister Jonathan Denis is asking asked Ottawa to intervene, grant a stay and keep the woman here pending the outcome of an appeal of her conviction and sentence.

Court heard McConnell was depressed and suicidal when she drowned her two young boys in the bathtub of her home in Millet, a small town south of Edmonton, in 2010.

She later drove to the city, jumped off a busy overpass and was rushed to hospital.

A judge ordered that McConnell, under suicide watch, serve her sentence at an Edmonton psychiatric hospital. It's not known if her doctors have also cleared her release.

The immigration board issued a removal order against the woman last fall.

As soon as she finished her jail term, McConnell was automatically transferred into the custody of the Canada Border Services Agency, said spokeswoman Lisa White.

She explained that if the immigration board decides McConnell should be released from custody, it could impose conditions, such as reporting regularly, before she is scheduled to fly out of the country.

Alberta Justice spokesman Josh Stewart said Denis spoke with federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney late Wednesday.

Kenney told Denis he would do anything he could to help, said Stewart.

"I don't doubt they want to do the right thing on this."

He said under the Immigration Act, Kenney has the power to grant a stay on deportation and keep McConnell in custody under she completes her entire jail sentence.

That would give the Alberta Court of Appeal another five months to hear the appeal. If she returned to Australia and the court ordered a new trial or more time behind bars, the extradition process to get her back would be costly and time-consuming, Stewart said.

He said Kenney has not yet agreed to issue a stay. A spokeswoman with Kenney's office would not comment.

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