ALBERTA

Former Alberta man declared dangerous offender in Ontario courtroom

11/19/2014 11:20 EST | Updated 01/19/2015 05:59 EST
CALGARY - The sister of a woman who was found murdered in her Calgary condominium in July 1999 says she gets little comfort from a dangerous offender designation given to a man who had once been accused of the crime.

Scott McLaughlin, 45, was ordered to be jailed indefinitely by a judge in Windsor, Ont., this week.

Court was told he had more than 60 criminal convictions including the 2009 sexual assault of a 71-year-old Ontario woman.

Fifteen years ago, he was convicted of second-degree murder in the strangulation death of Gail Foley, but he successfully appealed and the charge was stayed.

On Wednesday, Patsy Foley Cunningham said she was relieved to hear McLaughlin would be behind bars for a long time.

However, given his lengthy and violent criminal record, she wondered why it took so long coming.

“It’s about time and it’s just sad how many people had to ... be badly hurt or just plain robbed by people like him," she said.

No one else was ever charged with Gail Foley’s murder and Calgary police say unless new evidence surfaces, they won’t investigate further.

McLaughlin actually spent six years behind bars before winning his freedom in the Foley case.

His conviction was overturned when Chief Justice Catherine Fraser ruled the case against him was a circumstantial one and ordered a new trial.

Gary Cornfield, acting chief Crown at the prosecutor's office in Calgary, said at the time that a long, hard look was taken at the case before the decision was made to stay the charge.

He suggested there were concerns about the credibility of witnesses and his office concluded they were unlikely to get a conviction.

Foley's naked body was found on the floor of her basement bedroom on July 22, 1999.

She had been strangled and possibly sexually assaulted.

Justice Peter Martin, the judge in McLaughlin's first trial, had said numerous police wire-tapped phone conversations between the accused and several people while he was at the Remand Centre proved his guilt.

(CHQR, The Canadian Press)

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