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  • Print publication year: 2014
  • Online publication date: October 2014

7 - Criminal defense and the problem of client selection

Summary

How can you represent that person?

Kenneth Murray, a criminal defense attorney in a small town north of Toronto, Ontario, was retained by Paul Bernardo to defend him against charges of kidnapping, rape, and murder. Bernardo had been arrested in connection with several rapes that had occurred elsewhere in Ontario, and the police suspected him of involvement in the murder of two teenaged girls who had disappeared and whose bodies had been found with signs of sexual abuse. The police searched Bernardo’s house and found no incriminating evidence. Subsequently, Bernardo told his lawyer, Murray, that there were cameras placed in the bedroom of his house and that he and his wife had not only tortured, raped, and murdered the two girls, but also had videotaped the acts. (Bernardo’s wife was represented by separate lawyers. Bernardo wanted his lawyer to see the tapes in order to establish his defense that it was his wife, not Bernardo, who had killed the girls.) Murray went to Bernardo’s house and, following Bernardo’s instructions, found the videotapes hidden in a light fixture. Murray brought the tapes back to his office and viewed them. They indeed showed several hours of horrific acts by Bernardo and his wife, including the wife administering a dose of toxic gas to her own sister, which subsequently resulted in her sister’s death.

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