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US sex offender 'exiled' to Canada may serve probation stateside

[JURIST] US officials plan to request that convicted sex offender Malcolm Watson serve his three-year probation in New York instead of Canada. According to Erie County District Attorney Frank J. Clark [official website], the request is motivated by complaints from Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant [official website]. Although Watson was sentenced by a New York court [JURIST news archive] last week for endangering the welfare of a child and third-degree sexual abuse, a plea bargain permitted him to serve his probation in Canada, where he currently resides with his family. The court prohibited Walton from entering the US except to meet with a probation officer.

The US court's decision has received considerable criticism north of the border. In a provincial parliamentary debate [PDF transcript] last week, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said, "[W]e’re very much concerned with any particular jurisdiction south of the border that might want to use Ontario as a dumping ground for convicted felons." Canadian Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day previously indicated [JURIST report] that the Canadian federal government would file an application to block Watson's entry to Canada so that it does not become "a haven for pedophiles or anyone else committing a serious crime... We don't want US courts getting the notion that we just take people here that they would have put in jail." Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has called the US sentence "outrageous," but Clark told the Canadian Press that Canadian officials have over-reacted to the sentence and made it a political issue. CBC News has more. Canadian Press has additional coverage.

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