Eby blames Parole Board of Canada and Senate after Randall Hopley escapes from Vancouver halfway house.
B.C. Premier David Eby lashed out at the Parole Board of Canada on Sunday, following the disappearance of a notorious high-risk child sex offender in Vancouver.
“I and I imagine all British Columbians are deeply disturbed to hear about the release of a sex offender who targets children,” said Eby, following a warning from the Vancouver Police Department that 58-year-old Randall Hopley had walked away from his Vancouver halfway house.
The VPD said Hopley was last seen on Saturday at 3 p.m.
“I don’t understand why there weren’t sufficient safeguards put in place by the parole board on this individual to prevent this from happening,” said Eby, speaking from the premiers’ conference in Halifax. “That he was insufficiently supervised and able to walk away from the halfway house.
“Everybody with a four-year-old in their life is thinking about that child right now and the fact that this man is at large.”
Randall Hopley became well known across British Columbia after he abducted a sleeping three-year-old boy from a second-floor bedroom in Sparwood in 2011.
Hopley kept the child trapped for four days in a rural cabin before returning him physically unharmed after the boy’s parents made a public plea.
At the time, Hopley had convictions for abduction of a person under the age of 14, sexual assault, assault and break-and-enters. He has committed three offences of a sexual nature against children in the past.
Hopley received a six-year sentence for the Sparwood abduction, served his full term, and was released in October 2018 subject to a long-term supervision order that he reside at a halfway house, respect a curfew and not be near children.
In January 2023, the Parole Board of Canada said Hopley had violated the supervision order after allegedly being caught using a computer at a public library — less than a metre from a group of children.
At the time, the parole board recommended criminal charges be approved by the B.C. attorney general against Hopley and extended his long-term supervision order because he was at high risk to reoffend.
“Your [Hopley] release in the community has been marred by suspensions and breaches and you do not appear to understand or appreciate your risk level,” the parole board decision said. “You deny wrongdoing, which is worrisome, and you did not provide any reasonable explanation for your behaviours.”
“To date, no appropriate program of supervision has been established that will adequately protect society from your [Hopley’s] risk of reoffending.”
Eby said that the Hopley case should prompt the federal Senate to approve a bail reform bill that has been proposed by the B.C. government. The bill seeks to amend the Criminal Code of Canada to make it harder for repeat, violent offenders to get bail.
“It’s hard to underline the importance of ensuring the safety of our kids,” Eby said.
“I look to the Senate to approve the bail reform bill as quickly as possible. It’s unacceptable that they are sitting on this bill. It is compromising the safety of British Columbians.”
Hopley is five-foot-nine and weighs about 175 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes. When he was last seen he was wearing all black: coat, pants and hat.
— With a file from Lora Grindlay and The Canadian Press