Group demands inquiry on government bail conditions
Weeks following the brutal death of Susan John, 45, and her mother Saramma Varughese, 71, on Thanksgiving a large protest and petition have been set up demanding a public inquiry into how the provincial government grants bail.
The two women were murdered in their home at 81 Rotary Dr. early Thanksgiving morning after a surprise knife attack. John’s daughter, 20-year-old York University student Sarah John, managed to escape but was later brought to hospital for her injuries.
Soon after the funeral of John and Varughese in October the group Resource to Empower Societal Safety in Canada Uniting Everyone (RESSCUE) was founded.
Consisting of 25 various church and community organizations, the group has set up an online petition that specifically demands a government inquiry into how bail is granted to individuals charged with sexual or violent crimes.
At press time, the petition had collected more than 2,000 signatures. RESSCUE is also advocating on tougher laws against individuals who commit sexual based offences.
The group has plans for a large rally and protest to take place at Queen’s Park on Nov. 22 and is looking for public support in their quest to help other innocent victims of violence.
RESSCUE convener Santhosh Zac Koshi says the need for reform extends beyond the situation of the Varughese family.
“We need a safer Canada,” he said.
Koshi estimates the rally will be a huge event, with 2,500 people expected to attend. He said community leaders, bishops, and politicians from all levels of government are going to participate and also confirmed Varughese’s son will make a speech.
As for Susan’s daughter Sarah, Koshi said her involvement in the group and the rally would be extremely limited despite the group’s best efforts.
“We are trying, but she will not come out and speak.” Koshi said. The RESSCUE convener explained while Sarah has been “in a depression” she is supportive of the group’s mission.
Koshi also repeatedly emphasized how the group’s mandate extended beyond the tragic mother-daughter double-murder case.
“This is not only for this moment,” he said, “this is also for the victims of this type of violence and those who are on bail.
“We need a tougher bail system,” he stressed. “Law abiding citizens are not safe.”
The man accused in the attack is Nathaniel O’Brien, 31, whose residence was the house next door to the Varughese household.
O’Brien was released on bail last May after being charged with six offences, including aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault with a weapon. He has now been charged in this case with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.
He is currently being held in custody and is awaiting trial.
For those wishing to attend, the rally, vigil and public protest for Susan John and Saramma Varughese is set to take place at 2:30 p.m. on Sat. Nov. 22 in front of the south door of Queen’s Park in the Ontario Legislative Assembly Compound.