Crown argued against pedophile's release

The facilities and grounds of the Brockville Mental Health Centre.


BROCKVILLE, Ont. -- The Ontario Review Board (ORB) went against the recommendation of the Crown when it decided, earlier this month, to grant a conditional discharge to a pedophile and child killer.

James Sidney Allen, 51, was found not criminally responsible for the murder of eight-year-old Ricky Johnston in 1976.

ORB documents note that on June 13 Allen lured the boy to a swampy area east of Ottawa, made him strip down to his socks and strangled him. The document adds "the possibility of a sexual assault existed."

A spokesman for the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General confirmed Friday that the Crown recommended against giving Allen more latitude in the community at his ORB hearing on Nov. 9.

"The Crown took the position at the hearing that the accused should continue to be subject to a detention order. Further, the Crown opposed a discharge in the circumstances of the case," Jason Gennaro wrote in an e-mail to QMI Agency.

On December 3, the ORB granted Allen a discharge subject to a number of conditions.

Allen is currently living in an apartment two blocks from the area of Commonwealth Public School and Brockville Collegiate Institute.

David Coombs, of the Upper Canada District School Board, said police officers have visited the schools - and contacted all the public schools in the city - to reassure principals that police will intervene if Allen is spotted near school property.

The decision to discharge Allen came as a surprise to neighbourhood residents, who have expressed concern for their safety and that of their children.

Sandra Johnston, the victim's younger sister, said Friday she was surprised to hear the ORB decision was contrary to the Crown's recommendation.

She plans to talk to other family members before deciding whether to pursue an appeal.

"I think the possibility is good that we will," she said. "I'm almost convinced he's going to re-offend."

The conditions of Allen's discharge require him to stay away from children under 16 unless accompanied by an adult; reside report to the "person in charge" at the Brockville Mental Health Centre (BMHC) at least once a week; abstain from drugs and alcohol; and submit breath and/or urine samples to the BMHC to prove he did not consume alcohol or drugs.

He is also required to participate in a BMHC rehabilitation program and accept treatment "upon the accused's consent" when required.

Attempts to contact him Friday were unsuccessful.

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