In June of 1988, 11-year-old Christopher Stephenson was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and murdered. His killer, Joseph Fredericks, was a convicted psychopathic child molester with a monstrous criminal record. Fredericks was out of prison on federal statutory release when he abducted Christopher from a Brampton, Ontario shopping mall on Father’s Day weekend 24 years ago.
Mr. Danson represented Christopher’s parents, Jim and Anna Stephenson, in a negligence action against the Federal and Provincial Governments as well as represented the Stephensons in a five month inquest which examined the entire Canadian correctional/parole system and the provincial mental health system.
Many of the Stephenson jury recommendations have been implemented and the inquest represents a fundamental turning point for reform of the justice system to protect the public at large.
The inquest into Christopher’s death produced the following outcomes:
- The Ontario government enacted Christopher’s Law – a provincial sex offender registry
- The Federal Government established a national sex offender registry
- The unproclaiming capping provisions of the Criminal Code (s. 672.4 and 672.5), a matter dealt with by the Supreme Court of Canada in LePage and Winko, have been abandoned by the Federal Government
- The Federal Government established a national DNA data bank for offenders
- The Federal Government enacted long term offender legislation,
- Critical administrative changes have been made allowing for the sharing of information between federal and provincial correctional facilities and mental health agencies
Below are several news clips that discuss the murder of Christopher Stephenson and the inquest into his death.