The Criminal Trial Lawyers’ Association is criticizing what it calls the de facto expulsion of a University of Calgary student convicted of a sexual offence.
Connor Neurauter pleaded guilty to sexual interference with a minor in Kamloops, B.C., in November and was sentenced earlier this month to 90 days in jail.
The case stoked outrage because the judge allowed him to delay all but one day of his sentence to May 4 — once Neurauter had completed his semester at the university.
The university has said it does not have the grounds to outright expel Neurauter, but that he has been advised not to return this semester and would be escorted away if he tried.
The lawyers’ group calls the university’s move an act of cowardice and denial of fundamental due process.
It says it does not defend Neurauter’s criminal acts, but questioned whether he should be branded an offender forever or given the opportunity to reintegrate into society.
“Allowing Mr. Neurauter to continue his education does not hurt society — it helps it,” Daniel Chivers, president of the Criminal Trial Lawyers’ Association, said in an open letter to the University of Calgary’s board of governors.
“Of all places, an institution of higher learning should understand the redemptive power of education.”
The Canadian Press