No Place For Bounty Hunters in Canada

The Canadian and American justice systems have many similarities but they also differ dramatically in the area of bail for those charged with criminal offences.

While both jurisdictions favour the release of alleged offenders on specific conditions pending trial, including the posting of bail, bounty hunters and bail bondsmen proliferate in the United States. In Canada, bail bondsmen and bounty hunters are illegal and to world-wide critics of the practice, immoral and discriminatory.

And Canada is not alone. Most countries, with the exception of the Philipines, will charge a bounty hunter with kidnapping if they remove a citizen, albeit a fugitive, from their soil. The authority of a bounty hunter does not extend beyond the jurisdiction of his or her home country or state and even in America, where several states have outlawed bounty hunters, including Illinois, Kentucky, Wisconsin and Oregon, a fugitive-finder must exercise extreme caution.

That is why the world’s best known bounty hunters, Duane and Beth Chapman, aka Dog the Bounty Hunter’s, recent threats to capture Oscar-winning actor Randy Quaid, now living in Vancouver, can’t be taken for more than a publicity ploy timed for the start of their new season on A&E television.

Dog surely knows that Canada and the U.S. entered into a memorandum of understanding in 1988 that provides there will be no cross-border kidnapping of Canadians.

He certainly is intimately familiar with the aftermath of interfering with a U.S. citizen on foreign soil after the clandestine removal of sex offender and Max Factor trust-fund beneficiary, Andrew Luster from Mexico. Luster was successfully returned to California to serve his 124-year sentence. Dog went home to Hawaii and was later arrested by police as a result of an extradition request by the Mexican government. After a night in jail he posted bail and eventually the Mexican authorities dropped the criminal charges against him. It made for good television.

There are, however, clever ways to fool a fugitive into slipping back into the United States so that a legal capture can occur. Businessman Fred J. Gilliland fled the United States after his massive securities frauds were uncovered. He escaped to West Vancouver where it was reported he lived in the lap of luxury. Gilliland had ripped off hundreds of people and had more than just a few enemies as a result of his criminal behavior. One of his enemies was a British Columbia resident who alleged he had been suckered into one of Gilliland’s fraudulent schemes and lost $200,000 dollars.

Brian Van Vlack, who described himself as a private investigator, befriended Gilliland, eventually luring him for lunch to Point Roberts, a sleepy beach town, that happened to be a sliver of land that was part of the State of Washington. Just as lunch began, American police emerged, arrested Gilliland and returned him to Florida to face the music.

I suspect that Randy Quaid will not be as gullible or cocky as Gilliland, and after all, why would Quaid visit the U.S? He has pretty much burned all his bridges there.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang