HALIFAX — A sexual predator released and deported after a controversial Parole Board of Canada decision is now arguing several charges against him should be dropped because of the passage of time.
William Shrubsall is currently serving time in a Niagara County prison for his 1996 conviction in absentia on a charge of sexual abuse in the first degree of a 17-year-old woman. He is awaiting trial for jumping bail and criminal contempt due to his flight to Canada while facing trial for the sex crime.
He was convicted in Canada in 2001 as a dangerous offender after going on a spree of sexual violence against women in Halifax, fracturing one of his victim's skulls with a baseball bat.
Caroline Wojtaszek, the district attorney for Niagara County, has opposed the recent parole board decision, noting the 47-year-old could be eligible for release in as little as two years and four months for his sexual abuse conviction.
She says if Shrubsall is convicted of jumping bail it could keep him in jail for at least an additional two years and four months, but says she must now deal with "absurd" delay arguments in a May 31 hearing.
Public defender Jenelle Faso Messer says she's yet to see evidence Canada ever refused a 2001 request for Shrubsall's extradition. She argues that after 19 years, defence witnesses are no longer available due to the failure to prosecute him sooner.
The prosecutor says Shrubsall's arguments are weak, given that he is accused of fleeing his own trial in May 1996, leaving behind a suicide note before he disappeared into Canada.
She says American prosecutors did not initially know where he was, but they applied for his extradition after his arrest for a series of brutal crimes in Halifax.
Wojtaszek also says it was logical that Canada didn't deport him for a U.S. trial at the time, as his crimes in Canada were extremely serious.