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Appeal denied for dangerous offender in 2005 sexual assault in Banff

A dangerous offender who has been denied parole multiple times since being found guilty of a horrific sexual assault in Banff in 2005 had his appeal denied.

BANFF – A dangerous offender who has been denied parole multiple times since being found guilty of a horrific sexual assault in Banff in 2005 had his appeal denied.

The Parole Board of Canada’s (PBC) appeal division upheld the previous Oct. 14, 2022 ruling to deny Albert Muckle both day and full parole. Muckle was found guilty of aggravated sexual assault and attempted murder of a young woman, Julianne Courneya, on July 11, 2005 in Banff.

“The appeal division finds that you have not raised any grounds that would cause it to intervene in the board’s decision to deny your day and full parole,” the appeal board stated in its May 16 decision.

“The criteria for granting parole are that your release does not constitute an undue risk to society … The appeal division finds that the board’s analysis was consistent with the law and the decision-making policy manual for board members and that its conclusion that your risk would be undue on day and full parole to be reasonable.”

In its seven-page decision, the appeal board found Muckle provided inadequate information to warrant the decision being appealed.

It noted he believed the parole board “altered and fabricated file information”, that his acting parole officer made up comments about him and that he inaccurately said he was not given a legal assistant.

“Your assistant was present during your hearing and in fact, provided concluding statements about your case at the end of the hearing,” the appeal board decision stated.

Muckle has a lengthy criminal record, which includes threats, property crimes, robbery, weapons possession and assaults. At his 2022 parole hearing, the board highlighted he had been involved in more than 70 security incidents and at least 10 since 2020. Of those 10, Muckle was found to be the instigator in nine of them.

“The appeal division notes that your behaviour linked to these incidents were of concern as it shows your ongoing problems with complying with the rules in the institution,” states the decision.

The PBC noted Muckle also has a past history of substance and sexual abuse, intergenerational impacts of the residential school system, family and community breakdown, loss of cultural and spiritual identity, and grew up in the foster system with “few positive role models.”

He was also assessed a high risk for family violence and not taking part in his correctional plan, but an elder review in 2013 recommended Muckle take part in cultural activities, Indigenous programming, counselling and ceremonies.

The appeal board found Muckle didn’t have an adequate release plan and he had full access to a legal assistant throughout the parole hearing.

It also added “the board considered culturally relevant alternatives to your incarceration” and that “the board reviewed your release plan and reasonably determined that it was not a viable plan, primarily due to your lack of support and the vagueness of your unconfirmed plans.”

Muckle took part in an initial elder review in 2013, but the board and appeal board found he wasn’t working with elders or Indigenous liaison officers.

“If Mr. Muckle is interested in engaging with Indigenous supports in the future, he is encouraged to reach out to elders and Indigenous liaison officers at that time,” the board’s decision stated.

Muckle comes from the Whitedog (Wabaseemong) First Nation Reserve, located about 120 kilometres northwest of Kenora, Ont.

According to the parole board’s review of facts, Muckle met Courneya and her male friend – who were out for a farewell party for a co-worker – near the Aurora nightclub on Banff Avenue and smoked a cigarette with one another. The male friend went to use an ATM and when he returned, he saw Muckle and Courneya walking away.

The two went to Central Park and sat at a picnic table, but when Courneya went to leave, Muckle grabbed her by the hair and pulled her to the ground. She was knocked unconscious when her head hit the pavement.

Muckle dragged Courneya into the bushes near the Bow River, stole $20 from her purse and left in an attempt to find drugs. He returned to the park, raped her twice and tried to strangle her with her purse strap.

Courneya was found later that morning and Muckle was arrested by the RCMP attempting to hitchhike out of town, having only been in Banff for four days since his arrival from B.C.

Muckle told police at the time he had been using crystal meth for up to five days prior to the assault, hadn’t slept for days and had been consuming “significant amounts of alcohol” before meeting Courneya.

At the time of the assault, the 21-year-old Courneya was six weeks pregnant and engaged. Courneya, who was a worker at the Rimrock Resort Hotel in Banff, later lost the baby due to the assault.

She remains in a vegetative state near her family in the Ottawa-area.

A publication ban on Courneya’s identity was ended in 2007 after her family made the request to remove the ban to aid in fundraising for her medical costs.

Muckle had previously served four years after stabbing a cab driver twice in the 1990s and was also involved in a prison riot.

The trial for the assault on Courneya had doctors deem Muckle a psychopath.

At the October 2022 parole board hearing, Muckle had his security classification downgraded to medium. The change allows him to be sent to a medium security institution.

The parole board, however, emphasized he had not taken advantage to help himself and found he had a denial of guilt.

He was deemed a dangerous offender in 2006, which gives him an indefinite prison sentence with no set release date. He is able to be considered for parole.

“The appeal division concludes that the board conducted a reasonable well justified risk assessment as a [dangerous offender],” stated the appeal board decision.

Muckle has been denied parole every two years since 2012 and has previously unsuccessfully appealed his dangerous offender status in 2012.

The PBC had previously denied both day and full parole Oct. 14, 2022.

“The appeal division is satisfied that the board complied with its statutory and legal responsibilities with respect to the unique circumstances of your case. The appeal division concludes that you were treated fairly,” the appeal decision stated.