It’s come out today that notorious hockey molester Graham James was apparently pardoned in 2007. (Canadian Press/Globe and Mail)

Before you freak out and start screaming at the computer making the cat worry for your sanity, here is the important part for perspective:

A pardon does not erase a person’s criminal record, but it means the information is kept in a separate file and doesn’t show up on checks of the Canadian Police Information Centre, a key law-enforcement database used by the RCMP and other police forces.

In the case of someone convicted of serious sex offences, the criminal record is kept apart from others, but the name is flagged in the CPIC system. According to the parole board, that means details of the person’s conviction would be discovered by a check that takes place if they apply to work with children, the disabled or other vulnerable people.

So, it sounds like a pardon doesn’t mean the same thing in law that it does in English. Assuming James’ crimes are “serious sex offenses”, he’d still be thwarted from working with Canadian teens by a criminal record check. That should be enough to keep him away from kids and teens in this country. And that’s the most important thing.

Though it still makes the justice system sound awful.

As for James working with kids in other countries? Not having a pardon didn’t stop him coaching back in 2001. (CBC)