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The Ontario Court of Appeal has ended a sadistic sex-killer's dream of moving to a less secure mental institution in hopes of meeting women.

The court rebuked the Ontario Review Board yesterday for not paying heed to the extreme danger Christian Magee represented when it granted his wish to move from Ontario's maximum-security Oak Ridge mental institution to a medium-security institution in Toronto.

The court noted that psychiatric experts believe Mr. Magee, 58, remains much the same wanton killer who sexually attacked five young Ontario women from 1974-76, killing three of them.

"They agreed that his level of dangerousness has not subsided . . . that his prognosis is very poor, and that he poses a very high risk to reoffend," Madam Justice Eleanore Cronk wrote on behalf of Mr. Justice Russell Juriansz and Mr. Justice Harry LaForme.

In recent years, Mr. Magee's fantasies have come to include highly sadistic rape scenarios, cannibalism and erotic attractions to his sister and adult daughter.

Yesterday's ruling creates a roadblock to a steady trickle of psychopathic killers who have been applying for transfers based on good conduct during decades spent in high-security mental hospitals.

While psychiatrists generally view them as hard-wired for violence and incapable of change, their solid institutional conduct records can make it difficult to deny them transfers or some measure of freedom.

The appeal of Mr. Magee's transfer order was launched by the administrator of Oak Ridge. It cited a record of violence that includes Mr. Magee being found not guilty by reason of insanity in three first-degree murders:

The 1974 slaying of a 19-year-old girl Mr. Magee abducted at knifepoint. He slashed her throat, nearly severing her head, before sexually assaulting and robbing her.

A 19-year-old acquaintance Mr. Magee strangled with a shoelace and knifed in the throat.

The 1976 sex-slaying of a 15-year-old girl who accepted a ride in his truck. He strangled her, stabbed her multiple times and slashed her abdomen before raping her.

Mr. Magee also sexually assaulted and strangled a 19-year-old woman in June, 1975. Several months later, he raped a 14-year-old hitchhiker, fractured her skull with a pop bottle, and left her semi-conscious by the side of the road.

Mr. Magee also claims to have raped his sister when she was 10 and he was 12.

Although he has explained his worst attacks as attempts to win his victims' love, Mr. Magee now insists he has found religion, rehabilitated himself and wishes only to pursue a law-abiding life.

Judge Cronk said yesterday that in assessing requests to transfer to lower-security institutions, the review board has to look beyond whether a patient can be "contained" and carefully consider "the need to protect the public from Mr. Magee, Mr. Magee's mental condition, his other needs and his reintegration into society."

"Given the evidence that Mr. Magee persists in seeking a transfer to a medium-secure facility because he believes that it will facilitate his desired access to women, Mr. Magee's motivation in seeking a transfer should have sounded an alarm bell for the review board," she said.

A lawyer who acted for Mr. Magee, Daniel Brodsky, was critical of the court ruling yesterday.

"I think that any lawyer who raises a mental-disorder defence for a client who does not fully appreciate its potential consequences should be disbarred," he said. "The NCR [not criminally responsible]regime is not a less onerous system. Indeed, the psychiatric detention is frequently longer, the conditions of detention more harsh and changing your mind is not an option."