KITCHENER, CANADA — "I was in error," Justice Michael Epstein said. With that admission, the judge revealed he will now consider jailing pedophile Dan Magda forever.

It's the latest twist in a long-running case that has angered victims and shaken the justice system, while struggling to keep up with the law.

Epstein admitted Friday that he misunderstood the law when he ruled last spring that it's unconstitutional for a court to declare a criminal a dangerous offender. A dangerous offender can be locked up indefinitely as a threat to the public.

"I have incorrectly found the sections (around dangerous offenders) to be constitutionally invalid," Epstein said. "I am going to reverse my decision."

He said he grasped his mistake after reading other rulings and speaking to other judges.

His reversal allows deputy Crown attorney Karey Katzsch to argue once again that Magda, 42, should be declared a dangerous offender after sexually abusing five boys. Those arguments will be made in court at a future date.

Declaring someone a dangerous offender is meant to protect Canadians from the most dangerous violent and sexual predators. Schoolgirl killer Paul Bernardo is a dangerous offender.

Magda once told a psychiatrist: "I'm a monster. I hate it. I'm the worst person in society."

He showed no expression Friday while sitting in the prisoner's box, bearded and wearing a blue hoodie and glasses.

The Kitchener man began abusing three boys in 1994. Two were 10, one was six. Convicted in 2007, he was given a two-year sentence decried as too short by his victims' families.

The justice system then released Magda early for good behaviour, after just eight months in jail. He went on to victimize two more boys, aged 10 and three. He was convicted again in 2012 and has remained in custody while awaiting sentencing.

Epstein reversed himself in part because his first ruling cited a B.C. ruling that dangerous-offender provisions are unconstitutional. The B.C. ruling he cited has now been overturned on appeal.

ByJeff OuthitWaterloo Region Record