A review ordered after the fatal shooting of a St. Albert police officer makes 31 recommendations on the province’s bail system. A key suggestion would see Crown prosecutors replacing police officers at bail hearings.
“We’ll be consulting widely on this including with police, federal prosecutors, and defence counsel to ensure that the bail system continues to function as usual,” Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley said Friday.
The province requested the review after Shawn Rehn fatally shot Const. David Wynn and injured Aux. Const. Derek Bond at the Apex Casino in St. Albert on January 17, 2015. Rehn was out on bail at the time, and his lengthy criminal record hadn’t been brought up at his latest bail hearing where a police officer was present.
Ganley says the province has already moved on a number of the recommendations in the report, but needs to consider the repercussions of having Crown prosecutors handle bail hearings instead of police.
“If we decide to move to Crown prosecutors replacing police presenters at bail hearings, this change may have an impact on our current process which is 24 hours a day, seven days a week bail process.”
“Alberta is the only province in Canada that conducts 24 hour bail, and this unique aspect of the system will be difficult to maintain if some of the other recommendations in the review are implemented,” Ganley said.
The government says there were about 60,000 criminal arrests in the province in 2015 that were followed by a first-instance bail hearing. Police were present at 99 per cent of those hearings. The review was conducted by former federal Crown prosecutor Nancy Irving. (kb/sj/canadian press)
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