BAIL BILL HEADED TO HOUSE COMMITTEE
OTTAWA, March 9, 2017 – Senator Bob Runciman says he was gratified to see Members of Parliament put partisan considerations aside and vote to support his bill to close a loophole in the bail hearing process that cost an Alberta Mountie his life.
In the 2nd Reading vote last night, MPs voted 154-128 in favour of Bill S-217, which would require prosecutors to introduce the criminal record of suspects at bail hearings. It will now go to the House of Commons Justice committee for study later this month.
The bill was introduced last year in response to the murder of RCMP Constable David Wynn in Alberta in January 2015 by career criminal Shawn Rehn, who had been released on bail the previous fall and then failed to appear in court. It was never mentioned at his bail hearing that Rehn had more than 50 criminal convictions, some involving violence, and others for ignoring court orders and failing to appear in court.
Right now, the prosecutor can introduce evidence at a bail hearing about the accused’s criminal record, and whether he is currently facing other criminal charges or has failed to appear in court in the past, but it is not required. Bill S-217 would require this evidence to be introduced.
“More than 20 Liberal MPs voted in favour of Bill S-217, even though the government says it doesn’t support the legislation,” Runciman said. “The bill still has to go through committee and pass 3rd Reading, so the battle isn’t won, but this was a significant step forward.”
Runciman wrote Liberal MPs last month explaining the bill and urging them to support it. He also credited St. Albert-Edmonton MP Michael Cooper, the bill’s sponsor in the House of Commons, for reaching out to numerous Liberal MPs to build support.
“Michael Cooper has been tireless in his work on this legislation,” Runciman said.
For more information, please contact:
Barry Raison, Director of Parliamentary Affairs, Office of Senator Bob Runciman
(613) 943-4020 (office) or by e-mail at email@example.com.