OTTAWA, October 20, 2016 – Senator Bob Runciman’s Bill to ensure judges have all the facts before they release dangerous criminals on bail has passed the Senate.
Senators voted today to approve Bill S-217, which will now go to the House of Commons, where it will be sponsored by St. Albert-Edmonton MP Michael Cooper.
The Bill was introduced earlier this 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.
Michael Cooper who will now shepherd the Bill in the House of Commons stated: “I am pleased that the Senate has moved quickly to pass Bill S-217, which will close a significant loophole in the bail application process. Constable Wynn should be alive today, and I believe that he would be had Bill S-217 been the law. This Bill will help ensure that people with extensive criminal records like Shawn Rehn remain behind bars where they belong. I look forward to shepherding the Bill through the House of Commons where I hope it will receive speedy passage.”
Senator Runciman who brought the Bill forward stated: “Constable Wynn’s widow, Shelly, made it very clear in powerful testimony at committee that this small change could prevent another family from going through the hell that she and her three sons have gone through since David Wynn’s murder,”
MP Michael Cooper and Senator Runciman worked closely on the legislation and both testified at committee last June when the Bill was studied.
For more information, please contact:
Dane Lloyd, Parliamentary Assistant, Office of Michael Cooper M.P.
(613) 996-4722 (office) or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.