EDMONTON — Alberta is reviewing its bail procedures following the murder of a Mountie in January.
The review is to determine who should conduct bail hearings and under what circumstances, Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley announced Tuesday.
“We need to know if an improved bail process can respect people’s rights but at the same time better protect our communities and the police,” Ganley told a news conference at the legislature.
It will be conducted by someone outside Alberta’s justice system, she added.
Ganley ordered the review following a report into the death of RCMP Const. David Wynn, who was shot at a casino in St. Albert just north of Edmonton on Jan. 17.
His partner, auxiliary Const. Derek Bond was wounded but survived.
They had entered the casino in the early morning hours to investigate a stolen truck.
The killer, Shawn Rehn, was found dead hours later at a home east of St. Albert.
Rehn had a lengthy history of criminal and violent behaviour, but was free after a bail hearing where a police officer — and not a Crown prosecutor — was present.
The case raised the question of whether Crown prosecutors, with more courtroom experience, should attend all bail hearings.
A survey by The Canadian Press of justice and Crown officials from across Canada revealed a patchwork of policies, but Alberta is the only province that predominantly relies on police rather than Crowns at initial bail hearings.
Outside of Alberta, provinces use only Crowns or a combination of prosecutors and police.
The report on Rehn, released Tuesday, revealed that Rehn was a career criminal for two decades when he died.
Between 1995 and 2015 he was convicted of 68 offences, most of them property crimes but some for violence and for drug use.
He was charged with breaching his bail conditions on 10 different occasions, resulting in 21 charges.
He was last in custody in September 2014, on various charges. He was arrested after he was caught riding a stolen motorcycle and carrying a spring-loaded knife.
The officer who represented the Crown at the bail hearing in front of the justice of the peace noted Rehn was wanted on outstanding warrants and was not allowed to carry weapons, but didn’t mention Rehn’s past convictions or his two stints behind bars in the federal system.
Rehn was released on bail.
The RCMP have questioned why Rehn was allowed out on the streets.
Alberta Justice has said that police officers are used for initial bail hearings to help speed up the court process.