Review into Crown involvement with Shawn Rehn prompts comprehensive review of bail process
A report into the involvement of the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service (ACPS) with Shawn Rehn recommends a comprehensive review of the bail process in Alberta, including who should attend Justice of the Peace bail hearings and under what circumstances.
On January 17, 2015, Rehn shot two RCMP members at a St. Albert casino. Const. David Wynn was killed and Auxiliary Const. Derek Bond was injured. Rehn killed himself shortly afterwards. He had an extensive criminal record and outstanding warrants at the time of the shooting. In the months leading up to the shooting, a police officer attended Rehn’s bail hearings without a Crown prosecutor in front of a Justice of the Peace, a situation which happens commonly in first appearances.
“The safety of our police officers continues to weigh heavily on me as it does on all Albertans. In planning to attend this week’s funeral of Edmonton Police Const. Daniel Woodall and in recognition of all fallen members, it makes sense to review the bail process to see if there is a better way that will help protect all of us.”
Rachel Notley, Premier
The individual who will lead the review will be announced soon and will be expected to make recommendations by the end of this year to Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Kathleen Ganley for her review.
“The death of Const. Wynn and other recent tragic events demonstrate why we need to be vigilant in finding ways to do things better. It is my hope that this review will identify improvements to the bail system that will result in safer communities for our law enforcement officers and all Albertans.”
Kathleen Ganley, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General
The review into Crown involvement with Shawn Rehn was assigned to the Deputy Attorney General of Alberta in January 2015. The report was to determine if there are any processes or policies that could be improved to help prevent a repeat of this crime.
Recommendations of the Report on Shawn Rehn: A review of the involvement of the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service with Shawn Maxwell Rehn
That a comprehensive review of the conduct of bail (judicial interim release) hearings be undertaken.
The review should consider:
- who should conduct bail hearings and in what circumstances;
- how best to utilize section 524 of the Criminal Code;
- what information should be provided in bail packages prepared by policing agencies and how best to ensure the accuracy and availability of that information;
- how the Priority Prolific Offender Program and Habitual Offender Management programs can be utilized effectively to ensure accurate information is available during bail proceedings; and
- the co-ordination of bail proceedings between offices of the ACPS and with offices of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC), and other areas related to the conduct of bail hearings that are appropriate.
*Section 524 of the Criminal Code requires the court to cancel the release order of an accused when a judge finds that an accused has contravened or is about to contravene that order, or when the judge has reasonable grounds to believe that the accused has committed an indictable offence while on a form of release (bail). Once the criteria in section 524 are met, the judge has no discretion and must cancel the previously existing release order. This section also gives police officers the authority to arrest a person without warrant where the officer believes on reasonable grounds that the person has, or is about to, contravene a release order, or where they have reasonable grounds to believe that the person has committed an indictable offence while bound by a form of release.
It is recommended that a report be made to the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General with recommendations on the conduct of bail hearings.
That, pending the receipt of that report:
- education be reviewed and developed to ensure that it provides effective guidance to Crown prosecutors on their decisions about bail (judicial interim release), and that the education specifically address the use of section 524 of the Criminal Code;
- ACPS consider implementing or enhancing guidelines respecting the recording of information, and the management of files, including the use of PRISM to better record steps taken in a prosecution and to archive this information;
- current education programs respecting decisions to prosecute be reviewed to ensure they address the significant public interest in proceeding with compliance and breach charges where there is a reasonable likelihood of conviction.