Listen Live
Listen Live
HomeNewsUpdated BC bail data leaves little to be desired: Mike Morris

Updated BC bail data leaves little to be desired: Mike Morris

Prince George-Mackenzie BC United MLA Mike Morris is appalled by a report from the BC Prosecution Service where the majority of accused violent offenders prosecutors have sought to keep behind bars have been granted bail.

The data, which was unveiled yesterday (Tuesday), covered nearly 48-hundred bail hearings between November of 2022 and December of 2023.

Morris told Vista Radio in an interview he was disappointed to see judges grant bail nearly 60 percent of overall cases and nearly 57% of cases involving violence.

“How long do you go when you’ve got somebody that one of your thirty convictions for violent offences before a judge has to reasonably think that this person might be incorrigible and maybe he may not commit this offense but it is highly likely given the history and the circumstances around the current offense he is looking at.”

- Advertisement -

“The onus is on the Crown Counsel to ensure that these judges receive all the information as completely and in a full some manner that they can.”

Simply put, Morris believes there are too many violent offenders being put back on the streets.

“If the laws of Canada are saying that we have to release violent offenders each and every time, I think that needs to be appealed and taken back to the Supreme Court of Canada to change the law if in fact that is the case. I don’t think it is as I think Crown Counsel can do a better job presenting the evidence.”

“When you look at their quote, they were saying that Crown Counsel seek restrictive bail conditions in approximately three-quarters of those hearings and sought detention in the other quarter and judges ordered detention in less than half of that quarter. So, we are talking about a small percentage of cases where the judges held people in custody.”

The outgoing MLA noted two more things that come to mind when eye-balling this report.

“Number one, what kind of an argument did prosecutors put up in the first place that would support the individual in custody? Oftentimes, that takes a fair amount of effort and work and a lot of times Crown Counsel is overworked and they don’t have enough time to spend on their files. But, the other part of it, which I have never seen any action on is that the crown can appeal a bail decision by a judge and I think the situation has far passed the point where everybody knows that this is a serious problem across Canada.”

“Why has Crown Counsel not appealed some of the most egregious situations that we have seen in British Columbia where prisoners have been released and commit another serious crime with violence and firearms where the victim has been killed or injured. Why haven’t those decisions been appealed?

The province updated its bail policy in November 2022, directing the prosecution service to seek detention of repeat violent offenders charged with violent or weapons offences unless they can be satisfied bail conditions can mitigate the threat to public safety.

- Advertisement -

Despite this, the number of cases where prosecutors opposed bail decreased according to the data.

In January, new federal laws were to give repeat violent offenders a tougher time gaining bail.

The updated measures place the onus on the accused to prove why they should be released.

They are aimed at those accused of serious firearms and weapons offenses, as well as allegations of intimate partner violence.

- Advertisment -
- Advertisment -
- Advertisement -

Continue Reading