Manitoba announces plan to address province’s bail system

Kinew Government unveils new five-point community safety plan aimed at addressing the province’s bail system, by cracking down on repeat offenders. Kurt Black has the details.

Community safety was top of mind for Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew during last Fall’s election, and on Thursday the Kinew government unveiled a five-point community safety plan aimed at addressing the province’s bail system, by cracking down on repeat offenders.

“Within the first 100 days, we will direct the Ministry of Justice to implement stronger conditions on bail to keep you safe in your community,” said Kinew.

“We’ve heard time and time again that we need to take action on bail reform, and today we are announcing that we are bringing in a stronger bail system here in Manitoba to keep you safe.”

Premier Kinew said the plan equips Crown prosecutors to consider the impacts of bail on victims and the community, particularly in cases of intimate partner violence and chronic violent offenders.

Crown attorneys will assess whether detention is necessary to maintain public confidence in the justice system and public safety having regard for ‘all the circumstances including any relevant community perspectives’.

“If we know that there’s an issue in a local community or if we know that there’s an issue in downtown or we know that this individual is causing an issue on a repeat basis, that’s now going to be factored in,” said Kinew.

The plan also includes $3 million to add 12 new Winnipeg Police Service officers to help law enforcement track down offenders who violate bail conditions, $514,000 to expand reporting capacity to inform decision-making at the provincial and federal levels, $512,000 to hire five new bail workers to increase monitoring and supervision, and a public safety forum.

“These new policies will set out our government’s clear focus on public safety and our crown attorneys’ role in ensuring and maintaining that community safety,” explained Matt Wiebe, minister of justice.

WPS acting deputy chief Dave Dalal says the new plan aligns with Bill C-48, approved by the House of Commons in December.

“Every day, police officers see the impacts first-hand of violent and repeat offenders, the impact they have on victims and the community as a whole,” said Dalal.

This broadens the reverse onus targeting repeat offenders of intimate partner violence and requires the courts to consider an accused person’s history of convictions for violence when making a bail decision.

“We welcome the opportunity to work with our partners in the criminal justice system to strengthen the bail system and to increase public safety. I believe today’s announcement aligns perfectly with the philosophy of Bill C-48.”

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