Wynn’s Law unlikely to pass final vote

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The widow of the late Const. David Wynn is devastated that the bill named after her slain husband is unlikely to pass in the House of Commons later this spring.

Shelly MacInnis-Wynn spoke at the St. Albert Inn on Friday morning about bill S-217, better known as Wynns Law, with St. Albert MP Michael Cooper, Edmonton-Griesbach MP Kerry Diotte and Alberta Federation of Police Associations’ President Michael Elliott.

“The last few days have been devastating, heartbreaking and even traumatizing because of the way our prime minister has treated this bill,” MacInnis-Wynn said. “It breaks my heart to see the leader of this country cannot see past blind partisanship.”

Right now the prosecutor may introduce information about an accused’s criminal history during a bail hearing, but it is not mandatory. Wynn’s Law aims to make it compulsory.

Earlier this week the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights recommended that Parliament not pass bill S-217 into law. The bill spent the last few weeks in the committee for a review and will then come back to the House of Commons for a final vote later this spring.

The bill passed second reading in the House in March with a vote of 154 to 128 despite government opposition. It has also faced Liberal opposition in committee.

Wynn’s Law is named after the St. Albert constable who was shot in the line of duty by Shawn Rehn in Jan. 2015. Wynn later died of his injuries in hospital.

Rehn was out on bail despite 30 outstanding warrants and a lengthy criminal record involving violence and ignoring court orders. Wynn was attempting to arrest Rehn outside the Apex Casino after a licence plate check.

Rehn’s criminal history was never heard during the bail hearing. Wynn’s Law would change this.

The Liberal government opposed the bill, citing it would bog down the bail process but Cooper disagrees.

Cooper said in most cases prosecutors are already reviewing the criminal history of the accused during a bail hearing and Wynn’s Law would ensure that it happens during every bail hearing.

“We have lost the battle but we have not lost the war,” Elliot said.

MacInnis-Wynn said that although she is devastated by the government’s decision she is proud of all the hard work they have done and their plans to continue to fight for the bill.

“As long as this loophole exists I’m going to keep fighting,” Cooper said. “Just because it’s defeated doesn’t mean we can’t keep up the fight.”

Earlier in the week Rona Ambrose, leader of the official opposition, called on the prime minister in the House for “gutting” the bill.

“Now we are at committee where no one is watching and the prime minister has ordered it to be gutted. This is disgusting and the prime minister should be ashamed of himself.”

Cooper expects the bill to come back to the House for a final vote later this spring.

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Jennifer Henderson

Jennifer Henderson joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2016. She writes about municipal, provincial and federal politics; court and crime; general news and features.