We are writing to inform your readers of a simple piece of legislation now before the House of Commons that has the potential to save lives, but that the government is opposing for partisan political reasons.
Bill S-217 – Wynn’s Law – was introduced to prevent a repeat of the tragic error that cost RCMP Constable David Wynn his life in January 2015. Wynn was murdered and another officer wounded as they tried to apprehend a dangerous career criminal who had jumped bail.
The killer, Shawn Rehn, should not have been on the street and he wouldn’t have been had this law been in place.
Rehn had a long criminal record and was facing a raft of other charges when he appeared in an Alberta courtroom in September 2014. But Rehn’s horrendous record was not even mentioned at his bail hearing.
The justice released Shawn Rehn and, considering his past record of ignoring court orders, it is not surprising he failed to appear in court. Four months later, Constable David Wynn paid for the justice system’s failure with his life when he was murdered while trying to arrest Rehn. Wynn left behind a wife and three young sons.
Wynn’s Law requires that an accused’s criminal record be introduced at a bail hearing. We believe if that had been done in this case, Shawn Rehn would not have been released. This information is both relevant and necessary for an informed decision on a bail application. It is routinely introduced at bail hearings across Canada.
The bill was introduced and passed through the Senate last year with overwhelming support of both Conservative and Liberal Senators. It is now at Second Reading in the House of Commons. The Liberal government has signalled its intention to kill this bill, but has not provided a credible reason for its position.
We believe Canadians deserve better and we ask you to telephone, write or email your Member of Parliament and the Minister of Justice to tell them Bill S-217 (Wynn’s Law) should be passed quickly. It’s a free vote on private members’ bills, so even Liberal MPs can vote with their conscience without fear of party discipline.
The legal loophole that cost a brave officer his life should be closed.
Senator Bob Runciman, Senate Sponsor of Bill S-217 St. Albert-Edmonton MP Michael Cooper, House Sponsor of Bill S-217