News Articles


Bail process just criminal

– “We do not keep statistics on sureties”
— Attorney General spokesman Brendan Crawley on how much bail money is forfeited each year and how many hearings there are to decide that.

It’s probably safe to say they also don’t keep statistics on how many people are murdered by those on bail or under house arrest either.
Attorney General Chris Bentley might want to start keeping track because it’s beginning to look like an epidemic.
Yesterday, Peel Police charged a murder suspect who had allegedly breached several house arrest conditions. And we certainly haven’t forgotten the murder of Saramma Varughese, 65, and her daughter, Susan John, 43 who lived next door to Nathaniel O’Brien, 31, who was under house arrest and in the care of his mom and dad on a $10,000 surety after being charged with two attacks on women.
The conditions were allegedly breached. It’s shocking and outrageous.
It is also routine.
There are many examples this year of people allegedly committing crimes while on bail or under house arrest. What we don’t know is how many people lost the money they put down to get their loved one out on release.
Always professional, ministry spokesman Brendan Crawley said “the ministry does not collect centralized statistical information related to the forfeiture of money to the court for bail violations.”
When asked where to go to find out, he e-mailed back “these stats are not kept by this ministry or any other.”
How could this be in a place that sure knows how to keep statistics on your tax account? The people in charge of our safety would likely keep better track of their golf scores.
It seems only fair for the public to know how many sureties were collected.
It’s especially important since, on a ministry website sent over by Crawley, it clearly states there is a process to claim money from those who back people on bail. Under the heading Failure to Obey a Court Order, it states “if the accused person fails to appear in court or breaks any other term of the bail order, the accused person may be charged with another criminal offence.
“If the person is found guilty of breaching the court order, the Crown may ask the court to make you pay the money you committed as a surety. A hearing will be scheduled. You and the accused person will be given at least 10 days notice of the date and place of the hearing. The hearing is called estreatment. It will give you an opportunity to explain why you should not lose your money. The judge may order that you pay all, part, or none of your money. Further legal action may be taken against you to collect the amount owing.”
So, how many estreatment hearings have their been? And how much money was collected? Do these sureties have any teeth? Or just a phony standard? If not, how many homes have been seized? Five? 10? None?
It appears there is no way to know. And here you were thinking the McGuinty government had a department for everything. With today’s information data you can instantly learn how many parking tickets the city has handed out this year but try to find out how much bail money has been collected because a person before the courts breached their bail conditions and you don’t get much satisfaction.
There needs to be a public inquiry into all aspects of this disgrace. With so many people dying and people being charged routinely on bail, somebody has to keep score.