Former federal prosecutor to lead review of Alberta’s bail system

Nancy L. Irving will lead a comprehensive review of the bail system to assist government in deciding if and how the bail process could be changed to better protect Albertans.

On June 16, 2015, Justice and Solicitor General Minister Kathleen Ganley released a report into the involvement of the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service with Shawn Rehn. The report recommended a comprehensive review of the bail process in Alberta, which Minister Ganley accepted.

On January 17, 2015, Shawn Rehn shot two RCMP members at a St. Albert casino. Const. David Wynn was killed and Auxiliary Const. Derek Bond was injured. Rehn killed himself shortly afterwards. He had an extensive criminal record and outstanding warrants at the time of the shooting. In the months leading up to the shooting, a police officer attended Rehn’s bail hearings without a Crown prosecutor in front of a Justice of the Peace, a situation that happens commonly in first appearances.

“I’m pleased Ms. Irving has agreed to conduct this review. She brings with her a wealth of experience and knowledge about the justice system. My hope is this review will help us ensure the bail process strikes the right balance between protecting people’s rights and making communities and police officers safer.”

Kathleen Ganley, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

Ms. Irving is a former general counsel for the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, serving most recently as a senior member of its headquarters staff in Ottawa. An experienced litigator, she has also served as a legal adviser to the RCMP; special adviser to the federal Assistant Deputy Attorney General, Criminal Law; member of the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Co-ordinating Committee of Senior Officials; vice-principal of the federal School for Prosecutors; and, president of the Uniform Law Conference of Canada.

Ms. Irving is expected to make recommendations to Minister Ganley in February 2016.