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Manitoba Justice Minister Calls for Bail Changes to Knife-Related Crimes

August 25, 2022 12:05 PM | News

Kelvin Goertzen

Kelvin Goertzen speaks to the media at the Legislative Building in Winnipeg on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Lipnowski)

WINNIPEG — Manitoba’s Justice Minister has written to the federal government in an effort to get knives grouped into the same category as firearms when it comes to determining an offender’s bail.

Kelvin Goertzen says the move would help address knife-related violent crime, with knives often the choice for suspects who commit violent offences in Manitoba.

“Too often, those that use knives as weapons have a previous violent history and at times are on bail awaiting trial on offences when they are alleged to have committed another violent crime,” Goertzen said in a statement. “This is frustrating for Manitobans and devastating for those who are victimized.”

Goertzen says the federal government has the responsibility, through the Criminal Code, for setting bail standards by which judges make their decisions.

“Today, I have written federal Justice Minister David Lametti and asked that he consider changes to the Criminal Code that would add knives to the same provision to make it more difficult for an accused violent offender who has used a knife in the commission of a crime to obtain bail.”

Goertzen says, currently when an accused has been charged with an offence of using a firearm, it is more difficult to obtain bail.

“Given the prevalence of violent crimes committed with knives, both in Manitoba and Canada, this is an important change in the interest of public safety.”