Brockton municipal council takes stand on bail reform

BROCKTON – Mayor Chris Peabody made a notice of motion on the need for reform of the province’s bail system. The motion was presented at the March 7 council meeting.

It stated in part that “the local population has already been subject to acts of violence by repeat offenders released on bail, up to and including death of innocent people and injuries to our police officers.”

The municipality is calling on both the federal and provincial governments to “implement changes to bail schedule to assure incarceration while awaiting trial of accused individuals likely to re-offend or participate in other criminal acts.”

The motion will be forwarded to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, federal and provincial governments and municipalities.

Coun. Tim Elphick spoke in support of the motion, and added that it emphasizes the need for a regional correctional facility. The closure of the jail in Walkerton in 2011, and the facility in Owen Sound, means that regional correctional facilities are a substantial distance from the local community. He said, “It’s something to be mindful of when we think of decision makers in court rooms and their ability to incarcerate individuals where they now have to travel three and a half hours away to access those facilities.” He added there may be an increasing reluctance to incarcerate individuals such a distance away. “It begs the question in terms of the bail reform motion of what those facilities provide for the community” including community support services … “In Brockton, we’ve really lost that support.”

Mayor Chris Peabody said the said the situation has certainly affected the local community, and the province. He added that he’s been told about police officers in our community “arresting the same individuals twice in the same day.” They have a video bail hearing and head out the door to reoffend. “One even broke into a police car the same day he was arrested,” said the mayor. “It’s something that needs to be addressed. I told Commissioner Carrique (OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique) at ROMA (Rural Ontario Municipal Association comference) that this was something I’d advocate for on behalf of our police officers.”

Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times