Sexual assault suspect mistakenly released from Ottawa courthouse

A Canada-wide search warrant has been issued for a sexual assault suspect who somehow escaped custody following a court appearance in Ottawa earlier this week.

Brendon Spurrell, 22, is facing charges including assault and sexual assault. He's considered dangerous by police.

Spurrell was being detained at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre, but was mistakenly released after being transferred to the Ottawa courthouse for an appearance Monday.

"He was in court on Monday regarding prior matters he was dealing with. These matters were resolved. After that, a warrant was issued for his arrest concerning other matters, and he unfortunately got released by error," said Const. Martin Dompierre of the Ottawa Police Service.

Dompierre said the province is looking into what happened at the courthouse, but declined to share more information — including where Spurrell was last seen — while that investigation is underway.

He did say that Spurrell is still believed to be in Ottawa.

"We're asking for the public's assistance in order to help us locate him," Dompierre said.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of the Attorney General said the AG is working closely with its justice-sector partners to investigate the circumstances that led to Spurrell's release.

Spurrell is considered dangerous and shouldn't be approached, police said. Anyone who sees him should call 911 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.