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B.C. premier pushes for reforms following Surrey woman's murder

Eby says federal bail reform legislation should have prevented Tori Dunn's death – but failed
Premier David Eby at a press conference at SFU: Surrey in Surrey on Tuesday, July 9, 2024.

Premier David Eby said Tori Dunn's murder should have never happened. 

Adam Mann, 40, was charged with second-degree murder in connection to the Surrey woman's death in what her family has reported as a home invasion.

Mann has a lengthy criminal record in B.C. and Ontario and was charged with aggravated assault on June 17 in connection to the May 26 stabbing of a woman in Whalley. 

"The issue of repeat violent offenders being released back into the community was why we paired up with Ontario, actually, and went to the federal government and said they've got to change the bail rules to make sure that they're addressing this issue to keep communities safe," Eby said. 

These changes should have prevented Dunn's death, and they didn't, Eby said. 

Changes to the federal government’s bail-reform legislation took effect on January 4, 2024. 

Bill C-48 aims to address serious, repeat violent offenders with firearms, knives, bear spray and other weapons, as well as addressing risks posed by intimate partner violence.

The bill expands the use of reverse-onus provisions for certain offenders.

It means that instead of a Crown prosecutor having to prove in court why an accused person should stay behind bars until their trial, the person who has been charged has to show why they should be released.

The provision was expanded to include more firearms and weapons offences, and more circumstances in which the alleged crime involves intimate partner violence.

Eby has asked his staff to reach out to the Dunn family. 

"So that I can have a conversation with them and we can find ways to move forward and to support the family and their calls for further federal reforms," Eby added. 

Chasity Dunn, Tori's cousin, started an online petition in early July calling on the legal system to "undertake a comprehensive internal review of the decisions and legal procedures leading up to the tragedy that has befallen Tori."

The petition calls Tori Dunn's death "a random act of savagery that should never have been allowed to occur."

"This was not an isolated incident associated with Mr. Mann, but one of two violent crimes he stands accused of within merely three weeks. Both committed while he was on probation and bail for other offenses," reads the campaign. 

Tori Dunn's father, Aron, held a press conference at Surrey Bend Regional Park June 28 alongside Tori's partner, Trafford Wace, with BC Conservative Party leader John Rustad and Surrey South MLA Elenore Sturko.

The conference came after the BC Prosecution Service approved charges early June 28 of second-degree murder against Mann in connection to Tori's death. Mann is scheduled to appear in court July 19 at Surrey Provincial Court.

-With files from Canadian Press and Wolf Depner

Anna Burns

About the Author: Anna Burns

I cover health care, non-profits and social issues-related topics for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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