Manitoba justice minister wants people charged with knife crimes to have less chance at bail

Manitoba’s justice minister wants to make it harder for people accused of violent crimes involving knives to get bail.

In a statement issued Thursday morning, Kelvin Goertzen said he’s written to federal Justice Minister David Lametti to ask that he consider making changes to the Criminal Code.

“Too often, those [who] 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’s statement said.

“This is frustrating for Manitobans and devastating for those who are victimized.”

The Criminal Code currently makes it more difficult for people to be granted bail if they’re charged with an offence involving a firearm under Subsection 515(6)

Goertzen said the federal government has the responsibility for setting the bail standards judges use to make their decisions, and he wants to see the law amended to also make it more difficult for someone to get bail if they’re charged with a crime involving a knife. 

The statement described the proposed change as important in the interest of public safety, “given the prevalence of violent crimes committed with knives, both in Manitoba and Canada.”

The province will make more suggestions related to the Criminal Code in the weeks ahead, Goertzen’s statement said.