WATCH: Reid Fiest reports that many questions remain as to why Shawn Maxwell Rehn was not in custody.
OTTAWA – RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson blames the justice system for releasing RCMP shooter Shawn Maxwell Rehn, a violent career criminal who was awaiting trial when he died.
“That’s the accountability I’m seeking,” Paulson wrote in a statement to Global News.
“When an offender has a demonstrated pattern of not attending court and not complying with orders he needs to be (h)eld!”
Watch: St. Albert shooting suspect had lengthy criminal history
Paulson said it was not a matter of expanding police powers, but rather “a case management of the justice system issue.” He said considering Rehn’s history, he should not have been conditionally released at all.
Documents show that Rehn was released on bail as recently as Sept. 13, 2014. He faced 15 charges at the time, including possessing stolen property, possessing a controlled substance, possessing a prohibited firearm and escaping lawful custody.
Rehn’s bail totaled $4,500, and he was released on certain conditions. He then failed to show up in court and a warrant for his arrest was issued on November 12, 13 and 28 last year.
Rehn, 34, had a lengthy rap sheet of close to 60 convictions dating back to 1999, including break and enter, assault with a weapon, theft, and gun charges.
He also served three federal sentences in 2006 and 2010 for escaping custody, possessing stolen property and possessing a firearm, among other crimes.
Rehn was prohibited from possessing a firearm until 2020.
‘You are a dangerous person’
Parole documents indicate Rehn had a history of drug abuse and committing crimes while under the influence. In July 2006, he was considered likely to commit a violent offence by the National Parole Board, who opposed his early release.
“The Board believes you are a dangerous person who has demonstrated blatant disregard towards the criminal justice system as well as lack of respect to the public in general,” the board wrote in 2006.
“Your crimes are continuous and increasing in seriousness and often resulted in serious psychological, emotional and financial harm to the victims.”
In September 2013, Rehn’s parole was revoked after he was caught spray painting the license plate on his car. Police discovered a black pellet gun altered to look like a real gun, as well as a hunting knife, a throwing knife and drug paraphernalia in the car.
Criminal lawyer Michael Spratt said Rehn could have been released from prison simply because his sentence was up in late 2013.
In other circumstances, a judge could have released him under strict conditions such as abstaining from drugs and alcohol, or the Crown could have agreed to release him with a promise to appear in court at a later date.
“Normally, it’s pretty hard to get them out on bail, even for relatively minor stuff,” said Spratt.
“It does sound a bit weird that he was released, given the history and the fact that he had all those failures to comply with court orders.”
Shannon Prithipaul, president of the Criminal Trial Lawyers Association in Alberta, said if there were warrants out for Rehn’s arrest, there was not much police could do until they found him.
“If he had finished his time in custody, of course he’s free to walk around. And if he didn’t show up in court, and then there were warrants that went out for his arrest, then the police needed to pick him in order to bring him before the court to address release,” she said.
“If he was on release from the court, the court of course has to balance his right to not be arbitrarily detained and his right to the presumption of innocence, against a possible risk to the public. And that’s a delicate balancing that the court has to do every time they’re faced with bail.”
Alberta Justice Minister Jonathan Denis declined to comment to Global News.
On Sunday, the St. Albert RCMP identified Rehn as responsible for shooting two Mounties, RCMP Const. David Wynn and Auxiliary Const. Derek Bond, inside a casino early Saturday morning.
Wynn is not expected to survive.
After an intense manhunt, Rehn was found dead inside a rural home in the Edmonton suburb of St. Albert on Saturday.
Documents also show Rehn was the father to two girls, age 12 and six.
In 2009, his girlfriend and mother to the now-six-year-old asked for an Emergency Protection Order against Rehn, who claimed he assaulted her while she held her baby.
– with a file from The Canadian Press
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