Gallagher family crushed upon conditional release of Roderick Sutherland

Click to play video: '‘Saskatoon isn’t safe’ following release of man accused of Megan Gallagher’s murder, aunt says'
‘Saskatoon isn’t safe’ following release of man accused of Megan Gallagher’s murder, aunt says
Wendy Sekulich reacted outside Saskatoon Law Courts on Thursday following the conditional release of a man facing charges related to the murder of her niece Megan Gallagher. – Nov 9, 2023

Murder suspect Roderick Sutherland was released from custody Thursday on order from Saskatoon’s Court of King’s Bench.

Sutherland was arrested over a year ago for the first-degree murder of Megan Gallagher as well as indignities to human remains.

“At the end of the day, I don’t feel safe,” said Megan’s aunt, Wendy Sekulich. “We finally had a little bit of peace where I felt safe with my kids in the city. I don’t feel safe anymore.”

Sutherland has been in custody awaiting pre-trial.

On Thursday, the judge granted a conditional release, placing Sutherland on house arrest. Sutherland will be required to stay in his house 24 hours a day and tracked via electronic monitoring.

He is not allowed to consume any alcohol or cannabis or come in contact with any weapons.

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He is also under a no-contact order in relation to any of the other eight individuals accused or charged in Megan’s murder.

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Megan’s father Brian Gallagher said he and his family were in shock when they heard Wednesday night that Sutherland would likely be released from custody the next day.

“It was a kick in the gut…. It reminded me of the first days when Megan went missing.”

He called each major court announcement a retraumatizing experience.

“It’s devastating to the family, friends, and everybody who has been following the case that something as simple as a point of law, that no matter what the charge is, everybody has access to bail — that was hard for us to wrap our head around.”

Gallagher said he and his wife have been to court more than 150 times since the first charges were laid in relation to Megan’s death.

Her family has been forced to listen to agreed statements of facts multiple times, describing the events leading up to and following her death in immense detail.

Gallagher said he hasn’t slept soundly for years.

“You can create a pretty good picture of what happened to our daughter, a sister and mother. You can paint a pretty good picture of what happened. That is why I don’t sleep at night. When I close my eyes, I have those pictures in my mind and I’m sure everyone else does of what happened to Megan. It’s not human.”

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Since she went missing in 2020, Megan’s family members have been strong voices in the community, advocating to lower the statistics of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

“Breaking the silence is the most important thing you can do to minimize these numbers, to lower these statistics as Aboriginal people and for Indigenous people.”

He noted that the most vulnerable are often those that can least defend themselves.

“The most vulnerable people don’t have access to the same resources as everybody else and they are the people that can be hurt the most by decisions like this.”

Sutherland was ordered to immediately report to his probation officer after court to proceed with his release.

He will return to court on Dec. 20 for pre-trial.

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