The widow of an Alberta RCMP constable killed in the line of duty testified before a Senate committee in Ottawa Thursday, calling for fundamental changes to the Criminal Code.
Shelley Wynn, whose husband Cst. David Wynn was shot and killed at the Apex Casino in St. Albert in January 2015, made an emotional plea for lawmakers to take action in order to prevent a repeat of what happened to her late husband.
“I am here to help you see how I have to live my life every second of every day without my husband,” Wynn said. “I’m here to show you that by changing that one simple word that this could save another family from literally going through the hell that I have gone through in the past year and a half.
Shawn Rehn, the man who fired the shots, was out on bail at the time and it was later determined his prior offences had not been mentioned during his bail hearing. Rehn was later found dead at a nearby residence.
Documents revealed Rehn had been released on bail as recently as Sept. 13, 2014. He was facing over a dozen charges at the time, including possessing stolen property, possessing a controlled substance, possessing a prohibited firearm and escaping lawful custody.
An emotional Wynn called on Senators to close their eyes for four seconds and think of “the one person in your life that you spend with everyday” and said to them that’s how long it took for Rehn to kill her husband.
“Every day, his children have to experience new things and new milestones without their dad,” Wynn said as she fought back tears. “This Sunday is Father’s Day, they don’t have a father.”
Days after the shooting, RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson blamed the justice system for releasing the violent career criminal as he awaited trial.
“When an offender has a demonstrated pattern of not attending court and not complying with orders he needs to be (h)eld!,” Paulson wrote in a statement to Global News at the time.
Bill S-217, sponsored by Senator Bob Runciman and dubbed “David Wynn’s Law,” would require the Crown to disclose the criminal history of the accused at a bail hearing.
“Sean Rehn should not have been on the streets.” Wynn said. “he should not have been let back out after that bail hearing. He had been given chance after chance over the years and it was very evident that he was not going to turn his life around. I believe that if his history was brought forth that he would not have been back out on the streets and that four second altercation would not have happened and my husband may still be here today.”
“Thank you Mrs. Wynn,” Senator George Baker said after as people in the room wiped tears from their eyes. “That was perhaps the strongest testimony we have ever heard to change the law.”
The bill has already passed second reading in the Senate and went to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee on Thursday to be studied.
If the bill progresses, it will go back to the Senate for a third and final reading before heading to the House.
-with files from Tyler Loutan, iNews880