A 15-year-old Brockville youth accused of manslaughter has been granted bail. The teenager who cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act was charged in the September death of 33-year-old Damian Sobieraj.
Facing a charge of manslaughter, the youth was released on bail Monday, with several conditions.
“In this particular case, there is a publication ban, but in general, people are charged, brought to bail hearings and they are released,” said Brockville’s police Chief Scott Fraser.
Because of the age of the offender, the person’s name, gender and even the conditions of their bail cannot be revealed. Fraser said in general terms, someone released on bail could see a range of restrictions.
“Many of those are similar in most cases, people can be placed under house arrest, where they are not allowed out of their home,” said Fraser. “Operation door-knock where police could knock on the offender’s door, and they have five minutes to present themselves at the door.”
The police chief has expressed frustration in the past over the so-called catch-and-release actions of the justice system.
“At the end of the day, sometimes you are frustrated, but it’s the system and we have to work within it, it’s the law,” Fraser said.
He said the police work closely with the Crown attorney to ensure if there is a release, the conditions match the offender.
“We work with the Crown and the courts to make sure if you release someone, you release them with a successful plan, not something that will fail.”
The youth faces charges of manslaughter, criminal negligence causing death, obstructing police and assault in connection with Sobieraj’s death.
His body was found in the St. Lawrence River, one day after he made a frantic 911 call saying he was feeling unsafe in Brockville’s Hardy Park.
Police said the youth is the only person facing charges at this time, but the investigation is ongoing.
“We’re certainly looking at every avenue. In this particular case, if there was somewhere else we should be looking, we’ll certainly be doing that.”
A local citizen group assembled shortly after the death of Sobieraj. They claimed they wanted to ensure the streets of Brockville are safe at night.
The founder of the group called “Brockville Watch Dogs,” Talen O’Connor, said although there has been an arrest, they will continue their work.
“We’re going to keep on doing this until we take back our streets,” O’Connor said.
The accused teen will be back in court on Nov. 27.