2 men charged in fentanyl-laced cocaine death cases get bail amid COVID-19 concerns at jail

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus quarantine at Saskatoon Correctional Centre reaches one week'
Coronavirus quarantine at Saskatoon Correctional Centre reaches one week
WATCH: Saskatchewan corrections officials are considering options around offender population in light of the novel coronavirus outbreak – Mar 17, 2020

As officials look to fight the risk of COVID-19 in correctional centres, two men charged with manslaughter related to fentanyl-laced cocaine have been released on bail.

Shervin Beeharry and Japmanjot Grewal were denied bail after four fatal overdoses in March 2018.

READ MORE: New evidence halts fentanyl-laced cocaine trial

They each face four counts of manslaughter, four counts of criminal negligence causing death and three counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

Defence lawyer Brian Pfefferle said the Crown and defence negotiated an adjournment and release on Tuesday.

He said it was to address overcrowding issues and cut down on the potential for the novel coronavirus in jails.

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“Custody in custodial settings in Canada are one of the really high-risk areas for overcrowding and contact and the spread of the coronavirus,” Pfefferle said.

“If it breaks out in jails, the ability to control it would be obviously very, very difficult.”

READ MORE: Saskatchewan declares state of emergency as coronavirus concerns grow

Pfefferle said the decision was made on the weekend.

“Adjournment was worked out, conditions of release were worked out,” he said.

“It was determined over the weekend that we thought it was not prudent for anyone to be in a courtroom in a closed setting for such a short period of time with people coming from B.C. and the like, transporting prisoners back and forth.”

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READ MORE: Circuit courts close in Saskatchewan, restrictions at other provincial courts

Pfefferle said they will be going back to their homes in British Columbia and the only reason why they will be back in Saskatoon is for their court appearances.

Beeharry and Grewal are currently due back in court in June.

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