Two more teenage girls facing second-degree murder charges in the death of a homeless man in Toronto have been granted bail following an appeal from their lawyers.
Three 13-year-olds, three 14-year-olds and two 16-year-olds are accused of swarming and stabbing 59-year-old Kenneth Lee in the city’s downtown core on Dec. 18. Lee later died in hospital.
None of the youths’ identities can be released under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
The bail hearings for each of the accused were held between December and February. At that time, five of the teens were released on bail to await trial. Three were detained.
But on Wednesday, two of the girls’ lawyers asked Ontario Court Judge Maria Sirivar to review her decision to keep them in custody.
The hearing was delayed because of a transfer of the girls to another facility. The girls had been housed in a Brampton facility since their earlier bail hearings, but were recently transferred to one in Kenora, Ont. after the sprinkler system flooded the original facility, criminal defence lawyer Leo Adler, whose firm represents one of the teens, told Global News.
During the girls’ previous bail hearings, Justice Sirivar had ordered the girls who remained in detention to be moved from a closed facility to an open facility. The reason for Sirivar’s order cannot be published due to a pre-trial publication ban covering any evidence described in court during these hearings. Open facilities have more lenient security measures.
Wednesday’s court hearing was highly unusual in that it ran well past the court’s closing time, until about 10 p.m. The first girl was released at about 6 p.m. The second was released at 10 p.m, Adler said.
They were released on similar conditions, including not being allowed to communicate with their co-defendants or use a phone or social media. They are also banned from possessing weapons and cannot use the Internet other than to attend school.