Bail reform: A good start, but too late for Grzegorz Pierchala’s family

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The accused cop killer was emerged by Zoom from his Hamilton jail for another appearance before the Cayuga courthouse, sprightly in his bright orange jail shirt, his arms and face adorned with a multitude of tattoos.

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And the mother of the killed OPP watched the virtual hearing constant Grzegorz “Greg” Pierzchala no doubt wondered why Randall McKenzie wasn’t behind the same bars for violating his bail when he allegedly shot her beautiful son.

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Just hours before McKenzie appeared in court in Ottawa, hundreds of miles away, on his first-degree murder charge, Attorney General David Lametti delivered his long-awaited response to calls for bail reform following the Pierzchala killing.

“Critically, these proposed reforms signal that repeat offenders who pose a risk to community security should not be released while they await trial,” Lametti said.

How late does that come for the young policeman.

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Police said the Toronto-born freshman, who worked in Haldimand County’s OPP division, was ambushed and shot after he was called to check on a vehicle parked near Hagersville on December 27, 2022 crashed into a ditch.

Brandi Crystal Lyn Stewart-Sperry and Randall McKenzie are accused of murder
Brandi Crystal Lyn Stewart-Sperry and Randall McKenzie are accused of murder in the OPP Const killing. Grzegorz Pierzchala. NIAGARA REGIONAL POLICE/OPP

McKenzie, 25, of Six Nations of the Grand River, and Brandi Crystal Lyn Stewart-Sperry, 30, of Hamilton, are each charged with first-degree murder in connection with Pierzchala’s death.

The cop’s murder caused even more excitement as details emerged about his alleged killer: McKenzie was out on bail while awaiting trial in Hamilton allegedly Court documents show he assaulted three people, including a former partner and a police officer. He was charged with a number of similar gun offenses, including carrying a handgun with an illegible serial number.

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A justice of the peace initially refused his release convicted in December 2021 of his long criminal record, but overturned by the Supreme Court in June 2022According to The Canadian Press, Judge Harrison Arrell said that despite his violent background, McKenzie’s Indigenous identity was the determining factor.

“I don’t mind telling you, it’s a very dubious case. I feel it is my obligation to see in having Aboriginal status as something I cannot ignore,” Arrell was quoted as saying.


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He merely followed the instructions given to him.

The original federal bail reform bill, Bill C-75 of 2019, directed judges to give special consideration to “the circumstances of the accused Native Americans” and “defendants who belong to a vulnerable demographic that is overrepresented in the criminal justice system.”

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McKenzie’s strict bail conditions included wearing it a GPS monitor who reports to the police twice a week, lives with his guarantor and has no guns. He was only allowed to leave his mother’s home with his sponsorship for medical emergencies, legal appointments, or for advice recommended by a local indigenous center.

But McKenzie had allegedly cut off his ankle monitor and disappeared from his mother’s home near Ohsweken. At the time of the murder, tThere was a warrant out for his arrest after he missed a court date in August. But it seems that oSince he waived bail, no one has been looking for him – neither the Six Nations police nor the OPP.

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Under the new bail reform bill, defendants – not the Crown – would have to prove why they should be released when they are repeat violent offenders accused of using weapons, including firearms, knives and bear spray. The reverse responsibility would also extend to someone facing certain gun charges, including unlawful possession of a loaded (or easily loaded), prohibited or restricted firearm.

Also, when deciding whether to grant bail, judges must consider the defendant’s history of violent crimes as well as community safety concerns – shocking that this was not previously required.

Are these bail changes enough to save another life? It’s definitely a good start.


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