Media pressure and Manitoba Justice
UPDATE: there was never any peace bond. The woman applied for a protection order. The two can’t be confused in Manitoba.
And, reports that she applied for one yesterday were erroneous.
She just got the order after a hearing in front of a Justice of the Peace this morning, just before noon.
So, apologies are in order to the province and the justice department.
Just heard Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger on CBC radio commenting on his relief that Amanda Westervelt obtained a peace bond against Kevin Steppan, the sex-offender who was released from Headingley yesterday.
I am assuming that the media are not confusing protection order with peace bond. (See above note: they did)
A peace bond is different, and at the province’s own admission, more complex (and far more time-consuming) to obtain.
Steppan was also to be afforded the right to appear to hear the evidence for that application and ask questions about her evidence.
With a protection order, he has no such right. He will be served with the order and can apply to have it set aside, but that’s unlikely to happen.
According to the province’s own information sheet:
Applicants can apply to their local Provincial Court office for a Peace Bond. Provincial Court judges hear applications for Peace Bonds. The respondent is advised of the application and both the applicant and respondent have to appear in court. The respondent has the right to question the applicant. It can take several weeks to get an initial court date. It can take months before a judge will hear the Peace Bond application. Bonds are issued for a specific period of time, up to a maximum of one year. There is no fee to apply for a Peace Bond.
I take no issue with Westervelt wanting some relief for her and her son, and I’m sincerely glad she found some.
It was odd to hear Selinger on the radio talking about how he’s relieved Westervelt’s bond is now in place.
According to the news item, Selinger admitted that media pressure played a role in convincing justice officials to reconsider her situation.
It goes without saying, everyone’s on edge knowing that Steppan is free.