Approximately 25 local residents gathered at the intersection of Petersen Road and Highway 16 on Nov. 30 to protest the judicial interim release (bail) of Albert Giesbrecht.
Holding signs that said “Fix our justice system” and “We want a peaceful Christmas,” protesters expressed their concerns over Giesbrecht’s release.
“The travesty of what is going on is putting us at risk as a community,” said one protester. “We’re scared. The community is scared. We’re here to show our solidarity to each other, the family and the community.”
Bishop’s brother and daughter were also present at the protest holding signs that said, “I want my brother back” and “I miss my dad.”
MLA for Nechako Lakes John Rustad said many residents have expressed concerns to him about Giesbrecht’s release.
“It’s a very challenging time for family and friends,” said Rustad, adding that the release came as a surprise to him.
Rustad said he has raised these concerns to the Minister of Public Safety and solicitor general and that the Crown is looking at avenues to appeal on both the conditions and on the release of Giesbrecht.
There are 22 conditions that are currently in place around his release, including:
– House arrest, with no departure from the residence except for court-appointed escorts for legal appointments or in an ambulance in a case of medical emergency;
– No access to internet or cellphone;
– No possession of firearms, prohibited weapons, drugs or alcohol;
– No occupation of any vehicle without court-appointed escorts;
– He must also not have any contact or go to any residence, school or workplace of 24 people, including some members of Bishop’s family.
It is government’s expectation that any deviation from any of these court conditions will result in Giesbrecht being returned to custody.
A Facebook post asking for “Justice for Ray” and urging residents to contact Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad and Mike Farnsworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, had been shared almost 300 times as of Thursday.
According to the Ministry of Attorney General, there were 40 accused persons charged with murder in the first or second degree during the 2016/17 fiscal year in B.C., five of whom were released on bail. This number excludes manslaughter charges.