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Eaton Centre Shooting: Ontario Government Doesn't Know How Many People Are Out On Bail

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EATON CENTRE SHOOTING
Christopher Husbands, the suspect in the Eaton Centre shooting, was out on bail during the incident. | Brian Trinh

TORONTO - The deadly shooting rampage at the Eaton Centre mall in downtown Toronto has prompted the Ontario government to try to find out just how many people are out on bail in the province.

Christopher Husbands, the suspect in the shootings that left one person dead and six others wounded on Saturday, was out on bail at the time and under house arrest.

However, the provincial government has no idea how many others are out on bail, Attorney General John Gerretsen admitted Wednesday.

"Right now, we do not, provincially, have total statistics as to how many people are actually out on bail," Gerretsen told reporters.

"I understand there may be some of that information available within the local court systems in local jurisdictions."

The province has received a lot of inquiries about the number of people on bail since Saturday's deadly rampage, added Gerretsen.

"We’re trying to set up a system right now as a result of what happened here, and as a result of a number of inquiries that have been made, to see if we can’t get a better handle on how many people are actually out on bail within the province," he said.

The Progressive Conservatives said the government has a duty to ensure strict oversight of people who don't abide by their bail conditions, but can't do that if it doesn't know how many there are.

"If you can’t monitor how well a program is working, how can you say that you are satisfied with the program that exists?" asked PC justice critic Sylvia Jones.

"You also can’t make improvements if you don’t know whether you’ve got a 50 per cent success rate or an 80 per cent success rate."

It may be time to consider using electronic ankle bracelets to help monitor people on bail and house arrest, and not just those on probation and parole, said Gerretsen.

"There’s a good argument to be made that it should be expanded to bail situations as well," he said.

"I will be speaking with my provincial and federal counterparts on it at our regular meetings in the fall. I can certainly understand the concerns of everyone involved in this."

Jones agreed the ankle bracelets should be used for people on bail or facing house arrest.

"Does house arrest work in Toronto? I’m not sure it does," Jones said in an interview.

"If there are other tools that we can provide, then I think we as a society have a responsibility to look at them."

Police said Husbands should not have been out of his home at the time of the Eaton Centre shooting, which sent panicked shoppers scrambling for the exits.

Husbands, 23, turned himself in to police early Monday and was charged with one count of first-degree murder and six of attempted murder.

He appeared briefly in court Monday and was remanded in custody until a video appearance Aug. 15.

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EATON CENTRE SHOOTING -- WARNING: GRAPHIC
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