2 min

Cran back in custody

Rao, Cran make court appearance

Danny Rao and Ryan Cran, the two adults charged with manslaughter in connection with Aaron Webster’s death, were back in court last week, this time to set a tentative date for the next stage in the process.

After several days of haggling, the lawyers finally agreed to begin their eight-day preliminary enquiry on Apr 13, 2004. The Crown had originally proposed a later date sometime next summer, but the defence lawyers said it wouldn’t be fair to make their clients wait so long in jail.

Preliminary inquiries are standard procedure in a case like this. They’re used to determine whether or not the crown prosecutor has enough evidence to justify sending the accused to trial.

If the Crown shows there is enough evidence to place the accused at the scene of their alleged crime and support the allegations made against them, the judge will order Rao and Cran to stand trial. If the Crown fails to make its case, the judge will dismiss the charges.

The lawyers plan to meet again in February to confirm the dates they’ve selected for the preliminary inquiry.

The accused, meanwhile, will both remain in police custody for the foreseeable future.

Though Cran was granted bail at his Oct 15 bail hearing, he later had to return to custody. That’s because he was granted bail on the condition that someone pay his $100,000 “surety” (or bail bond). His parents had originally agreed to pay the surety but later changed their minds.

“They said they didn’t want to do that anymore,” Cran’s lawyer, Kris Pechet, told Xtra West outside the courtroom.

Pechet would not say whether the parents withdrew their surety promise for financial reasons or for other reasons. They had originally agreed to use some property to cover the surety, he notes.

Cran can request bail again in the future if he finds a way to pay the surety, Pechet adds.

Until then, Cran will remain in police custody along with his co-accused, Rao, who was denied bail at their original bail hearing.

The two men stood side-by-side in the prisoner’s box at their arraignment last week, while their lawyers tried to settle the preliminary inquiry date. Cran, 21, looked sullen, while Rao, 22, surveyed the gallery with apparent interest. At one point they conferred quietly with each other and Rao broke into a grin.

Cran sported a new haircut over his orange jail jumpsuit, having shaved off his previously dyed-blonde tips to reveal the short brown hair underneath. He also shaved off his goatee, leaving his face completely clean-shaven.

Cran and Rao’s lawyers will return to provincial court Feb 11, 2004 to confirm the dates for the preliminary enquiry.