3 min

One accused out on bail

Second adult accused refused bail

Credit: rtesy of CTV News

Police have closed the investigation into the death of 41-year-old Aaron Webster two years ago. Now, four people stand accused of manslaughter in the case and are at various stages in the court system.

Two of the accused were adults at the time of Webster’s killing; the remaining two were youths at the time of the killing. One man who was a youth at the time of the killing has pleaded guilty, while another faces a bail hearing Oct 29. One adult has been granted bail while another was denied it and remains in custody.

Danny Rao, 22, Ryan Cran, 21, were arrested Oct 9, along with a 19-year old who was a juvenile at the time of Webster’s killing. All three were charged with manslaughter in Webster’s Nov 17, 2001 killing. All three live in Burnaby.

The fact the charges were not those of murder left many in the queer community dismayed.

The youth who pleaded guilty in Webster’s death Jul 30 was due to be sentenced Oct 28, but the case was adjourned until Nov 19 at 9:30 am in Youth Court, downstairs at 800 Hornby St.

His lawyer, David Baker, said he needed the time to gather more information for his client.

In the adult cases, Cran was granted bail of $50,000 or $100,000 surety after several days of hearings and adjournments.

He was ordered to stay at his parent’s Burnaby home. Cran is allowed out only to go to and from work accompanied by his parents or to run family errands in a four-hour time period. He is not to contact any of 12 acquaintances or his co-accused.

During his appearance in court, Cran, tall and slim with blonde-tipped brown hair and a goatee, remained silent in the prisoner’s dock as his parents looked on from the gallery.

Rao, however, was ordered held in custody last week. With a shaven head and clad in red jail fatigues, he spoke only briefly to confirm some information. He was also given a number of no-contact orders. Rao is allowed to communicate with Cran. Cran, however, is not permitted to contact him.

Both men return to Provincial Court to be arraigned Nov 3.

At the time of the killing, police maintained Webster was the victim of a vicious beating with either a baseball bat or pool cue.

It is normal in a bail application for prosecutors to outline the events, as they believe they happened at the time of a crime. Those details pertaining to Webster’s case that were discussed in court are covered by a publication ban to ensure a fair trial.

Rao is also currently facing charges of breaking and entering and committing an indictable offence, namely arson, Oct 3, 2002 in Burnaby.

Arrested along with Rao and Cran was a 19-year-old who was a juvenile at the time of Webster’s killing. He cannot be named under the Young Offender’s Act. He returns to court for a bail hearing Oct 29 at 9:30 am in Youth Court at 800 Hornby St in room 104.

The youth, tall with close-cropped brown hair, appeared emotionless as he stood in the prisoner’s dock clad in a green prison T-shirt and pants Oct 23.

A bail hearing had been scheduled for that day but was delayed as he had changed lawyers. He is now represented by well-known Vancouver attorney Phil Rankin. The youth remains in custody until his Oct 29 court date.

Rankin says the Crown will apply to have the youth sentenced as an adult. In the past, youths could be raised to adult court to face charges but with changes to youth legislation in force, that determination now comes at the end of a trial.

Police labelled the killing a hate crime from the start of the investigation.

However, any determination of that would come after a conviction on the charges as part of sentencing proceedings. If the judge rules it to be a hate crime, the accused could face extra prison time before being eligible for parole.


Oct 29.

800 Hornby St, Room 104.