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Webster accused out on bail

Adult preliminary hearing set for Apr 13

Credit: Xtra West files

The three men still facing charges in connection with the Nov 17, 2001 beating death of Aaron Webster are now out of jail on bail, Xtra West has learned.

The second youth charged with manslaughter in the case was granted bail Jan 15 in youth court. He’ll be back in court for arraignment Jan 22 (at 800 Hornby St, downstairs, at 9 am). The youth’s lawyer, Phil Rankin, has said the Crown will apply to have the youth sentenced as an adult.

(Both youths charged in Webster’s killing were 17 at the time of the killing and cannot be named under youth criminal legislation. The first youth, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter last July, was given the maximum possible sentence of three years in December.)

Meanwhile, Danny Rao, 22, and Ryan Cran, 21, who are being tried as adults, were released from jail on Dec 22 and Dec 12, respectively.

Both were released on the posting of six-figure sureties or bail bonds, provincial court sources say.

Rao was refused bail last October. Due to standard bail publication bans, Xtra West cannot say why he was originally denied bail, nor why the court has now changed its mind. Bail details are regularly appealed by the accused and reversed.

Cran was granted bail Oct 15 but was returned to custody on Nov 3, after his parents, who had originally agreed to pay his $100,000 surety, changed their minds.

All three accused live in Burnaby.

Rao and Cran return to court for a pretrial conference Feb 11 with a preliminary hearing set to start Apr 13.

Jim Deva, president of the Davie Community Policing Centre, says the release of the two men is alarming.

“I’m kind of nervous for our safety now that they are out on the street,” Deva says.

Despite the outrage after Webster’s murder, few members of the gay community have attended hearings. The lack of interest has left Webster’s family bewildered, his mother saying at last month’s sentencing that she felt very alone.