Hopley was released with no conditions protecting kids
Published Friday, September 9, 2011 7:26PM PDT
Prosecutors in Alberta fought hard to keep Randall Hopley behind bars after charging him with squatting for months in a mountain cabin, but never mentioned the disturbing indications of a sexual attraction to children police found there.
That may have been one reason Hopley and his lawyer were able to spring him after a bail hearing last year, with release conditions that didn't include anything to keep him away from other children.
"[The prosecutor] didn't say anything about a fear of a sexual nature of the crimes," said Josh Stewart, a spokesman for the Alberta Justice Ministry.
Stewart said the prosecutors were convinced that Hopley would reoffend, but they were looking just at charges of breaking and entering and possession of stolen property, which were the charges that authorities approved on May 17, 2010.
It's not clear if the authorities mentioned Hopley's 1985 sexual assault conviction at the bail hearings, or the allegations that he had attempted to abduct a child in 2007. Inside the cabin police found a variety of sex toys, children's clothes, children's movies and a stolen photo of a young boy.
Now, police believe Hopley has kidnapped three-year-old Kienan Hebert.
The Skapin family, which owns the cabin, thinks Hopley should have stayed in jail.
"To be honest he never should have been allowed released after he was arrested," said Jennifer Skapin.
The formal charges laid may have been simply a collection of break and enters and possession of stolen property, but the disturbing items found in the cabin needed to be considered in a decision like that, she said.
Court documents allege there were a number of stolen propane tanks, jerry cans and vehicle tires stockpiled at the cabin while Hopley holed up there over the winter of 2010.
In the charges there is a reference to "lotion" and a photograph of a young boy. But there is no reference to the stolen children's clothes and kids' movies, the sex toys and lubrication the Skapins say were there.
"I felt sick to my stomach," said Skapin, who came across the items when she and other members of her family found Hopley there last May.
"Then we noticed there was a lock on the front door. He could lock the door and it would be impossible to open from the inside. It was horrifying," she said.
The court did order that Hopley stay away from the young boy in the photo, as well as the other people whom authorities allege Hopley stole from. But there is no condition that would keep him away from other children.
Prosecutors wanted Hopley to be held in prison based on his risk to commit property crimes, and succeeded in the first bail hearing.
When Hopley's lawyer appealed his incarceration to the Court of Queen's Bench on July 28, 2010, a judge there allowed his release.
Stewart says it isn't standard to bring up evidence outside what's considered in the court, and there are standard practices for release conditions as well.
"Conditions on release are crafted for that specific offence," said Stewart.
But Vancouver criminal lawyer Michael Shapray says prosecutors aren't limited to the specific charges when they're discussing release conditions – those are based on potential risk to the community.
"If the judge or justice wasn't told about certain things then how can we have expected them to include the factors that we now see should have been addressed," Shapray said.