Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner says she is “astonished and outraged” that a young man alleged to have given a loaded handgun to two teens to hide earlier this month has been released on bail.
Saleh Ali Mohammed, who faces 15 charges, was released Wednesday on $7,500 bail by Surrey provincial court Judge Andrea Brownstone. Prosecutors opposed his release.
The 22-year old was arrested after police allege he took a woman by force, crashed his car and gave a gun to two youth who came to his aid.
One of the teen’s dads turned the gun in to police, who also seized a loaded AK-47 and a large quantity cocaine and heroin during their investigation of Mohammed.
Police have also linked Mohammed to the violent gang war that has resulted in dozens of shootings this year.
Hepner said allowing Mohammed out on bail undermines the public’s confidence in the court system and makes witnesses and victims feel uneasy.
“I just couldn’t believe it. It just does not have any element of common sense attached to it,” Hepner said.
“Come on, what is going on? Something is seriously wrong when the Crown opposes it. … I am just so outraged.”
Neil MacKenzie, who speaks for the B.C. criminal justice branch, said Mohammed must abide by a number of conditions including that “he is to report to a bail supervisor as and when directed.”
He has been placed under house arrest, MacKenzie said. But with the written permission of his bail supervisor, he can leave his house to go to work, medical appointments and up to an hour a day for exercising or shopping for necessities, MacKenzie said.
He must also stay away from a number of individuals and cannot possess drugs or weapons and must “keep the peace and be of good behaviour.”
Submissions made at the bail hearing, as well as Brownstone’s reasons for releasing Mohammed, are covered by a publication ban.
Hours before his release Wednesday, the head of B.C.’s anti-gang agency called him “a serious threat [who] was taken off the streets.”
“This flagrant disregard for the well-being and safety of innocent people including children is unacceptable and we are committed to working collectively that they are dealt with appropriately,” said Kevin Hackett, chief officer of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit.
The CFSEU wouldn’t comment Thursday on Mohammed’s being out on bail. Nor would Surrey RCMP Cpl. Scotty Schumann.
“We are not in a position to comment on the court process, but I can tell you that the Surrey RCMP submitted a (full) investigation to Crown counsel,” Schumann said. “As prescribed in Canadian law, and in front of a presiding judge, the Crown must make a case for detention and the accused has the right to argue for release. We respect the decision of the court and will continue to provide thorough investigations for review by the courts.”
MacKenzie confirmed Thursday that the Crown opposed Mohammed’s release.
Hepner praised the efforts of Surrey Mounties who have made a number of arrests related to the gang war in recent months.
“Our police have such a difficult job making sure all the I’s are dotted and all the T’s are crossed,” Hepner said. “Now we might as well have both
hands tied behind our back.”