Man accused of killing 28-year-old in Ontario released on bail

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An accused murderer was released on bail in Ontario this week after allegedly killing a 28-year-old man outside a bar, leading the victim’s family to question if justice will be served.

Early in the morning on Oct. 15, soccer star Arun Vigneswararajah was killed after a fight outside the Kings Castle bar in Ajax, Ont. took a horrific turn. Vigneswararajah was stabbed in the chest and later died.

Thirty-four-year-old Chard Patrick of Ajax was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in connection with the investigation.

But last weekend, Patrick was released on bail.

“I’m devastated. I’m devastated in a sense that I feel the justice system really failed on us and literally putting public safety at risk,” a friend of Vigneswararajah, who asked not to be identified, said.

According to court documents, Patrick was arrested and charged with two counts of assault and one count of uttering threats in September 2022, just a month before the murder.

“What’s really concerning and the family’s devastated to learn about, was that this individual has prior charges,” a friend of Vigneswararajah’s said.

“I don’t think that there’s any circumstances where someone charged with second-degree murder, that already has outstanding charges and any kind of a record, should be released on bail,” former OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis told CTV News Toronto.

Lewis is an advocate for bail reform, and he said in cases like this there should be “reverse onus” where the presumption of innocence is flipped making the accused person prove why they shouldn’t be in jail.

Though it may be frustrating for family of the victim or members of the public to hear of someone charged with murder getting bail, one criminal lawyer said this is not unheard of.

Criminal defence lawyer Kim Schofield said  the situation depends on bail conditions, adding, “if you can have a restrictive bail that is really a house arrest, and a house arrest it’s not just a stay in your house, with an electronic monitoring bracelet. Someone there to supervise, then people should be releasable.”

The bail restrictions for Patrick are he must remain at the home of his surety, with exceptions like a medical emergency or to attend court. He must surrender his passports, have no contact with certain people, no alcohol or weapons, and must wear a GPS monitor at all times.

But Lewis questions the effectiveness of these rules, saying, “these rules are great if someone decides to obey them, but people that commit violent crimes generally don’t obey the rules or they wouldn’t be committing violent crimes to begin with.”

Those who knew Vigneswararajah are frustrated, and they are losing confidence in the justice system.

Patrick will next appear in court on March 27. The charges have not been proven in court.

Source: CTV News Toronto