As officials look to fight the risk of COVID-19 in correctional centres, two men charged with manslaughter related to fentanyl-laced cocaine have been released on bail.
Shervin Beeharry and Japmanjot Grewal were denied bail after four fatal overdoses in March 2018.
They each face four counts of manslaughter, four counts of criminal negligence causing death and three counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm.
Defence lawyer Brian Pfefferle said the Crown and defence negotiated an adjournment and release on Tuesday.
He said it was to address overcrowding issues and cut down on the potential for the novel coronavirus in jails.
“Custody in custodial settings in Canada are one of the really high-risk areas for overcrowding and contact and the spread of the coronavirus,” Pfefferle said.
“If it breaks out in jails, the ability to control it would be obviously very, very difficult.”
Pfefferle said the decision was made on the weekend.
“Adjournment was worked out, conditions of release were worked out,” he said.
“It was determined over the weekend that we thought it was not prudent for anyone to be in a courtroom in a closed setting for such a short period of time with people coming from B.C. and the like, transporting prisoners back and forth.”
Pfefferle said they will be going back to their homes in British Columbia and the only reason why they will be back in Saskatoon is for their court appearances.
Beeharry and Grewal are currently due back in court in June.
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