Community outraged after alleged sex offender moves back into neighbourhood
EDMONTON -- Edmonton police are being criticized by a defence lawyer and the Criminal Trial Lawyers Association after disclosing that a man accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting an eight-year-old girl would be living in that neighbourhood after being released on bail.
Wade Stene, 37, is accused of pulling a child into his vehicle and sexually assaulting her on March 10 near 144 Street and 110 Avenue.
Police disclosed that he would be living in the McQueen area yesterday, noting they believe he poses a significant risk to the public, particularly to people under the age of 16.
Residents are outraged that Stene is being released back into the same neighbourhood where he is alleged to have committed the crime.
"This is an atrocity of the justice system, this is an atrocity to this family, and I think our whole neighbourhood wants answers as to how and why this happened, and why we were all informed after the fact, after his release," said resident Melanie Depalma.
Depalma says a rally in protest is planned for this weekend.
"We're not just going to sit by idly and quietly and allow him to fall through the cracks while our whole neighbourhood is devastated by this."
Criminal defence lawyer Zack Elias, on behalf of the Criminal Trial Lawyers Associatio,n is taking issue with the police notice for another reason. He says Stene has not been convicted and has a right to rehabilitation and privacy and that is jeopardized by disclosing where he lives.
He also fears the disclosure could lead to vigilantism.
"They're overstepping what their role is," Elias said of the police, noting Stene was granted bail by the courts.
"They've essentially made him a sitting duck. And this is very different than the releases that they normally do, which says this person's been arrested, and these are the crimes that are being alleged to have committed."
None of the charges against Stene have been proven in court.
Police say Stene is released on the following conditions:
· required to wear a tracking ankle bracelet
· must remain at his residence 24-hours a day
· any travel for medical and legal appointments must be pre-approved by his bail supervisor
· no contact with anyone under age 18
· refrain from purchase, possession, use or consumption of alcohol and/or any non-prescribed controlled substances