Lumby mayor outraged after release of homicide suspect

Mayor outraged with release

Lumby mayor Kevin Acton is speaking out following the discovery of a local woman’s body.

In a post to Facebook, Acton says his thoughts are with the victim’s friends and family.

“As we learn more about this tragic situation, I am left speechless by reports that the key suspect in this situation was arrested and then released less than 24 hours later,” reads the Facebook post.

Mounties found a woman's body on April 14 while investigating the alleged abduction of Tatjana Stefanski, whose daughter shortly afterwards announced her mother had been found dead.

RCMP said foul play is suspected in the death of the woman. A man believed to be involved in the death was arrested Sunday and released the next day under mandatory conditions.

Stefanski's daughter called the release of the suspect "absolutely disgusting."

Acton, who is running in the upcoming provincial election for the BC United party, said the family of the victim and community are "left feeling vulnerable" due to the “catch and release” criminal justice system.

“This can lead to women in abusive relationships not leaving these relationships if they feel they will not be protected,” reads Acton's post. “The suspect should be detained.”

No criminal charges have been laid in the case at this time.

R. v. Jordan

In 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that criminal court proceedings must be completed within 18 months for provincial files and 30 months for superior court cases.

That has resulted in Crown prosecutors not actually laying charges, and starting the clock, until almost every piece of evidence is collected. Previously, police had the time to continue the investigation as the court process moved on. High-ranking RCMP officers have been vocally frustrated with the situation in other cases.

If the courts fail to meet the deadlines set in 2016, the charges could end up being tossed completely, something that happened six times in B.C. in 2021/22.

Police can only hold suspects without charge for 24 hours.

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