Family demands review of alleged killer's release before attack

The family of a Surrey, B.C., woman who was killed last month during what they believe was a home invasion is calling for a review of legal decisions that led to her suspected killer being released into the community despite having committed a series of offences.

Relatives of 30-year-old Tori Dunn, who was found with life-threatening injuries in her home on June 16 and later died in hospital, say they want the federal government to ensure bail reform laws are being considered in order to prevent further harm to others.

Adam Troy Mann, 40, was taken into custody the day Dunn was killed and charged with her murder several days later. Those charges have not yet been tested in court.

According to records obtained by CBC, Mann was subject to two probation orders for previous offences at the time of the killing and had recently been released after being found guilty of violating one of those orders by possessing knives.

"The justice system failed my daughter," Tori's father, Aron Dunn told CBC's The Early Edition host Stephen Quinn.

"She'd be alive today if bail reform was being implemented."

LISTEN | Tori Dunn's family calls for review of legal decisions:

Bill C-48

After provincial leaders and police chiefs across Canada repeatedly put pressure on Ottawa to make it more difficult for repeat violent offenders to get bail, Bill C-48 came into effect on Jan. 4.

Under the new law, courts have to consider an accused person's history of violent convictions when deciding on a release order.

But Tori's father Aron Dunn doesn't believe that law was applied in the case of Mann.

"For some reason, the judge deemed fit for a violent repeat offender could be released back into the community, only to murder my daughter," Dunn said.

"Our family and myself, we just can't wrap our heads around how this guy's walking around the streets in our community."

Aron Dunn, the father of slain Surrey woman Tori Dunn, said his family would fight for justice for his daughter.
Aron Dunn told CBC News his family would fight for justice for his daughter during a vigil held in June. (Sohrab Sandhu/CBC)

Timeline

Through court documents, CBC News has pieced together a timeline of the events which preceded Dunn's death and Mann's arrest.

On Jan. 15, Mann was arrested after a confrontation near a Vancouver SkyTrain station.

Mann was awaiting trial on charges from that incident when he was caught stealing merchandise from a Richmond, B.C., store in February. He was convicted of theft on that charge, sentenced to eight days in jail and ordered to keep the peace and be of good behaviour.

Three weeks after that, Mann was sentenced to 60 days in jail for possessing a dangerous weapon and resisting a peace officer in the SkyTrain incident; he was credited for 30 days time served, and was given a two-year probation order, and was ordered not to possess any weapons, knives or noxious spray, to keep the peace and be of good behaviour.

Mann also allegedly committed two counts of robbery in Vancouver in late April, and was released on a promise to pay $500 bail in relation to those charges with a promise not to go anywhere near the victims and not to possess weapons.

Mann has been charged with aggravated assault in the stabbing of a Surrey woman three weeks before Dunn was killed. According to criminal lawyer and former judge Bill Sundhu, that charge wasn't laid until one day after Dunn's murder.

On May 29, Mann was charged in Vancouver with violating the probation he got for the SkyTrain station confrontation by possessing knives. According to court documents, he was released the same day on the same terms as his previous bail — a promise to pay $500 without deposit and without sureties.

He was convicted of the breach of probation on that file on June 5 and sentenced to 10 days in jail.

In an emailed statement to CBC, the federal Department of Justice noted the difference between probation and bail: Probation is used in sentencing and allows a person convicted of a crime to be released from custody, whereas bail is when a person who has been charged with a criminal offence is released from custody while awaiting their trial.

Sundhu said the situation is complicated, and questioned whether full information was presented at recent hearings, or if an error was made.

"I really don't know what was argued, short of reading the transcript," he said.

"What I would say is I don't think this requires a change in the law."

LISTEN | Criminal lawyer explains complex situation with repeat offenders and bail reform:

'This never should have happened': Eby

Premier David Eby said on Tuesday that Tori Dunn's death was "horrific" and reformed federal rules should have prevented Mann's release.

He said the province worked with the federal government to change its bail rules, so he is not sure why Mann was released from jail.

Eby said he has asked his team to contact the Dunn family to better understand what went wrong and to find ways to "support the family in their calls for further federal reform."

"This never should have happened," the premier said.

The Department of Justice said while the federal government is responsible for enacting criminal law, provincial and territorial governments are responsible for the administration of justice.

"Ultimately, it is the court's decision whether detention or release is appropriate," the department's statement said.

Petition

Dunn said his family is calling for bail reform.

They launched an online petition earlier this month, which, as of Tuesday morning, had been signed 2,000 times.

The petition calls for a "comprehensive internal review" of the legal decision-making that led to a repeat violent offender like Mann being able to be released into the community.

Tori Dunn
Tori Dunn's family remembers her as someone who loved life. (Submitted by the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team)

"It's too late for my daughter right now, unfortunately," Dunn said. "But it'll maybe save somebody else's child or daughter or niece or wife ... things have to change. This is a crime that didn't need to happen. It should never have happened."

Dunn remembers his daughter as someone who loved life.

She was "just a wonderful woman at the peak of her life, living her best life," Dunn said.

Tori Dunn ran her own landscaping business, loved the outdoors and loved animals. She had been fostering pets in the last year of her life, her father said.

"She had the soul of an angel. She was angelic ... beautiful inside and out."