‘The system failed’: Cobourg police chief upset after court decides to release man arrested Thursday

Cobourg’s police chief is speaking out after a man who was arrested Thursday on drug charges was released from custody the following day with bail conditions.

Prince Owusu, 22, of Brampton was arrested as part of an ongoing investigation at a residence on John Street.

Police say Owusu was on release conditions at the time in connection with an armed robbery in the Greater Toronto Area in 2018 and was on a house arrest condition, meaning he was not to be away from his home without his surety.

Read more: Brampton man charged following drug investigation in Cobourg, police say

Chief Paul VandeGraaf says using the bail ladder system, as part of Bill C-75, Owusu should’ve been held in custody on Friday instead of being released again to his surety.

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“Here’s an individual on house arrest release conditions. He’s already at the top of the ladder. This person needed to be detained for the community’s safety for everyone and the system failed, plain and simple.  This gentleman should’ve been held in custody,” VandeGraaf tells Global News Peterborough.

“Quite frankly, it’s disheartening for the men and women of the police service, who sacrifice themselves every day. Not that there is a reward for having someone held in custody. When you do everything right and follow the rules, we expect everyone else to play by the same rules. I truly believe we need to examine what Bill C-75 said and review the bail process.”

Cobourg Police Services Board chair Dean Pepper said Owusu’s release was “disheartening for our members and our community.”

“Friday’s release shows we need to take a critical look at the current system and work together to protect our community,” Pepper stated.

Owusu is charged with two counts of possession of a Schedule 1 substance, obstructing a peace officer, personation with intent to avoid arrest, prosecution or obstructing justice, possession of proceeds of property obtained by crime under $5,000 and failure to comply with a recognizance.

Global News Peterborough contacted the Ontario courthouse in Cobourg for comment on Monday on this story and will update it if a reply is received.

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