An unprecedented legal battle is underway over the fate of $100,000 that could have a major effect on future bail proceedings in Manitoba.
As the Free Press first reported several months ago, justice officials are seeking to cash in on a Winnipeg father who banked on his son’s prospects of staying out of trouble, only to have that faith blow up in his face.
A trial began Thursday in Court of Queen’s Bench.
Dennis Tymchyshyn posted a $100,000 surety in 2011 to help convince a judge to allow his son, Corey Tymchyshyn, to be released from custody while awaiting trial for first-degree murder.
A surety is a form of financial promise to the court to keep the accused in line. Any breaches, and the Crown can declare a default.
The Crown was opposed to the accused killer’s bail, citing the fact he was charged with the most serious allegation in the Criminal Code, but the judge approved his release while also imposing one of the largest sureties in local history. Typically, sureties are for a few thousand dollars and not near the six figures imposed.
Charged with assault, extortion
Corey Tymchyshyn was re-arrested more than a year later and hit with several charges, including assault, extortion and running a marijuana grow-op out of a Manitoba Avenue home.
Although he is awaiting trial on those charges, Tymchyshyn was found guilty earlier this year of the killing of Chad Davis, 22, who went missing in February 2008. Davis' body was found months later, wrapped in plastic and stuffed inside a barrel floating down the Lee River near Lac du Bonnet.
Tymchyshyn is currently serving a life sentence with no chance of parole for at least 25 years. He has filed an appeal, claiming an unfair trial.
Now the Crown wants Dennis Tymchyshyn to also pay for his son’s sins. A judge has already ordered forfeiture of the $100,000, which the father is fighting.
Justice officials believe this case involves the largest surety to ever be fought over. The outcome will have legal eyes across the province watching closely.
If the Crown is successful, sources say it could dissuade people from posting sureties on behalf of a loved one, making it more difficult for people accused of serious crimes to get bail.
If the Crown fails, sources worry it could send a message that sureties and bail conditions aren’t to be taken seriously, as the court intends.
Father says he tried his best
Although the facts are not in dispute, Crown and defence lawyers have vastly different positions about the resolution.
Both have filed case law supporting their arguments.
"This is clear as mud as far as I’m concerned," Dennis Tymchyshyn’s lawyer, Ryan Rolston, told the Free Press earlier this year.
His client is now testifying about how he tried to keep his son in line, suggesting he did his best and didn’t shirk his responsibilities or turn a blind eye.
The Crown is arguing it’s a straightforward issue: The father promised to forfeit the money if his son breached bail conditions, and when he did, the consequence is he loses the surety.
Frustrated by the revolving door of justice, the Crown has been growing increasingly vigilant in going after bail scofflaws and their sureties by hitting them where it really hurts: in their bank accounts. They want to ensure bail orders are worth far more than the paper they’re written on.