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This article was published 30/7/2010 (3499 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
WINNIPEG - Police waited 48 hours before letting the public know they were searching for a Winnipeg gang member who was accidentally released from Headingley Jail earlier this week while awaiting trial for a shooting.
And no such alert was ever given about a second inmate who was mistakenly freed on Tuesday, then recaptured two days later.
Brian Moran, 20, is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant after being given his walking papers on Wednesday afternoon. He is pending on a charge of discharging a firearm with intent stemming from a January 2008 attack that left a man seriously injured.
The Free Press learned about the incident Friday morning through justice sources who couldn’t understand why police hadn’t already notified the public. No alert was issued by police until 3 p.m. Friday following inquiries from a reporter – despite the fact Moran knows he is wanted but has apparently refused to turn himself in.
In the news release, police included a photo and described Moran as aboriginal in appearance, six feet four inches tall weighing about 270 pounds with black hair, brown eyes and several tattoos on his hands and neck. They described Moran as potentially violent and warned people not to approach him.
The mix-up began after Moran appeared at the downtown Winnipeg Law Courts Wednesday morning to plead guilty to previously breaching his bail conditions and was sentenced to time already spent in custody. Crown attorney Mike Desautels told provincial court Judge Marva Smith that Moran was still pending on the shooting charge and was to remain in custody.
Smith made sure to note that Moran’s bail had been revoked and there were no grounds for his release. However, something clearly got lost in translation and Headingley officials – noting his sentence of time already served in custody on the breaches – let him walk out of the provincial jail just hours later.
Efforts to locate Moran since then have failed.
Moran was initially charged with attempted murder for the shooting, in which an 18-year-old man was attacked while driving his car over the Chief Peguis Trail bridge. The victim's vehicle was chased, police said, and several shots were fired at it, hitting the victim in the upper body. The victim suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries.
Moran was released on bail in April 2009 with several conditions, including a curfew. He was re-arrested in May 2010 after violating his bail and had been in custody ever since. He went to a preliminary hearing later that month for the shooting and was ordered to stand trial on reduced charges of discharging a firearm with intent. No dates have been set.
Police and justice officials also confirmed Friday that a second Headingley inmate was mistakenly released on Tuesday, only to be re-captured on Thursday. A news release was never sent out about that case, either.
Trevor Ballantyne was being held at Headingley while pending on charges including sexual assault, assault and failing to comply with court orders. Justice officials say an "administrative or clerical error" was responsible for the mistake.
Ballantyne is now also charged with escaping lawful custody on the basis he didn’t willingly turn himself in despite knowing he wasn’t supposed to have been freed.
Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.
Updated on Friday, July 30, 2010 at 3:04 PM CDT: Updated with information and photo from police press release.
4:07 PM: Updates information on search, adds info about second inmate freed.