A Manitoba father accused of contributing to his young daughter's death is seeking release from jail while his case remains before the courts and the subject of two secretive provincial probes.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/2/2015 (2440 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A Manitoba father accused of contributing to his young daughter's death is seeking release from jail while his case remains before the courts and the subject of two secretive provincial probes.

Daniel Williams, 33, appeared in Winnipeg court Monday requesting bail. He is being represented by prominent defence lawyer Greg Brodsky, who has handled more homicide cases than any other lawyer in Canada.

The Crown is opposed to Williams' release. Provincial court Judge Kelly Moar has reserved his decision until Feb. 26.

A court-ordered ban prevents specific details of the hearing from being published.

Kierra Elektra Williams was 21 months old when she died last July while living on the Peguis First Nation. RCMP spent six months investigating before laying charges. They have not released any information about the circumstances of the child's death.

Williams, the biological father, was charged with manslaughter. His wife, Vanessa Bushie, who is Kierra's mother, is charged with second-degree murder. She remains in custody. Her 20-year-old daughter, Jasmine Bushie, is also charged with manslaughter. All three are facing an additional charge of failing to provide the necessities of life.

Jasmine Bushie, Kierra's stepsister, was released on bail earlier this month with the consent of the Crown. Her conditions include having no contact with any children and a nightly curfew.

As the Free Press previously reported, Child and Family Services was involved with the family prior to Kierra's death. The girl was returned home to her birth parents in the months prior, although further specifics have not been shared publicly by officials.

Within hours of the three arrests last month, the province announced it had opened two separate investigations.

"Any time a child dies, it is a tragedy, and our hearts and thoughts are with the community," a statement from Family Service Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross's office said. It added the Child and Family Services Act prevents information from being released regarding a child or family's involvement with a Child and Family Services agency.

Some investigations are automatically launched when children die in care, including a child-abuse investigation, designed in part to determine whether an individual's name should be placed on the Provincial Child Abuse Registry, and another to assess the safety and risk to other children in the home.

The Office of the Children's Advocate may also conduct an investigation if the child was in care or if the family had involvement with a Child and Family Services agency. The child-welfare system typically waits until a criminal investigation is concluded before opening its own probes.

However, the results of both investigations will likely never be made public.

Irvin-Ross previously confirmed Kierra had a child-welfare file, but would not say what kind of services the girl received, from what agency, for how long or whether there are early indications child-protection safeguards failed.

Irvin-Ross said she and others in the child-welfare system are bound by confidentiality laws.

In the wake of the Phoenix Sinclair inquiry, which was critical of a system in which information-sharing was stymied by privacy rules, Irvin-Ross said the province is beginning to discuss whether to loosen those rules. That could allow key people, such as the minister and children's advocate, to speak more freely about children who die in care.

www.mikeoncrime.com maryagnes.welch@freepress.mb.ca

Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre
Sports columnist

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.

   Read full biography
   Sign up for Mike McIntyre’s email newsletter, On Sports