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This article was published 13/12/2010 (3601 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
FORMER hockey coach Graham James secretly regained his freedom and took a one-way trip to Montreal this past weekend while the rest of the country believed he was still behind bars in Winnipeg on sex charges.
James, 58, was released from the Headingley Correctional Centre late Friday after meeting conditions of his bail which had been granted earlier in the week by provincial court Judge Rocky Pollack.
He then flew directly to Montreal, where he will be allowed to live alone pending his trial on sex abuse charges.
"Why does the justice system sneak around, not make us aware James was let out?. Are they afraid of public backlash?" former National Hockey League star Theoren Fleury said on his personal Twitter account Monday.
Crown attorney Colleen McDuff said there was nothing "sneaky" about how James was released.
"There was no conspiracy here. He was treated the same way as everyone else who gets bail," McDuff told the Free Press.
Pollack originally granted bail to James on Dec. 7, despite objections by the Crown. A court-ordered ban prevents specific details of the hearing from being published. James didn't get out that day because lawyers still had to draft the various terms of his release, which Pollack asked to be sent to him in chambers for final approval.
James was never required to make a further court appearance on the bail.
Once Pollack received the conditions, he drew up the order and it became official. James then had to wait until Friday to come up with a $10,000 surety he is required to post. Once the money was in, James was free to go.
His case was put on Monday afternoon's docket but simply as a way to keep track of it. He is not required to make personal appearances unless ordered by a judge.
James will be allowed to live alone in Quebec and must abide by a total of 11 conditions. He must report weekly to bail supervision, not have any unsupervised contact with children, remain in Canada, surrender his passport and have no contact with his alleged victims.
James is facing nine charges involving three alleged victims which date back as far as 1979. The Crown was opposed to his release. A publication ban prevents specific details of the bail hearing from being published.
James was previously convicted in 1997 of sexual assaults against three other former players and served three-and-a-half years in prison. He was later reported to be living in Spain and Montreal, and media tracked James to Guadalajara, Mexico earlier this year.
In 2009, attention on James intensified after Fleury disclosed in a book that he'd also been molested by James.
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