Hopley chooses not to seek bail

Alleged kidnapper of Sparwood boy consents to remain in custody during court proceedings.

  • Dec. 19, 2011 7:00 a.m.

By Sally MacDonald

The man charged with kidnapping three-year-old Kienan Hebert in September has opted out of a bail hearing in a Cranbrook court.

Randall Hopley, 46, had a brief court appearance today (Monday) on charges of kidnapping, abduction of a person under 14, and break and enter with the intent to commit an offence.

But his lawyer, William Thorne, told Judge Grant Sheard that with Hopley’s consent he would not show cause why Hopley should be released, and consented to a detention order set by the court.

On September 7, Hopley was out on bail from charges of break and enter in Alberta when he allegedly kidnapped three-year-old Kienan Hebert from his parents’ home in Sparwood.

Police issued an amber alert, saying that Kienan disappeared from his home wearing Scooby Doo boxer shorts.

Scores of volunteers joined emergency personnel on a massive manhunt, but Kienan was mysteriously returned to the family home physically unharmed four days later.

On September 13, Hopley was found by police sniffer dogs at a gravel pit near Crowsnest Lake, Alberta, and taken into custody.

Since then, Hopley has been retained at Kamloops Regional Correction Centre and a psychiatric assessment has been performed. The results are protected by a publication ban.

He appeared via video link to the Cranbrook courtoom Monday, December 19, wearing a prison-issue orange jumpsuit and a grim expression.

Hopley’s counsel William Thorne pointed out that because Hopley was out on bail at the time he is alleged to have committed the Sparwood offenses, the “reverse onus” principle is applied.

That principle means that the burden of proof shifts from the prosecutor to the accused.

In this case, Hopley’s lawyer would have needed to prove to the judge why the accused should be released, rather than the usual bail situation where the prosecutor must provide grounds for the judge to order the accused to be detained.

But Thorne told the court that Hopley consents to remain in custody while the charges make their way through the court.

Hopley will next appear in court on the kidnapping charges on February 20 when he is expected to enter a plea.

On Monday, Thorne entered not guilty pleas on two charges of breach of probation on behalf of Hopley. Those matters will be back before the court on January 18.

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