Bail granted suspect in Chinook Centre sexual assaults

Laifa is to be under house arrest 24 hours a day, with exceptions for work, court appearances and counselling

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The suspect in a series of sexual assaults on women at Chinook Centre mall has been granted bail on strict conditions that include house arrest.

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Provincial court Judge Greg Stirling also ordered Salah Eddine Laifa to report to probation on a daily basis as long as he’s living in transitional housing, such as the Mustard Seed.

Laifa’s reporting condition can be loosened if he finds his own accommodations, but he still must report at least once a week, Stirling said.

The judge made the order at the conclusion of a bail hearing Tuesday in which he heard submissions from Crown prosecutor Melissa Kostiuk, who opposed Laifa’s release pending trial, and defence counsel Andrea Urquhart.

At Urquhart’s request, Stirling imposed a publication ban on the proceedings, which covers evidence, counsel submissions and his reasons for releasing the accused.

“Mr. Laifa, I’m going to release you on bail conditions that will be very restrictive,” Stirling said, before detailing his reasons for releasing the accused sex offender.

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Laifa must post $500 cash bail, surrender his passport and undergo any mental health counselling as directed by Forensic Assessment Outpatient Services, the judge said.

He’s to be under house arrest 24 hours a day, with exceptions for work, court appearances and counselling. He can also attend religious services once a week and shop for necessities for two hours on a weekly basis.

Laifa, 28, was arrested May 15 at the southwest Calgary mall and charged with four counts of sexual assault after police said four women, including a security guard, alleged they were molested.

At the time, Laifa was on release on five other charges.

Since his arrest, the Crown has added a fifth sexual assault allegation stemming from an incident in Cochrane last Oct. 17.

Additional conditions of his release include a prohibition of going to Cochrane or Chinook Centre, Stirling said.

His case returns to Calgary court on July 22.

On Twitter: @KMartinCourts

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