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Saskatchewan mother accused of faking deaths, crossing into U.S., gets bail

The judge warned the woman to be on her best behaviour

A judge has granted bail for a Saskatoon woman accused of faking her death and that of her son and illegally crossing the border into the United States.

Provincial court Judge Lua Gibb said Friday that the 48-year-old woman, who cannot be named due to a publication ban, can be released on $10,000 bail.

The woman must stay at her sister’s home and cannot have contact with her son unless the court grants access. And she cannot leave Saskatchewan unless she has permission.

The woman was released Friday night after getting an ankle monitor.

Still in her jail uniform — grey slacks and a grey shirt — the woman shielded her face with paper that had her release conditions on it.

The woman grabbed a familiar face and whispered something in their ear as friends and family surrounded her.

She refrained from saying anything aloud to them and didn’t take questions from the media. She then quickly hopped into the backseat of a car that was parked nearby before it drove away, with her family dispersing soon after.

An hour earlier, the judge warned the woman to be on her best behaviour.

“If you breach any condition, you can be charged with a Criminal Code offence,” Gibb said, adding the woman could also be placed back in custody until the end of her trial.

“It really is incumbent on you.”

There were cheers in the courtroom from some of the woman’s family and friends who sat through the four-hour bail hearing.

The woman is charged with public mischief and child abduction in contravention of a custody order. She also faces two charges in the U.S. related to identity fraud for allegedly crossing the border with fake identification.

The woman and her seven-year-old boy were reported missing in July after her pickup truck was found at a park south of Saskatoon.

On Aug. 5, after two weeks of search efforts, she and her son were found in Oregon City, and she was arrested.

The prosecution and defence in the U.S. consented to the woman’s return to Canada after she waived a formal extradition process.

The woman’s lawyers, friends and relatives have said the Indigenous woman was a victim of domestic abuse who fruitlessly sought help from officials in Saskatchewan.

Her child’s father has said he would never hurt her or the boy. Saskatoon police have said previous allegations made by the woman were investigated but no charges were laid.

Evidence presented at the bail hearing is under a publication ban. The woman’s bail conditions also include that she not have contact with the boy’s father.

Defence attorney Chris Murphy appeared in court for Toronto lawyer Marie Henein, who is representing the woman.

“I was not surprised to see her released and I commend the courageousness of Madam Justice Gibb,” he told reporters.

– Mickey Djuric, The Canadian Press