Grandmother and aunt of Cochrane girls allegedly abducted are granted bail

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The grandmother and aunt of two Cochrane girls who went missing for a month were granted bail Thursday on abduction-related charges.

Provincial court Judge William Cummings said Crown prosecutor Ron Simenik had not established grounds to keep the women detained pending trial.

Defence lawyer Balfour Der argued for the pair’s release.

At Der’s request, Cummings imposed a publication ban on the hearing, which included the judge’s reasons for releasing them.

Cummings ordered cash bail of $10,000 be posted for each accused and they reside at the family’s Rocky View County acreage north of Cochrane.

They are also subject to a nightly curfew and are prohibited from contacting the girl’s father, his common-law wife and the alleged victims.

Each woman faces four charges in connection with the disappearance March 12 of the girls, aged five and two.

The girls went missing after a Court of Queen’s Bench judge ordered interim custody of them by their father at a hearing that day.

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When the father went to pick them up at their Cochrane residence, the girls and their grandmother and aunt were missing.

The girls were located in B.C. on April 14, and the grandmother and aunt were charged with one count each of abducting a person under the age of 14, abduction in contravention of a custody order, unlawful confinement and abduction of a child with intent to deprive a parent who has their lawful care.

Along with the cash bail, the women have been ordered to surrender any passports or travel documentation, are prohibited from possessing weapons and must report regularly while on release.

The day before the girls were found their mother lost a bid for a stay of the order granting the father full custody, pending a hearing in the case.

KMartin@postmedia.com

Twitter: @KMartinCourts

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