Lawyer irate clients turfed from remand late at night without a phone call to arrange ride

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The lawyer for a grandmother and aunt charged in the abduction of two Cochrane girls is irate his clients were released from custody late Thursday into frigid temperatures and without a ride.

Defence counsel Balfour Der said Friday the grandmother and her daughter were released on bail into sub-freezing temperatures after 9 p.m. without being granted access to a phone and without overcoats.

Der said the pair had to walk from the Calgary Remand Centre at 12200 85 Street N.W. to a gas station at 8650 112 Avenue N.W., a distance of approximately 1.5 km.

“They went to a Shell station in Royal Oak,” said Der, who earlier on Thursday successfully applied for their release on bail.

“The family were waiting for the phone call to go pick them up. I have absolutely in all my years never heard of the remand centre not allowing an inmate to have a phone call to arrange for a ride.”

Der said when the mother and daughter were arrested in B.C. on April 14, their property, including cell phones, would have been seized by police.

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“They tell them at 10 o’clock at night, ‘Go out and find your own way,’ (with) no money, probably, in their pockets, or anything.”

Therese O’Driscoll, 68, and Alison O’Driscoll, face four charges each in connection with the disappearance of the former’s granddaughters on March 12, shortly after a Calgary judge granted the girls’ father interim sole custody.

They were arrested in B.C. on April 14 and the girls returned to their father.

Der said his clients were only dressed for indoor conditions when they were told they would have to leave the jail in northwest Calgary without transportation.

He said before stepping outside in -8C temperatures and falling snow, they asked if they could call someone to come pick them up.

“They were told that there is no phone to use,” Der said.

For a short period, they stood in a foyer between the inner and outer doors before a voice came over the intercom saying, “I know it sucks, but you’ve got to leave.”

Der said they were lucky enough to get to the Shell station before it closed and the attendant allowed them to use a phone, but it was a harrowing walk along a rural roadway to get there.

Solicitor General spokeswoman Katherine Thompson said telephones are provided to inmates when they’re being released.

“Telephones are available in the admit and discharge area, as is a telephone in the main lobby entrance where the inmate is released,” Thompson said in an email.

The release policy is jackets, toques and gloves are also provided to inmates with inadequate attire, she said.

On Twitter: @KMartinCourts

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