An Indigenous man charged with first-degree murder of a rookie police officer was out on bail in part due to equity concerns, hearing records show.

On Wednesday, The Globe and Mail released portions of the transcript from a previous bail hearing of Randall McKenzie, who is accused of murdering 28 year old OPP officer Cst. Grzegorz Pierzchala in December.

The portions show Ontario Superior Court Justice Harrison Arrell ruled in favour of bail for McKenzie after consideration that Indigenous people are overrepresented in Canada’s prison system.

“I know your first position,” Arrell told the prosecutor, “is [McKenzie] should not be released. He’s got a record, this was a gun case, this was a lot of violence in the middle of the daylight with his young son right there, a gun was involved, maybe a screwdriver and not a knife […] and that he has breached conditions in the past.”

“But I do want to hear from you about what I’m supposed to do, since everyone is First Nations and […] First Nations people are grossly overrepresented in the prison system, especially in pre-trial custody.”

McKenzie, who would later be charged with first-degree murder of a police officer, was awaiting trial for allegedly stabbing a former girlfriend’s new partner and smashing the man’s car windshield while children, including one of his own, were inside the vehicle.

“The accused is Indigenous, and it is a well-known fact that such individuals are overrepresented in our prison system, especially in pre-trial custody, because of their challenges with poverty, lack of education and addiction issues,” said Justice Arrell. “All of these factors are present in this case.”

The Globe and Mail reported that McKenzie previously violated bail conditions multiple times, was alleged to have possessed weapons after being ordered by a court not to, was convicted of armed robbery, and had strong evidence against him in the case for which he was awaiting trial.

The transcripts showed prosecutor Steve Kim argued against the decision to release McKenzie on bail, saying McKenzie’s risk to reoffend was too great, and the release would reflect poorly on the Ontario justice system.

Less than a month after Pierzchala was killed, Canadian premiers sent a collective letter to Ottawa, asking for immediate action to tighten the country’s bail system.

Conservatives have been pressuring the Liberal government since.

In the House of Commons last week, Conservative MP Raquel Dancho pointed to Pierzchala’s death, saying the Liberal government could have prevented it by enforcing better policy.

“We saw a young, new constable in the Ontario police, Grzegorz Pierzchala, who was murdered by a violent, repeat offender who was out on bail,” she said.

Dancho said the Liberals have been too slow to act.

“They brought forward no new ideas of how to address the need for immediate bail reform in this country.”

Justice Minister David Lametti announced the same day the government is considering changes to deal with violent, repeat offenders. He said he would urgently meet with counterparts to discuss bail policy.

No changes have been announced.