On Tuesday, a mother-of-three was stabbed to death outside a southwest Calgary school. Her attacker turned out to be her estranged husband, who was found dead shortly afterwards.This looks like a total failure of the justice system. Not of the individuals who work within it necessarily, but of the rules they are obliged to follow and the consequences these rules invite. Both must be re-examined, urgently.To protect the identity of the family of the slain woman, a publication ban is now in place. Nevertheless this we can know, courtesy of the Calgary Police Service.The estranged husband who killed his wife outside was no stranger to the police or the courts. In the crisp, understated language of law enforcement, the CPS acknowledges: “…in this particular incident, we engaged with the family numerous times, including charging the suspect on three separate occasions.”One may imagine the circumstances that preceded each such ‘engagement.’ And here comes the problem. Each time charges were laid, he [the accused] was released with conditions, including a no-contact order…. once criminal charges are laid, it is up to the justice system to determine if the accused will be held in custody or released on bail based on the totality and severity of the offences committed.”Translation: The judges decide who stays in jail and who goes free on bail, and they kept letting this man out. Obviously they got this completely wrong.Or did they?It is impossible to say. We do not have all the facts.But, based on those we have we can say that:1) This family required police intervention on numerous occasions. 2) Even though the estranged husband was released, there were repeated breaches of conditions. And therefore 3) We would need to understand the nature of these breaches, to appreciate why they were never considered sufficient to have him placed in custody.Hindsight of course, is perfect. And given the outcome, we may indeed assert that the circumstances warranted stronger conditions. Higher bail perhaps? Release conditional upon a third party taking responsibility for the estranged husband as in, 'go live with your mother...' The CPS statement hints that judges don’t always have a clear route to doing what seems to outsiders obviously the right thing: “Bail reform is an ongoing conversation and is a concern for law enforcement agencies and our community, when violent offenders are being charged.”Put rather differently, in the woke world in which we live, left wing activists demand bail reform on the grounds that custody discriminates against marginalised or racialised groups. (The killer in this case is Metis.) There is therefore institutional pressure upon judges to release on bail, or on no bail at all, persons charged even with serious offences.We should also acknowledge that while nobody should have sympathy for men who use their superior strength to terrorize women, common sense and past experience tells us that men can also be victims of false accusations.So what's a judge to do, indeed?To ask the question is to hint at the answer.Manifestly, had this man been in custody he could not have murdered his wife. (And he himself might have lived to recover from what appears by definition to be some state of impaired judgment.)It is no comfort therefore to discover that individuals within the justice system may well have followed the rules. That is, the police did all the system permitted them to do and judges we presume, followed policy.At fault then are the rules themselves, especially those relating to when and why judges may or must grant bail to men accused of domestic abuse.In Alberta every year, more than a dozen women die as a result of domestic violence. If this prominent and respectable family — for so they are — can lose a beloved sister, daughter and mother, it can happen in any situation.And so we are obliged for everybody’s sake, to review this entire sequence of events and answer one question: How and exactly when did the justice system that should have protected the woman who was murdered on Tuesday, fail her?How bail is awarded would be the obvious place to start. Canada’s bail system is the joint responsibility of federal, provincial and territorial governments. It is however the provincial governments that administer bail hearings and enforce bail conditions.It is for the Government of Alberta therefore, to start the ball rolling.