Court Report

Year of crimes equals time served and a fine

Slave Lake
Provincial Court
December 22, 2021
Judge G.W. Paul

Doreen Cecile Houle (49) was in custody at Edmonton Remand Centre. She did not appear. Her lawyer entered guilty pleas on her behalf to several provincial and one federal crime.

The federal crime was possession of a controlled substance, in this case methamphetamine.

The other 11 crimes were failure to comply. Some of them for a release order, others for an undertaking, and some for a probation order. The provincial Crown withdrew various other charges. The federal Crown withdrew one.

The location of all crimes wasn’t mentioned, but the locations mentioned were all in the Wabasca-Desmarais area. Houle is a member of Bigstone Cree Nation.

Early in 2021, Houle was sentenced to six months probation, said the Crown prosecutor. This included a requirement to report. She did not report at all between January 28 and February 18, 2021.

Another condition was to have no contact with the victim, the court heard. On February 28, 2021, the victim contacted the RCMP to report that Houle was at his home in Wabasca. She had pills and was causing a disturbance.

The federal crime also happened in the Wabasca-Desmarais area.

On March 8, 2021 at around 5:55 p.m., a woman contacted the RCMP to report that Houle was in the woman’s home, said the federal Crown. Houle was high and refusing to leave. When the woman told Houle to leave, Houle spilled pills and a white powder on the table. She then started smoking a meth pipe in front of the other woman. Police found Houle in front of the home, obviously intoxicated to the extent that she couldn’t care for herself. There was also drug paraphernalia strewn around her. She was arrested for mischief.

In the initial search, the RCMP found 0.41 grams of cocaine, added the federal Crown. Later, they found Houle asleep in the cells. When they tried to wake her, they saw three bags of meth in her left hand.

Initially, the arresting officer thought that alternative measures might be an option, but considering all of the other charges this wasn’t, added the Crown.

On July 16, 2021, Houle once again contacted the man whom she was not allowed to have contact with, said the Crown. An RCMP officer spotted her in a car with the man.

In September, she was released from jail with conditions to report, the court heard. She did not report.

The final five crimes all happened on October 25, 2021.

Once again, Houle was at the original victim’s home in Wabasca, the court heard. She was trying to get into the front door. Police found her in the shed out back. She was under two release orders and one undertaking. All three prohibited her from having contact with this man. She was also not allowed to be at his home. Also, she was under conditions to not have any weapons. She had a large knife.

Houle is addicted to alcohol and meth, said the defence. Back in January 2021, she was put on probation with a focus on rehabilitation. Her criminal record is quite short. She’d been in custody for 58 days and was sober during that time.

“The efforts to rehabilitate her failed miserably,” said Judge Paul. This was because of her actions, which indicated an addiction to meth. From 2007 to 2020, Houle was not committing crimes, another indicator of a recent meth addiction, he added.

Houle was fined $400 plus victim fine surcharge for possession of a controlled substance. She received time to pay until May 4, 2022.

“I think she has to pay that fine,” said Judge Paul.

The other sentences were a mixture of seven days in custody (five, of which three were concurrent to each other) and $200 fines plus victim fine surcharge (four). The fines were converted to four days in jail each. The sentences (and default time) equaled time served.

In custody at Edmonton Remand Centre, Auriel Cleophus Merkle did not appear. However, his lawyer entered a guilty plea on his behalf to failure to comply with a release order.
From April 15 to June 20, Merkle did not report to probation as he was ordered to do, the court heard.
Merkle was fined $200. No time to pay was given. This was converted to default time in jail.

At trial, a man maintained his not guilty plea to assault. However, he did agree that the facts (which were not read in) required a peace bond.
The peace bond is for six months.
The conditions are to keep the peace, report to probation, to take treatment, counselling, or assessment as directed, and provide proof of completion.

At trial, a woman maintained her plea of not guilty to possession of property over $5,000, but agreed to enter into a peace bond.
The peace bond is 12 months.
The only conditions are to keep the peace and to pay the victim $1,000 in restitution, by November 30, 2022.

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