Short, remote docket with lots of warrants
July 7, 2020
Judge G.W. Paul
On July 7, Slave Lake Provincial Court out-of-custody matters were not automatically adjourned.
The docket was only five pages. Of these, two were out-of-custody docket matters and one was an out-of-custody trial.
Of the people with out-of-custody matters, almost half were issued warrants. The person scheduled to stand trial and nine out of the 20 out-of-custody people on the docket didn’t attend or contact the court.
The court expects people to contact the court to find out about their matters, said Judge G.W. Paul. This is the only way to proceed during this difficult time of COVID-19. With that in mind, the warrants issued on July 7 will be held until August 12. If people do not appear on that date, the warrants will be released, people will be arrested, and have to have a bail hearing.
One person in custody and one out-of-custody, pled guilty to their charges. The other cases were adjourned.
Tricia Lynn Beaver pled guilty to possession of a controlled substance.
The offence happened on November 30, 2019.
Beaver was sentenced to three days, with three days credit, so time served.
In custody at Edmonton Remand Centre, Jason David Benoit pled guilty to shoplifting under $5,000 and failure to appear. Benoit is 39 and from Edmonton.
On May 24, 2019, Benoit was in the Slave Lake Walmart, said the Crown prosecutor. He put over $1,900 worth of electronics in a shopping cart. He then left the building through the emergency exit. A witness noticed the alarm, looked over and saw him get into a waiting vehicle. The vehicle drove away in an unknown direction.
On April 14, Benoit failed to attend court.
Benoit’s record was admitted.
The Crown and duty council submitted a joint submission for 90 days for shoplifting and a fine for failure to appear.
Benoit has 75 days of presentence custody, said duty council. He has struggled with meth addiction for 16 years. He has a place to stay in Edmonton and is applying for AISH, but has a limited income, so requested three months to pay.
“The Crown is being quite generous with you,” said Judge Paul. Noting that Benoit had other 90 day sentences and previous failures to appear.
Benoit was sentenced to 90 days for shoplifting and a $500 fine for failure to appear. Time to pay was given until October 21, 2020.
With enhanced credit, the 75 days of presentence custody cover the 90 day sentence, so the sentence equaled time served.
Note: Since mid-March Slave Lake docket has been held in High Prairie Provincial Court. This court was also physically in High Prairie. All suspects attend remotely by phone or on CCTV, or by proxy having contacted – the court, duty council, their lawyer, or Slave Lake Native Counselling Service. These can be reached by phone, email, or fax.
Wabasca and Red Earth Creek Provincial Courts are also being held in the High Prairie Courthouse. Court will likely remain in High Prairie until September.
Anyone entering a courthouse in Alberta must wear a mask.