Drunk driving lands two people in prison; other convictions
September 16, 2020
Judge G.W. Paul
Appearing by closed circuit video from Peace River Correctional Centre, Richard West Anderson (24) pled guilty to possession of a controlled substance.
On August 17, 2020, High Prairie RCMP received a report that Anderson was in Gift Lake, said the federal Crown prosecutor. He was wanted on various warrants. When police arrived, he was sweating and shaking. He spontaneously told them that he’d taken methamphetamine one hour earlier, had meth in the house and where to find it. It was 0.42 grams.
The Crown and defense submitted a joint submission for a $500 fine.
The Crown said, this is half of what he usually asks for.
“He’s (Anderson has) lost his way,” said the defence. He’s addicted to methamphetamine.
“It’s a shame,” said Judge Paul, to Anderson. “You’ve let your life spiral down because of meth.”
Anderson was fined $500, plus a 20 per cent victim fine surcharge. No time to pay was given. Anderson will serve 10 days in lieu.
Matthew Douglas Hiron was sentenced for flight from a peace officer and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle. His lawyer entered his guilty pleas on September 2, 2020, but Judge Paul ordered him to be in court in person to be sentenced.
(Summary of details read in on Sept. 2, 2020: On March 9, 2019, Hiron drove a vehicle in a high speed chase through Slave Lake and on Hwy. 2 past Kinuso. The three passengers were known to the court).
At sentencing, Judge Paul addressed Hiron.
“I have grave concerns about what happened,” he said. He then asked Hiron a series of questions.
In response, Hiron said he lives in Peavine with his partner and children. He had a job pending getting a license. He struggles with alcohol addiction, but without a license can’t get to town to attend meetings.
“The aggravating factors are horrible,” said Judge Paul. The speed of the driving, that some of it was in town etc.
While Hiron’s prior record had only one conviction from 2012, Judge Paul said, after seven years, to do some thing like this is aggravating.
Hiron said he has post-traumatic stress from being stabbed years ago, so when the occupants of the vehicle told him not to stop and put something at the back of his head, he didn’t stop.
“There’s an awful lot that judges aren’t told,” said Judge Paul. The joint submission of a conditional sentence of 60 days concurrent and one year driving prohibition is on the low end, but acceptable.
Hiron was sentenced to two concurrent conditional sentences of 60 days. He is also prohibited from driving a motor vehicle for one year.
The first 30 days are house arrest. The second 30 he has a curfew. There are various conditions including not drinking any intoxicating substance. During house arrest, Hiron can be absent for the normal reasons: work, education, required appointments, etc.
Michael M. Koochin was found guilty of six crimes after a trial. His trial was on May 22 and July 22.
Koochin was found guilty of four breaches of conditions, careless use/storage of a firearm, unauthorized possession of a firearm, and possession of a firearm knowing it is unauthorized.
The crimes were on September 11 and 14, 2019, said Judge Paul. The Crown proved that on the 11 and 14, Koochin sent a series of emails to a person he was under conditions not to contact. He was also under conditions not to be within 200 metres of where she was likely to be. On the 14th, he drove in his distinctive pickup very close to a relative’s home, while she was visiting.
On the same day, Judge Paul said, police found Koochin’s pickup at another person’s residence. When police arrived, that person removed a rifle from the floor of Koochin’s pickup. The individual tried to hide it in the grass, but the police officer found it. The gun was loaded with a bullet in the chamber. The gun belonged to Koochin.
The Crown proved, Judge Paul said, that Koochin put the gun in his truck “in the condition it was found. He drove this vehicle,” with the gun on the floor.
Sentencing will be October 14.
Jacob Terry Sereres was sentenced for two charges of impaired driving and a traffic ticket for driving while unauthorized. Sereres had previous impaired driving convictions.
Sereres has 10 real days of pre-trial custody, said the defence. He struggles with alcoholism and unresolved grief.
For one impaired, Judge Paul said, Sereres’ blood alcohol level was 0.08 – the legal limit. On December 30, 2018, it was 0.24 – three times the legal limit.
Sereres was sentenced to a total of 120 days, one year probation, and a three-year driving prohibition. For two years, he cannot apply for Interlock. Probation includes the requirement to attend treatment and counselling. Sereres was given 15 days credit, so 105 days left to serve.
John Edward Yellowknee pled guilty to failure to comply with a DNA order.
On October 30, 2014, Yellowknee failed to go to the Slave Lake RCMP detachment to give a sample of bodily fluids for DNA analysis, said the Crown.
“I was in Wabasca,” said Yellowknee, “and I had no ride to Slave Lake.”
Yellowknee was fined $200.
“But I want to tell you something,” Judge Paul said to Yellowknee. “You still have to give this DNA.”
Yellowknee responded that he already did in Wabasca.
Shelly Nicole Willis (also known as Wilton) was sentenced for failure or refusal to provide a breath sample, two charges each of assaulting a peace officer and impaired driving. Willis had similar previous convictions.
Willis pled guilty to the bulk of the crimes in January 2020. The details from the last one were read in.
On June 12, 2020 at 9:47 p.m., Slave Lake RCMP received a report of an erratic driver, said the Crown. The driver was on Hwy. 2 near Slave Lake. They were driving approximately 180 km an hour, swerving and passing vehicles. Police found the vehicle on the side of the road. Willis was in the driver’s seat, with her head slumped against the driver’s side window. The RCMP officer woke her up. She had difficulty focusing and couldn’t open the window. The officer opened the door and smelled alcohol. Willis didn’t know where she was.
Willis’ blood alcohol level was 0.26 and 0.24, which are three times the legal limit.
Willis has tried treatment for her “unresolved alcoholism,” said the defence.
“It may not be entirely your fault,” said Judge Paul, to Willis, “but it is your responsibility.”
Willis was sentenced to 135 days, three concurrent driving prohibitions, and one year of probation. Probation included the requirement to attend treatment and counselling. She cannot apply for Interlock until after the first 18 months of the prohibition. Willis had eight days credit, so 127 days left to serve.