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Northern Alberta teen lands 120-day sentence for B&E, pointing gun at cop

Justice warns 17-year-old that 'consequences change very fast'
20200205-Athabasca Provincial Court-BT-01
Athabasca Provincial Court. File

 A 17-year-old from Calling Lake told a judge he was going to be on his best behaviour moving forwards after spending 54 days behind bars for firearms offences and a break and enter.

In Athabasca Court of Justice Feb. 6, the young person, who can’t be identified under provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of an unauthorized firearm, pointing a firearm, breaking and entering with intent, breaching curfew conditions, and failing to comply with a release condition to not possess a firearm.

As part of the partial joint submission between Crown prosecutor Matthew Kerr and defence counsel Christopher Chelala, additional charges against the youth were withdrawn.

Justice Joanne Heudes accepted Chelala’s sentence submissions — Kerr had asked for an additional custodial sentence in addition to the time served — noting an additional five days of custody was unlikely to make a difference.

“It’s good to see you here, I’m a mother, I understand how troubling this is,” said Heudes, addressing the youth’s mother, who was consistently in court throughout the process.

“You’re 17, about to become an adult, and the consequences of how we talk is going to change very fast,” said Heudes. “Honestly, you’re very lucky to be here. You raised a weapon of your own at an officer, who had to raise a weapon back. That would have ended horribly for you and horribly for your mother.”

The youth had 80 days of enhanced credit and will spend the remaining 40 days of the 120-day sentence out of custody, as laid out in the youth sentencing guidelines. As part of the 18-month probationary sentence, he’ll have to abstain from alcohol and narcotics, stay at the approved residence, and attend assessment or treatment as directed. He will also have a year to complete 40 hours of community service.

Chelala said the youth had told him they had no plans of going back to jail after spending a month and a half behind bars, and he wants to make something of his life. He added that the loss of a best friend derailed the youth’s plans for their life, but the young man was hoping to overcome it.

“They took the loss of a friend hard; it was a major trauma for them,” said Chelala. “Both (the youth) and their mom admit it’s a problem, and where all the problems stem from.”

The youth waived their right to a Gladue report, as well as a pre-sentence report since either would have kept them behind bars for longer than was necessary. Chelala said the youth would be living with his mother, who had reported them to the Mounties in the past for breaking a release condition.

“His mom confirmed that he will be under her supervision. She is more than capable of taking care of him,” said Chelala.

The facts

Kerr told court that on Aug. 27, 2023, an Athabasca RCMP constable was patrolling the Calling Lake area for a suspect in an unrelated shooting. The constable noticed a quad on the road and when he attempted to make a stop, the quad fled east crossing the ditch.

Kerr said the constable noticed a male wearing a ski mask in August, and when the officer approached, he saw a “large brown firearm,” which was later discovered to be a .306 which was loaded. The firearm was pointed at the constable, which led the constable to draw his service pistol, pointing it at the youth.

The youth complied with the constable’s commands and was arrested without further incident.

On Oct. 19, 2023, around 5:30 a.m., two unidentified males attended an address in Calling Lake. After breaking into three residences, alarms were triggered, and the owners called neighbours to come check it out. The neighbours observed two males moving boxes out of a house and were able to scare the two men away.

Forensic investigators were requested, and were able to pull fingerprints from the cabin, as well as footprints matching a specific shoe brand.

On Oct. 21, 2023, the youth was arrested on a separate matter, while wearing the same style of shoe as the footprint. His fingerprints were sent off and came back as a match to a set found inside the property.

On Oct. 26, 2023, the youth was bound by a release order to be in his residence between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. On Oct. 31 RCMP received a call for service saying the youth was observed driving a quad recklessly. The RCMP were aware that the youth was on a curfew condition, and upon attending the residence at 11:30 p.m. for a compliance check, were informed by the youth’s mother that he was not at home and hadn’t been home for hours.

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