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Defence and judge help woman avoid jail

Thing go wrong in people’s lives sometimes and they end up in court. The court proceedings do not always go well for the defendants but sometimes you get lucky and catch a break.

Thing go wrong in people’s lives sometimes and they end up in court.

The court proceedings do not always go well for the defendants but sometimes you get lucky and catch a break. Megan Lee Mountain was one of those lucky ones during her plea hearing in the Lac La Biche Provincial courthouse on September 27.

In 2010, Mountain, 21, was arrested for public intoxication, which was a breach of her probation. At the time of her arrest, Mountain attempted to escape the arresting officer by running away. She made it less than two blocks before she was caught. She had been on probation for only one month at the time.

Chief Crown Prosecutor, Jeff Rudiak, submitted to the court that under normal circumstances, given that Mountain was a first time offender with no prior record and that it was a first breach of probation, the Crown would normally let the charge go. He continued to suggest that since Mountain was placed on probation only one month prior to the second arrest, the Crown wanted to press charges and asked the residing Judge Peter Johnston for jail time for Mountain.

Mountain’s defence lawyer, Leighton B. U. Grey, submitted to the court evidence that played a part in Judge Johnston’s verdict that didn’t include jail time.

Mountain is a full-time student attending Inner City High School in Edmonton and is in the process of completing her Grade 10 and Grade 11 equivalency, said her lawyer. She hopes to complete her Grade 12 equivalency by the end of next summer, said the defence.

In addition to trying to obtain her high school education, Mountain has been attending AA meetings twice a week for her alcoholism, which according to Grey, she has come to terms with over the past few months and is actively trying to overcome it.

Mountain hopes to be a cook or a youth and child-care worker in the future.

The defence asked the court that in lieu of these activities and attempts to turn her life around, that the court sentence Mountain to a fine-option program where she can pay it off through programs provided at her current high school.

Judge Johnston found this to be a viable option.

“You should use the brain that you have and build up some self-esteem,” said Judge Johnston before sentencing her to a $300 fine to be paid before December 5, 2011. “Nothing [is] better than showing others that you could complete your high school.”

When asked how she felt about the judge’s decision, Mountain was brought to tears with joy and said that she was happy with the outcome.

Her lawyer was more vocal in his positive outlook of the results from the hearing.

“Judge Johnston, in my experience, is a very sensible judge,” said Grey. “In the case of Megan, although he certainly would have been justified in sending her to jail and would have done so under normal circumstance, he is the kind of judge who is impressed with people trying to get their life in order.”