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Judge refuses guilty plea from suspect claiming innocence

Wanting to speed up the judicial process by pleading guilty while proclaiming innocence isn’t going to work, Judge B.D. Rosborough said.

By Stacey Lavallie for Black Press

Wanting to speed up the judicial process by pleading guilty while proclaiming innocence isn’t going to work, Judge B.D. Rosborough said.

On Friday, March 18, John Sattler appeared in Ponoka court via CCTV from the Edmonton Remand Centre, where he’s been held since being arrested for possession of stolen goods.

Sattler, upon learning that it would be September before his case would go to trial, opted to plead guilty to the crime.

“I’ve already spent two months in jail,” he said. “I’ve lost my job.”

He said he had bought a car off the Internet and had no idea it was stolen until he was arrested for possession of stolen goods.

“It just never ends,” he complained.

Despite his guilty plea, the judge set a trial date in September, much to Sattler’s dismay.

“We do not accept guilty pleas from innocent people,” Rosborough told Sattler.

He told Sattler to acquire counsel, either duty counsel or to hire a lawyer, to work on acquiring bail and to be prepared for jail. Sattler was not mollified by the Judge’s advice.

“What a joke, man,” he said as he was led away.

Bail denied

Bail was denied for David Stewart, who was deemed a threat to public safety and order.

Stewart is facing a charge of armed robbery for a Sept. 5, 2015 robbery at a liquor store in Ponoka. He allegedly took beer and vodka, and told the clerk he had a gun and to not follow. He then allegedly left with his ill-gotten goods.

The store had surveillance and the person on film was tentatively identified as Stewart, the court heard. Stewart had been previously arrested in Wetaskiwin and Maskwacis, and photos from the RCMP detachments verified the identity of the man on camera.

A warrant was issued and Stewart arrested.

Stewart’s long criminal record prompted the Crown to protest against judicial release for Stewart. In the past, Stewart has had 14 property crimes, seven fail to appears, five violence crimes, seven bail violations, two driving while disqualified, at least one driving while impaired, obstruction of a peace officer, and has been previously convicted of robbery, the court heard.

Judge Rosborough said he appreciated the Crown’s succinct summary.

Duty counsel, representing Stewart, said the 21-year-old is the sole provider for his common-law wife and her five children. He has full-time employment and can also provide $1,000 in cash as a bond.

However, the Judge sided with the Crown and denied Stewart bail.

Lengthy list of charges prompt three trials

Shon Hunter appeared in court to set trial dates for more than 50 charges levied against him by the Crown.

One trial, set for Sept. 30, will cover 44 charges relating to the possession of stolen goods.

The second will deal with theft charges, and was scheduled for July 12.

The third and final trial, which will cover the remaining charges, will proceed on Sept. 2.

Hunter also pleaded guilty two two traffic violations.