Several Ponoka offenders punished at provincial court

Man stays behind bars after entering guilty pleas related to a break and enter.

One of the men charged in what could be regarded as a home invasion has pleaded to some charges stemming from the incident and will be spending further time behind bars.

Lane Dickson, now 19 from Red Deer, entered guilty pleas in Ponoka Provincial Court via closed circuit television from the Red Deer Remand Centre on Friday, Dec. 18 to three charges relating to an incident from Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014.

Those charges were break and enter, party to unlawful confinement and possession of weapon dangerous to the public and led to him receiving an 18 month jail sentence as well as a 10-year firearm ban plus an order to produce a DNA sample for storage in the national databank.

Dickson was one of seven individuals involved in a break and enter of a Ponoka home around 5:30 a.m. that day in search of collecting a drug debt that was owed by one of the residents. Dickson admitted playing the part of ensuring no one left the home and that he carried what was a sword or machete during the incident. While Dickson and a few others essentially played security, others involved searched the home for valuables, but only a X-box gaming system was taken and no physical harm was done to the people in the home despite some threats to do so and the fear imposed by seeing weapons which included an alleged firearm that turned out to be an air soft gun.

The joint sentence that was presented was agreed to by presiding Judge J. Glass, in part, due to the cooperation by Dickson in the early stages of the investigation that eventually led to the charges against himself and the other individuals.

With consideration given for the time Dickson has already spent behind bars, he has just over six more months left to serve on the sentence.

Pair of impaireds

Two individuals found themselves without a licence and facing sizable fines after pleading guilty to charges of drinking and driving earlier this year.

The first was Joshua Montoor, 27 of Erimeskin, who entered a guilty plea to having a blood alcohol level above 0.08 and was handed a hefty fine of $2,600 to go with a one-year driving ban. Montoor was pulled over on the evening of Wednesday, Nov. 11 after being seen leaving the Ponoka 7-11 following a complaint the vehicle he was driving had been seen earlier on Highway 2A north of town speeding plus hitting the ditch and then becoming airborne as it returned to the road.

Once he was stopped by RCMP, Montoor was found to have a strong odour of alcohol on his breath and later found to have levels more than double the legal limit at close to 0.20. That aggravating level, combined with the reported driving pattern by a witness, convinced Judge Glass to impose a higher than usual fine along with issuing a warning.

“You are very fortunate, given all of what happened that night, to not have hurt yourself or anyone else that was on the road,” stated Glass during sentencing.

“Given the recently released startling statistics that over the last five years about 90 people have been killed and more than 500 injured in incidents where at least one driver was impaired, its fortunate you weren’t added to those statistics.”

The other person to plead to one count of having a blood alcohol level over 0.08 was Bradley Baptiste, 20 of Ponoka. He was stopped on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015 going more than 20 kilometres over the speed limit while 50th Street in Ponoka then found with alcohol on his breath and not being able to produce a licence.

Due to the speed he was going at and elevated level of 0.15, Baptiste received a sentence of a $1,200 fine which is slightly higher than for a first offense and a one-year driving ban. He will also be allowed to apply for the ignition interlock program after the first three months of the ban.

Time served enough for punishment

A Maskwacis man with an admitted alcohol problem was released from jail after pleading guilty to two counts of failing to comply with conditions.

Lyndon Saddleback, 20, was found by RCMP lying on the road near McDonalds on Wednesday, Dec. 9 around 12:30 a.m. unable to stand on his own with a strong odour of alcohol and uncooperative. He is presently under release conditions to abstain from alcohol and was under a curfew, due to pending charges that are set for trial next month.

Saddleback apologized to the court, adding he regrets the incident and is hoping the period of sobriety he has had while in jail will help get him back on track with finishing his school courses and being there for his family.

In the end, he was given 1.5 times credit for the eight days he had already been behind bars, meaning the sentence handed down amounted to time served.

Thefts don’t pay

A now-former-Ponoka man will be locked away until just before Christmas after pleading guilty to three charges.

Cody Estelle-Pittman, 22, now residing near Innisfail, was sentenced to five days behind bars along with being fined $400 on two counts of theft under $5,000 and one count of failing to comply with release conditions.

Back on Wednesday, Oct. 21, he was caught shoplifting just over $12 worth of product from Hamilton’s IGA, followed exactly two weeks later by his arrest for his part in a poppy box being stolen from the Ready Mart. Estelle-Pittman distracted the convenience store clerk while another male took the box with the case, but the pair were caught a short time later while fleeing from the bar located across the street once they saw police.

Then on Saturday, Dec. 5, he was seen near a local bar by officers in the company of an individual police knew Estelle-Pittman was under court order to have no contact with, thereby breaking a condition of his release on pending charges.

His lawyer explained a problem with meth and association with the wrong crowd were part of why he was involved, something that has been solved with him moving out of the area.

However, Judge Glass showed less sympathy than in previous cases that had been dealt with in the day in dishing out a short jail term.

“While shoplifting a relatively small amount is wrong, I find the theft of the poppy box to be reprehensible to the point that cannot be dealt with by way of a fine,” he said.

“The money raised in this fashion goes toward helping those that fought for your freedoms today and they do not deserve to be treated in that fashion.”

Mistaken door knock

One local man is now paying for being extremely drunk with a criminal record.

Twenty-year-old Randy Van Hell from Ponoka pleaded guilty to one charge of mischief causing damage after mistakenly knocking a door down at a home he believed was the one he was residing at.

Around 3 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 22, RCMP were called to a home to follow up on a report of a male banging heavily on a door and swearing to be let in. Upon arrival, officers found the door had been busted off the hinges and found an intoxicated male approach them in the back alley a short time later. That man was Van Hell and told officers he was lost while trying to find where he was living.

His lawyer explained Van Hell was out that night and was dealing with a relationship break-up and not being able to see his young daughter as a result.

Given the circumstances, Van Hell was fined about $400.

Domestic assault fine

A bump on the head combined with a trip to the hospital was all it took to earn a big fine for a Ponoka man.

Corey Paternak, 49, was fined nearly $1,000 after pleading guilty to assaulting his common-law wife of 16 years back on Sunday, Nov. 8. The charge was a result of police attending a residence after a 911 hang-up was called back by dispatchers and the woman spoken to was crying and reported she had been hit on the head.

Police found a large bump on the woman’s head and she ended up being transported by ambulance to hospital.

In his defence, his lawyer pointed out the pair’s relationship has been rather stormy from the beginning with both individuals being placed on peace bonds against each other in recent times, adding now may be the time to learn how to deal with their disagreements in a different way.

In handing out the large fine, Judge Glass took into the account the aggravating factors of Paternak’s related record and the fact it was a domestic abuse circumstance.