Two months’ time behind bars for disobeying court

A man who walked into court free ended up leaving in cuffs after pleading guilty to breaching a conditional sentence order.

A man who walked into court free ended up leaving in cuffs after pleading guilty to breaching a conditional sentence order.

Jacob Gauthier, 20, of Ponoka, was led out of Ponoka Provincial Court on Friday, Feb. 26 following the decision of Judge J.D. Holmes to have him serve the next two months behind bars for his second admitted breach of the 18-month conditional sentence that was handed to Gauthier by a judge in a Vegreville courtroom back in September of last year for assault and theft convictions.

The charge was laid as a result of the RCMP performing a check on Jan. 8 at the residence Gauthier was supposed to be living at as required by the court, and found not to be there. He was later found at the home of his girlfriend, which the crown stated he had already been warned days prior by his probation officer that he was not to change his residence and was also not to be out of his residence unless for work or as approved by probation.

The crown argued for six months in jail, while the defence was successful in reducing that period by focusing on how Gauthier has been in the past month at his new job, how he has been working and not drinking and going to counselling combined with Gauthier’s own apology to the court.

Judge Holmes felt the two months would suffice, believing Gauthier needs to better understand that a conditional sentence must be treated the same as being in jail and that breaking that element of trust by not following the conditions or the orders from probation has consequences, adding “if I find you back (in court again), the rest of the sentence will be collapsed and you’ll serve it all in jail.”

Pair impaired

Two women ended up with significant fines to pay after pleading guilty to driving with too much alcohol in their blood.

Hailey Soosay, 22 of Maskwacis, was handed more than $1,400 in fines and a one-year driving ban after pleading to 0.08 charge and one count of possession of a controlled substance. She was stopped in the early morning of Jan. 21 by RCMP for the rear lights not working on the vehicle she was driving and later found to with a blood alcohol level of 0.10 after initially denying she had been drinking. Police also later found a small amount of cocaine on her.

Trouble with taillights also got the other woman 25 year-old Robin Powder of Edmonton who entered guilty pleas to the 0.08 charge as well as to four failures to appear and to driving while suspended, all which stemmed from an incident back on June 24, 2014. Police attempted to stop a vehicle on Bobtail Road near Highway 2A for burned out taillights when the vehicle nearly hit the ditch as it tried to pull over.

Powder was asked several times how much she had been drinking, responding with ‘a lot’ each time. She ended up registering close to three times the legal limit and it was later learned her licence had been suspended only 12 days earlier after being pulled over then for another impaired charge. She was sentenced to six days jail, which amounted to time already served, for the failure to appear counts, given a one-year driving ban and fined nearly $2,000.

Weekend sentence

A man from Edmonton ended up with a break of sorts after pleading guilty to one count each of driving while disqualified, obstruction and driving without insurance.

Tong Akot, 24, was clocked by RCMP going south on Highway 2 on Jan. 6 about 8 p.m. at 143 kilometers per hour and couldn’t produce any documents except a birth certificate, which turned out to be his brother’s. Police found this out after running his fingerprints and learning Akot was prohibited from driving a short time ago.

However, he was only given one day in jail on the disqualified driving charge and given a 60 day sentence to be served intermittently for the obstruction count and fined nearly $2,900 for no insurance. Judge Holmes explained the reason he went along with the unusual joint sentence recommendation was due to the unique family circumstances Akot faces. Akot will be on probation during the time it takes to serve the 60 days.

Month in jail

A 41-year-old man, Eugene Soosay of Samson First Nation, will spend the next 30 days in jail after pleading guilty to assaulting a woman he has been in a relationship with. Back on Dec. 3, 2015, a woman driving near the intersection of 53 St. and 53 Ave. in Ponoka saw a man punching and kicking a woman on the ground and managed to urge her to get into her car. Soosay then took off into a nearby home, but was arrested by police shortly after he was seen leaving the house.

The victim didn’t want to cooperate, but the woman driver and another witness provided statements confirming the incident. For Soosay’s part, he told court he didn’t remember anything as he was too drunk. Judge Holmes said that is no excuse and that Soosay knows what he needs to do to stay out of court and clear up his problems.