Court briefs – December 23

A Central Alberta man will be sentenced on Feb. 1 after he was convicted Wednesday of sexually assaulting a woman.

Man guilty of sexual assault

A Central Alberta man will be sentenced on Feb. 1 after he was convicted Wednesday of sexually assaulting a woman.

Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Monica Bast also convicted the accused of pointing a firearm at the woman but acquitted him of unlawful confinement.

Bast’s findings followed a four-day trial which concluded on Nov. 19.

Identifying the victim and the accused or revealing other specific details on the date and location of the alleged offences are prohibited under a court-ordered publication ban.

Bast said that the accused took the woman to his farm against her will. She agreed there was a confrontation there in which he broke down a door and pointed a shotgun at her.

The victim grabbed the barrel at one point and he pulled the gun away from her. When he demanded sex, she insisted he take the gun out of the room. It was placed outside the bedroom on a bench and then they had sex during which she was passive but crying.

Bast said the woman submitted to the sex out of fear of the firearm.

“I guess it wasn’t as bad as getting shot at,” the woman said in a statement to police.

The defence lawyer, who also can’t be named, said the evidence didn’t support the allegation of unlawful confinement. The woman could have left on a number of occasions or gone to a neighbour.

Bast agreed with that contention.

The accused didn’t testify and the defence didn’t call any evidence.

The accused, who didn’t show any emotion when Bast convicted him, remains in custody where he has been for several months.

Assault, car chase nets three years in jail

A man who strangled a woman into unconsciousness then became involved in a police pursuit that saw a police car heavily damaged, was sent to a federal jail Wednesday.

Robert Neil MacDonald, 44, was jailed for three years when he pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm, assault with a vehicle and flight from police.

He had faced an attempted murder charge but that was reduced to the assault.

His licence has been suspended for a year.

The sentence was worked out between Crown prosecutor Tony Bell and defence lawyer Michael Scrase. A few other charges were also withdrawn.

Red Deer provincial court Judge Gordon Deck heard that the incidents started on Oct. 25 at an Oriole Park residence when MacDonald became enraged at a woman and strangled her.

When she regained consciousness she called police but MacDonald had stolen a pickup truck and fled.

He was spotted by RCMP near Sylvan Lake around 2 a.m.

Police tried to stop him but he rammed a police car with the pickup, causing $29,000 in damage to the cruiser and rendering it inoperable.

The officer was shaken but not injured, court heard.

Another pursuing officer was forced to shoot the tires on MacDonald’s vehicle to get it stopped.

Scrase said his client came to Red Deer about four months ago from British Columbia.

He said MacDonald was frustrated, angry and battling depression when he began his rage against the woman whom he was living with.

Scrase said the plea agreement saved the need for a lengthy trial where the Crown would have had trouble with the woman who was being unco-operative.

Driver who injured RCMP officer jailed

A man who injured a Red Deer RCMP officer during a pursuit was jailed for five years Wednesday.

Justin Stead, 25, of Red Deer, pleaded guilty to numerous charges including two separate flights from police including one that saw an officer pinned to the side of Stead’s vehicle.

Stead had 16 charges, including 12 stemming from the injured police offence on Oct. 22.

Crown prosecutor Tony Bell told court Stead had crashed a pickup into a garage wall and police responded to an alley behind the 5700 block of 71st Street in Red Deer around noon.

The officer found Stead slumped over the wheel with the vehicle running and the doors locked.

When the officer attempted to rouse Stead ,he refused to open the door so the officer broke a front window with his baton.

When the officer reached into the cab to turn the vehicle off Stead backed up for nearly a block with the officer’s arm trapped inside while his body was stuck on the side.

At one point Stead backed into a wooden fence wedging the officer between the fence and the truck.

Another officer responded and Stead took off once the first officer had dislodged himself.

The injured officer was treated and released from hospital.

Stead was captured when he ran his truck into a earth berm.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of flight from police, five possessions of stolen property, escaping lawful custody, resisting a peace officer, mischief to property and dangerous driving.

Judge Gordon Deck heard Stead stole a bottle of expensive champagne valued at $206 on one occasion and a television worth $500 from a hotel.

On Oct. 12 he was involved in his first flight from police when he fled in a stolen pickup. Police didn’t apprehend him in that incident.

Stead is also prohibited from driving for a year once he’s released from jail and must surrender a sample of his DNA.