Farmer’s day in court delayed

A preliminary hearing for a farmer charged with shooting an alleged thief who was stealing his ATV has been delayed because the alleged victim can’t be located.

A preliminary hearing for a farmer charged with shooting an alleged thief who was stealing his ATV has been delayed because the alleged victim can’t be located.

Red Deer provincial court heard on Friday that the hearing for Brian Russell Knight, 38, of Tees is now set for June 17 in Stettler provincial court.

It had been set for Nov. 3 but Judge Bert Skinner heard that the Crown can’t locate Harold Groening, 31, formerly of Mirror.

Crown prosecutor Jason Snider said outside court that authorities believe Groening is believed to be living in the Lower Mainland area of British Columbia.

Groening faces two counts of theft and possession of stolen property.

Snider said a witness warrant was issued for Groening in September when he failed to show up for the trial of co-accused Kyle Rosenthal, 23, of Alix.

Knight faces charges of unlawful use of a firearm, pointing a firearm, possession of a dangerous weapon, assault with a weapon, criminal negligence causing injury, dangerous driving and unauthorized possession of a firearm.

He elected earlier to be tried by a judge and a jury. The preliminary hearing, to determine if there’s enough evidence to warrant the accused stand trial in Court of Queen’s Bench, will take a full day.

Skinner told Snider the June trial is peremptory on the Crown. In other words, if the key witness can’t be produced, the charges against the accused could be dropped.

The man was allegedly wounded with two blasts from the shotgun. He has a trial set for Dec. 8.

Knight was charged in the late spring after it was alleged he chased down and shot one of three men with a shotgun blast. It’s alleged the men were discovered in Knight’s farm yard in the early morning attempting to steal an ATV.

The incident sparked an outpouring of financial support from across Canada for Knight’s defence.

The injured 31-year-old man was taken to an Edmonton hospital, treated and released with injuries to his back and side.

Rosenthal is charged with theft under $5,000, for a quad, theft over $5,000 for a truck and possession of stolen property.

A trial date is still to be set for Nick Dewald, 22, of Alix, charged with theft under $5,000.

jwilson@bprda.wpengine.com