Sentence angers bomb victim

The father of a baby who might have been injured or killed in a pipe bomb attack expressed anger at the suspended sentence and probation handed to a man who helped build the device.

The father of a baby who might have been injured or killed in a pipe bomb attack expressed anger at the suspended sentence and probation handed to a man who helped build the device.

Tyrel McDonald said outside court on Tuesday that convicted bomb maker Michael Joseph Toews, 26, of Red Deer should have at least received a short, sharp jail sentence that would give him time to think about what he did.

Toews was placed on 18 months probation by provincial court Judge Thomas Schollie after pleading guilty on Nov. 3 to making an explosive device.

Shrapnel from the exploding bomb scattered ball bearings in all directions. Several chunks smashed through McDonald’s house, where the family was sleeping about 1 a.m. on Oct. 20.

“The blast nearly took our baby from us,” said McDonald.

“She was sleeping in her crib and one piece came within inches of hitting her,” McDonald said.

The 20-cm pipe bomb was packed with ball bearings, encased in tempered steel and planted under a vehicle.

Shrapnel crashed through house walls and badly damaged two vehicles.

McDonald said his family was evicted shortly after the explosion from the residence they were renting.

“We have to pay for the damaged vehicles and find a new place to live,” he added.

“It’s torn our family apart,” he added.

McDonald declined to comment on what he believed the motive was.

Toews was one of three men charged in the blast on Jordan Parkway in Red Deer.

Crown prosecutor Anders Quist said the maximum sentence for the offence was five years in jail but recommended the suspended sentence and probation.

Quist said it couldn’t be proven that Toews knew what was going to happen when he helped a cousin build the bomb.

“He didn’t know what was going to be done with it,” defence lawyer Kevin Sproule said.

Quist said the sentence also reflects that Toews had no previous criminal record and pleaded guilty at an early date.

Toews also can’t have contact with the other two people charged or anyone from McDonald’s family or two other witnesses.

Christopher Sinclair, 27, of Red Deer has a preliminary hearing set for Feb. 19. He is charged with making an explosive device, mischief endangering life and using an explosive device.

Kevin Scott Sinclair, 29, returns to court on Jan. 7 to enter a plea on charges of making an explosive device, causing an explosion and mischief endangering life.

The maximum sentence for mischief endangering life is life in jail.

Both Sinclairs remain in custody.

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