Stettler school principal and town councillor pleads guilty to assault

A Stettler school principal and town councillor seeking re-election has pleaded guilty to assaulting his wife.

A Stettler school principal and town councillor seeking re-election has pleaded guilty to assaulting his wife.

David Edwin Garbutt, 44, pleaded to one count of assault in Stettler provincial court on Tuesday. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 14.

Garbutt has been a teacher and school administrator for 18 years and principal of Stettler Middle School for the last six years. He has served as a town councillor for one three-year term and is seeking re-election.

He was charged after getting into a verbal dispute with his wife Teresa. The confrontation escalated into assault when he pushed his wife, bruising her arm.

Reached at his school, Garbutt would say little about the incident. “No comment, except the courts will deal with the matter,” he said.

He would not say if any action had been taken by Clearview School Division or whether his position as principal was affected.

Under provincial legislation, a Criminal Code conviction does not prohibit running for municipal office. A candidate is ineligible if they have, within the previous 10 years, been convicted of an offence under the Local Authorities Election Act, the Election Act or the Canada Elections Act.

A pre-sentence report has been ordered. The reports, compiled by a probation officer, look into the background of someone convicted of a crime to aid the judge in reaching an appropriate sentence.

Garbutt has been ordered not to have any contact with his wife outside of joint counselling sessions.

In a campaign profile on the Stettler Independent’s website, Garbutt says he has also lived in B.C. and Saskatchewan. He says he wants to see Stettler develop as an economic hub in East Central Alberta.