STETTLER — A farmer who wounded a man for allegedly stealing his ATV will have a trial in November.
Brian Russell Knight, 38, of Tees will have a preliminary hearing on Nov. 3 in Stettler provincial court after he elected 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.
Knight, who didn’t appear in court on Thursday, was represented by Stettler lawyer Jim Hunter, acting as agent for Calgary lawyer Balfour Der.
Der has replaced Lacombe lawyer Jim Dixon.
Three of the four people charged in the March 26 incident were to be in court on Thursday. In fact, none of them were present.
Knight didn’t appear because a provision of his bail release prohibits him from being within 160 metres of the man who he allegedly shot, his wife Trina said later outside court.
Knight is charged with seven counts, including criminal negligence causing bodily harm. He’s also charged with pointing a firearm, possession of a weapon dangerous to the public, discharging a firearm, dangerous driving and possession of an unregistered firearm.
The provincial courtroom, which seats about 70 people, was jammed with another 20 people standing in the two aisles before Judge David Plosz.
The man allegedly wounded with two blasts from a shotgun also wasn’t in court.
Knight was charged 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 injured 30-year-old man was taken to an Edmonton hospital, treated and released.
Harold Groening of Mirror is charged with two counts of theft and possession of stolen property.
Kyle Rosenthal, 23, of Alix, returns to court June 11 on a charge of theft of less than $5,000.
Nick Dewald, 22, of Alix will make his first court appearance in the fall on a charge of theft.
Trina Knight said the family is thankful for so much support from all over Canada. “It’s helping us get through this difficult time.”
She said the toll on her family is ongoing. “It’s always there. You try to go on with your life as best you can,” she said.
She said the community’s support is “unbelievable.”
Brian Knight’s brother Craig said the community is tired of the sort of incident that occurred on March 26. He said his family and many others are frustrated with the justice system. “The facts will come out at the trial.”
He also said the incident has brought the community together.
Bashaw RCMP said earlier that the incident started around 1:40 a.m. when three men were spotted in Brian Knight’s yard.
Two of the men took off in a truck while the third hopped on the ATV.
Police allege the ATV was forced off the road and two shots were fired as the man ran off.
A group of men who had been called into the action captured Groening.
Groening said earlier he was beaten by the men and then tried to escape in one of their pickup trucks before he ended up in a ditch.