Men charged after violent gun fight to stand trial for aggravated assault

Two people accused of a violent gun fight east of Red Deer will stand trial on several charges, but will not be prosecuted for attempted murder.

Two people accused of a violent gun fight east of Red Deer will stand trial on several charges, but will not be prosecuted for attempted murder.

Bradley Voykin, 26, and Joshua Cusler, 29, of Red Deer, were committed to stand trial in Red Deer Court of Queen’s bench after a lengthy preliminary inquiry.

Though only five witnesses were called in total, the length of their evidence stretched the preliminary inquiry over more than a year. Originally scheduled for four days, the inquiry started on May 5, 2014 and ran until May 9. Further preliminary inquiry continuation dates were added on May 21, 2014, Nov. 20, 2014, May 4, 2015 and Monday, when it concluded.

Preliminary inquiries are held to test the strength of the Crown’s case against the accused before heading to trial. A court-ordered publication ban protects the evidence given at the inquiry to ensure a fair trial.

Only one witness was called Monday before judge John Holmes in Red Deer provincial court.

Nicole Sissons, defence counsel for Cusler, and Andrew Phypers, defence counsel for Bradley Voykin, consented to the committal to stand trial on some of the charges.

The two will stand trial on aggravated assault and robbery with a firearm. Furthermore, Voykin will be tried on breaching a firearms prohibition and pointing a firearm. Cusler will be tried on the additional charge of breaching a recognizance.

The Crown will not proceed on three charges. Originally, the two men were charged with attempted murder. Now they will be tried for aggravated assault. The Crown also will not proceed on two charges: robbery with a firearm and extortion with a firearm.

The two have been out of custody since May 4, 2015, and after the inquiry, curfew conditions in their recognizances were removed.

The charges will proceed to Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench for arraignment and setting a trial date on Oct. 5. Voykin and Cusler previously elected to be tried by judge and jury.

On March 19, 2013, Blackfalds RCMP were called to a residence in Balmoral Heights to a report of a male suffering gunshot wounds. On scene, police found a male victim suffering gunshot wounds, but the suspects had fled. He was taken to Red Deer Hospital in serious but stable condition.

Shortly thereafter, Red Deer RCMP were called to a report of a collision in the Northwood Estates trailer park in north Red Deer. Officers found two males who had been in the vehicle suffering from gunshot wounds. Through their investigation, police believe the wounds were suffered during the gun fight. Police said the three parties were known to each other.

mcrawford@bprda.wpengine.com