A verdict is expected today in the case of a Sunchild man charged with aggravated assault and other charges.
A Red Deer jury was sequestered overnight on Wednesday after deliberating for more than nine hours, starting at noon and continuing well past 9 p.m. on Wednesday.
Jurors are expected to begin their deliberations again this morning, trying to determine if it was reasonable or reckless for a young man to shoot the ATV rider in the leg who was on his property May 24 at about 2 a.m.
The defence admitted on Monday that Jonathan Mackinaw, 19, was shot in the left ankle with a .22-calibre rifle by Gerry Edward Bigchild. Mackinaw also suffered an injured left shin when he fell off the ATV.
Bigchild, 19, from the Sunchild First Nation Reserve near Rocky Mountain House, was charged with aggravated assault, possession of a weapon for the purpose of committing an offence, careless use of a firearm and using a firearm while committing an indictable offence.
The incident occurred on property where Bigchild lived next to his grandfather Gerry Redbear at Sunchild, about 55 km northwest of Rocky Mountain House.
During closing arguments on Wednesday, defence lawyer Luke Kurata’s argued that his client was trying to protect his grandfather and his family and their remote property, where it would take 40 minutes for police to respond.
Kurata said MacKinaw and a 17-year-old friend he was with were the intruders and there was “grave doubt” that Bigchild intended to cause harm. Bigchild fired a few shots into the air with a .22-calibre rifle before firing two rounds at the ATV, shooting at it from behind.
Mackinaw previously testified that he and his friend were looking for a place to buy marijuana when they became stuck in muskeg in a field near Bigchild and Redbear’s houses.
The quad that Mackinaw had been riding had been reported stolen the day before from the Brazeau Dam area. A second quad found abandoned nearby had been reported stolen from Rocky on May 5. Crown prosecutor Wayne Silliker said it didn’t matter that they were on stolen quads.
Bigchild was in court dressed in a crisp white shirt, pink tie, dark dress pants and white sneakers on Wednesday. More than 10 family and friends remained at the Red Deer Court House throughout the day, only leaving for coffee and food, as they waited for the verdict.
Juror’s asked for a transcript of Redbear’s testimony late in the afternoon on Wednesday. Justice Alan Macleod explained that ready-made transcripts of the proceedings were not readily available, but if they had a specific area they wanted to review the court reporter could go over it. The court reporter read back some of the testimony and Justice Macleod answered some of the jury’s questions in regards to what direction the quad left the property.
At first it looked like there might be no lodgings for the jurors to stay as a result of Agri-Trade going on, causing hotels in Red Deer, Innisfail and Sylvan Lake to all be full. Justice Macleod said in that case if the jurors could not come to a verdict it would be a mistrial because he could not press them to come to a verdict Wednesday night, but shortly thereafter lodgings were found at a Ponoka hotel.