Alberta briefs – November 25

A Wildrose Alliance staff member whose Twitter message drew complaints from the Premier Ed Stelmach’s office has resigned.

Wildrose staffer resigns after Twitter complaint

EDMONTON — A Wildrose Alliance staff member whose Twitter message drew complaints from the Premier Ed Stelmach’s office has resigned.

Stephen Carter told party officials he’s resigning to look after failing business interests.

Carter apologized last week after sending a brief Twitter message that the premier’s staff said appeared to mock Stelmach’s style of speaking.

After attending Stelmach’s speech to rural politicians, Carter sent a message saying, “Dat was quite a speech, dem media better report it right.”

A Wildrose Alliance spokesman says this is obviously a hard day for Carter, who joined the party during the recent leadership race that Smith won.

Stelmach was dismissive when asked for his reaction to Carter’s resignation and did not even mention the Wildrose Alliance by name.

Man who drugged crew gets conditional sentence

DRUMHELLER — A man has been given a two-year conditional sentence for giving a powerful narcotic to members of a pipeline crew, one who died.

Garon Heinz, 24, of Medicine Hat, was charged in November 2008 after a 41-year-old man died and two other men were taken to hospital after ingesting OxyContin.

Defence lawyer Clint Yarshenko said the court took into consideration that his client was “not engaged in trafficking for profit” in this incident.

Heinz gave the powerful narcotic to members of a Ledcor pipeline crew working just north of Oyen.

Yarshenko said his client had received a prescription for a high dosage of the pain killer after an accident.

He says Heinz’s co-workers convinced him to give them some of his drug to use for recreational purposes.

Five-year sentence too harsh for ‘spiritual healer’: appeal court

CALGARY — Alberta’s top court has ruled that a 5 1/2 year sentence given to a “spiritual healer” who molested a client’s two teenage daughters was too harsh.

The Alberta Court of Appeal panel said 4 1/2 years is more appropriate.

The justices also said Reilly was wrong to find the offender pleaded guilty to gain an advantage, instead of out remorse.

The appeal court did agree with Reilly’s assessment the crimes warranted a more serious penalty than the three years sought by the Crown.

The man was a trusted friend of the girls’ family who performed spiritual healing treatment on the mother, who then asked him to do the same to her two daughters.

Instead, he had the 13-year-old strip naked and he molested her, and the next night, he had sexual intercourse with her 16-year-old sister.

Reilly found the offender only entered his pleas after the start of his preliminary inquiry because the girl’s mother was able to testify against him.

“In my view, he entered his plea when he came to realize that he no longer had control of this woman and her children,” he said, in sentencing the southern Alberta man last June 3.

“I did not take his guilty plea as coming from remorse, or compassion for the victims, but rather was the best thing he could do for himself in the circumstances,” Reilly had said.

The Appeal Court justices disagreed.

“We think the appellant should have received more credit for accepting responsibility for his crimes and sparing the victims the stress of reliving these events on the witness stand,” they said.

“Although not early, the guilty pleas spared the two young complainants from having to testify at the preliminary inquiry and again at trial, a prospect that caused them considerable anxiety.”

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