Verdict delayed for Tees farmer who plead guilty to shooting ATV thief

A lawyer’s involvement in a murder case in Saskatchewan forced postponement on Thursday of the sentencing for a farmer convicted of shooting a thief stealing his all-terrain vehicle.

A lawyer’s involvement in a murder case in Saskatchewan forced postponement on Thursday of the sentencing for a farmer convicted of shooting a thief stealing his all-terrain vehicle.

Balfour Der, who represents Brian Russell Knight, 39, of Tees, couldn’t make it from Yorkton, Sask., where he’s defending a man accused of murder.

Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Monica Bast heard that Der is waiting for the jury in the Saskatchewan trial to return a verdict after it received instructions from the judge on Tuesday.

Knight’s case was adjourned to June 6 to set a new sentencing date.

Knight pleaded guilty in mid-January to criminal negligence causing bodily harm for shooting Harold Groening, who stole the ATV on March 26, 2009.

Sentencing had been adjourned to allow for preparation of a pre-sentence report, during which a probation officer examined several aspects of Knight’s life.

Bast heard in January that Knight didn’t intend to shoot Groening.

Crown prosecutor Jason Snider withdrew several firearms-related charges earlier.

Knight shot Groening as Groening was attempting to flee early in the morning through a field after abandoning the attempted theft.

Bast heard Groening and two other men scouted out the ATV earlier in the day and returned early in the morning after drinking and consuming drugs.

They attempted to load the ATV into a pickup but woke up Knight.

Groening’s accomplices fled in the truck, leaving Groening to drive the ATV down the road with Knight in pursuit in a vehicle.

Knight bumped into Groening, sending the thief flying into the ditch, where the ATV ended up.

Knight then grabbed a 12-gauge shotgun from his vehicle and fired high over the fleeing Groening with light birdshot, Snider said.

However, several pellets hit Groening, who fell but got up again, running through a field. Knight fired again, hitting Groening in the back and backside areas.

Groening was briefly hospitalized and treated for numerous wounds.

Groening 31, formerly of Mirror, was sentenced to 30 days in jail for theft of less than $5,000.

One of the other two men was jailed for 15 days for theft while the other received a $400 fine on the same charge.

Der said earlier he’ll ask for a non-custodial sentence.

About 40 family and supporters of Knight attended court, including about eight young neatly-dressed children who were told to leave the courtroom before proceedings started.

jwilson@bprda.wpengine.com

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