April 24th, 2019

Driver charged in deadly crash fails to show in court


By Shurtz, Delon on January 9, 2019.

Delon Shurtz

Lethbridge Herald

dshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

The wheels of justice are turning too slowly for the family and friends of a Piikani councillor who was killed in a highway collision last summer.

An obviously angry and frustrated man stood up in a Lethbridge courtroom and shouted “there should be a manhunt,” after Douglas Wilbur Bagnall failed to show up for his court hearing Tuesday.

It’s the second time Bagnall has failed to attend court. He had also been ordered to attend Dec. 11, but when he didn’t show up and only an agent for his lawyer appeared for him, the judge issued an arrest warrant. The warrant was held, however, to give the accused another chance to attend court, and the agent was told that if Bagnall didn’t show up for his next hearing, the warrant would be released.

But a different judge heard the matter Tuesday and didn’t release the warrant, even though the Crown expressed concern that, in addition to not showing up for court, Bagnall hadn’t followed bail conditions to report weekly to the Lethbridge Police Service.

“I understand that hasn’t happened,” Crown prosecutor Bruce Ainscough said.

Bagnall, 62, was released from custody in November, which immediately drew the ire of Riel Houle-Provost, the brother of Barnaby Provost, who was killed last June when his vehicle was struck by another vehicle on Highway 3.

Houle-Provost and his family erected a peace teepee on courthouse grounds following the bail hearing to support his brother and protest Bagnall’s release.

“They let him off on $300 bail, and my family and everybody else, we don’t know what to do or how to handle it,” Houle-Provost said the following day.

Bagnall is charged with impaired driving causing death and driving over the legal blood-alcohol limit causing death. Both charges are indictable – more serious than summary offences – and liable to imprisonment for life.

RCMP reported that on June 25 a vehicle was travelling east on the wrong side of Highway 3 near Coalhurst when it collided with a westbound vehicle driven by 42-year-old Provost, a councillor for the Piikani Nation. Provost’s 12-year-old daughter was also in the vehicle and sustained minor injuries.

Bagnall was arrested and charged Nov. 18, and on Nov. 27 he was released from custody with conditions that include he attend court when ordered and report to the police.

During Tuesday’s hearing Lethbridge lawyer Steven Osmond, who appeared as agent for Bagnall’s lawyer, said he had only been instructed to seek an adjournment to Feb. 5. Judge J. Maher, however, only adjourned the matter for one week.

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