By Shurtz, Delon on January 16, 2019.
For several hours Tuesday, Kristy Provost and her mother sat in court wondering if Douglas Wilbur Bagnall would show up.
The 62-year-old Lethbridge man, accused of killing Piikani Councillor Barnaby Provost in a drunk driving accident last year, had been ordered to attend court, but like two previous hearings, he never showed up and no one seemed to know where he was.
But while a distraught Kristy, who occasionally broke into tears, silently waited and wondered if justice would ever be served, the man accused of killing her husband was only a block away.
During a lunch break in court proceedings, Bagnall was seen having lunch at a nearby A & W restaurant on Scenic Drive, one block to the west of the courthouse where the accused was supposed to be.
His failure to attend court hearings and the apparent reluctance of judges to release an arrest warrant issued when Bagnall first failed to attend court Dec. 11, is frustrating Kristy and her mother.
“As he prolongs this, my daughter’s healing is just dragging on,” Kristy’s mother said outside the courtroom after Bagnall’s matter was adjourned once again, but this time for only one day.
“How much pain can a person endure?”
Judge Michelle Christopher told an agent for Bagnall’s lawyer that the accused must attend court today or the arrest warrant would be released. Crown prosecutor Kristi Adams, however, asked that the warrant be released immediately and reminded court that Bagnall had been ordered to attend hearings Dec. 11, Jan. 8 and Tuesday, and warrants had been issued but held each time.
Bagnall had also been ordered to report to the Lethbridge police station every Tuesday following his release from custody in November, but he only showed up once, despite the location of his residence.
“He lives right beside the police station,” Adams said.
Lethbridge lawyer Steven Osmond, who acted as agent for Bagnall’s lawyer Tuesday, told court he understood Bagnall wouldn’t need to attend court if he signed a “designation of counsel,” which allows a lawyer to appear in court without the client.
Osmond pointed out that the designation had been filed earlier in the day.
Adams noted, however, the signature was undated and she insisted Bagnall was still expected to attend court.
Bagnall is charged with impaired driving causing death and driving while 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 on $300 bail and that include he attend court when ordered and report weekly to the police.
With Bagnall’s repeated no-shows in court, an online petition has been established urging his arrest. Anyone interested in signing the petition “to show your support and demand justice for the Provost Family,” can log onto https://www.change.org/p/kathleen-ganley-arrest-drunk-driver-killer-douglas-bagnall.
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