By Shurtz, Delon on December 14, 2019.
A father and son accused of breaking into a city electrical substation last spring have yet to schedule a trial, even though they pleaded not guilty nearly a month ago to several charges.
David Bradley Priest and his son Travis Roy Priest, were expected to set a date for trial when they appeared in Lethbridge provincial court Friday. However, court was told the men’s lawyers still need more disclosure from the Crown’s office before they can proceed, and they will need to have a pre-trial conference to discuss possible trial dates. Defence had hoped to have the pre-trial conference before Friday’s court hearing.
Travis Priest’s lawyer, Wade Hlady, said it will take some time to receive additional disclosure and arrange the pre-trial conference, and with the courthouse being closed during the last week of December, the matter was adjourned to Jan. 27.
The two accused pleaded not guilty Nov. 22 to charges of shopbreaking and commit mischief, shopbreaking and commit theft, possession of stolen property under $5,000, and possession of ID documents. David Priest also pleaded not guilty to one count of breaching release conditions, and they both elected to be tried by a provincial court judge.
On April 28 two men broke into an electrical substation in the 3500 block of 25 Street West by cutting the lock on a gate, police reported shortly after the incident. They damaged the lock on the entry door, and once inside damaged a significant amount of equipment to get at the copper wire inside.
Spools of copper wire and various pieces of equipment, including a laser level, network connector and battery charge pack, were stolen, and a transformer worth $250,000 and a grounding cart unit worth $25,000 were also damaged. Damages total $300,000, while the stolen copper and equipment are worth $6,500.
The following day police responded to a report of suspicious activity at a home in the 2700 block of 7 Avenue North after people were seen transferring copper wire from a vehicle into a garage. Police later searched the property and recovered stolen property, including some items from the substation.
In addition to the offences for which the Priests are co-accused, David Priest faces a separate charge of theft under $5,000. Travis Priest faces separate charges of theft under $5,000, breach of release conditions and drug possession.
The accused have not offered pleas in relation to their separate charges.
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