By Kalinowski, Tim on December 24, 2019.
One of two men charged in connection with the assault of a 37-year-old man in Galt Gardens earlier this month will not be allowed to go home for the holidays.
Dre Kade Sweet Grass, who appeared in Lethbridge provincial court on Monday by closed-circuit TV from the Lethbridge Correctional Centre, had been seeking bail so he could be out of custody before Christmas.
Lethbridge lawyer Jeremy DeBow had argued that Sweet Grass, 19, would likely pose no threat to the public as long as he was allowed to reside with his grandmother at her residence and agreed to 24-hour in-house custody.
Given Sweet Grass’s Aboriginal background, DeBow reminded Judge G.S. Maxwell that recent changes to the Criminal Code also made it advisable he be released into his grandmother’s custody, who was present in court on Monday and willing to have him back.
Crown lawyer Erin Olsen acknowledged those changes to the Criminal Code in her counter-arguments but argued successfully that “reverse onus” applied in this case given Sweet Grass’s history of criminal activity starting at the age of 13 and his sometimes violent tendencies when committing these crimes, calling it, “an unenviable record for one so young.”
Olsen said given the particularly violent nature of the current offence Sweet Grass is charged with, where he and two others are accused of severely beating another man with a crowbar before robbing him, his history of substance abuse and his history of attempting to tamper with evidence, he could not be trusted in his release.
Judge Maxwell agreed with Olsen that reverse onus applied in the situation, noting that despite Sweet Grass’s “extremely committed grandmother” he was “highly likely to cause harm to other individuals.”
Given Sweet Grass’s age and previous criminal record while in his grandmother’s care, Maxwell also doubted she would be able to successfully control him if released. Maxwell said he couldn’t release Sweet Grass “just so he could go home for the holidays,” when he would continue to be at liberty afterward and be an ongoing risk to the public.
The case was then adjourned until Jan. 6.
Sweet Grass and 43-year-old Steven Gordon Quebec are both charged with aggravated assault and robbery.
On Dec. 6 police responded to a report of an assault in the 200 block of 5 Street South after a citizen noticed an injured man and called 911. EMS transported the victim to hospital where he was treated for multiple cuts and lacerations to his head and later released.
Police said the victim was in Galt Gardens when he was attacked by three men who were known to him. The assailants took a small amount of cash from the victim, shot him with bear spray and struck him in the head several times with a metal object.
Police believe the matter is drug-related.
One suspect was found and arrested without incident later in the morning while he was riding a stolen bicycle in the 1400 block of 2 Avenue North. The second suspect was found the following day and arrested by community peace officers in the downtown core. The younger man attempted to run but was apprehended by the officers, and he resisted arrest but after a short scuffle he was taken into custody.
-With files from Delon Shurtz
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