By Shurtz, Delon on May 30, 2020.
The one-week trial for a Lethbridge man accused of a string of violent offences last year has been adjourned at the recommendation of both the Crown and defence.
Cory Ray Williams was set to stand trial July 20-24 in Lethbridge provincial court, but it was adjourned Friday to allow time for the accused’s new lawyer to get up to speed on the case. The Crown also pointed out the adjournment is because several police witnesses would be unavailable to attend a trial in July.
Lethbridge lawyer Claudia Connolly has only recently been retained by Legal Aid, after Williams’ first lawyer had to withdraw when there was a breakdown in the solicitor/client relationship. Connolly told court Friday the case is complicated and she needs time not only to discuss the case with her client, but with the Crown to determine what was discussed with the previous lawyer and what admissions, if any, were made.
“We need time to put this all together,” Connolly said.
Williams, 40, pleaded not guilty Feb. 6 to charges of kidnapping, attempted kidnapping, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, assault with a weapon, flight from police, dangerous driving, uttering threats, robbery, attempted robbery and housebreaking.
Police reported that on Oct. 20 a 41-year-old man told police he and an acquaintance were arguing when the other man attacked him with a machete, then fled from the home before police arrived.
The same evening, a 55-year-old man in a vehicle parked along Mayor Magrath Drive North was carjacked, and forced to drive to several locations in the city with a machete to his throat. The suspect forced the victim to withdraw money from an ATM, then demanded he be driven toward the Blood Reserve.
The victim was eventually let out of the vehicle and left on the side of the road where a passerby picked him up, and while he was calling police the suspect returned to the area in the stolen vehicle and began to pursue the Good Samaritan’s vehicle.
The RCMP and Blood Tribe police chased the suspect to Fort Macleod where the vehicle was eventually abandoned. A few hours later the RCMP in Fort Macleod responded to a break-in, during which a van was stolen. Police found the vehicle in Lethbridge the following day.
The following day, police responded to a disturbance along 2 Avenue South where a man was wielding multiple weapons. While police were en route, additional calls came in reporting a carjacking in the 200 block of 27 Street South by a man matching the description of the subject involved in the disturbance.
A 61-year-old man was sitting in a parked vehicle when another man got into the passenger seat, brandished a small sword and threatened the driver. The victim was able to disarm the subject and a bystander approached the vehicle window and began yelling. The subject pulled out a second weapon, jumped out of the vehicle and fled on foot. The bystander chased him but the subject was able to find a bicycle and flee across the highway.
At about 7:30 a.m. Oct. 23, police responded to a report of a female screaming outside a residence in the 2300 block of 5 Avenue North. The woman was walking from a bus stop when a man threw her to the ground and demanded she turn over her cellphone. He ran away after the scuffle.
The description of the subject was the same as in the previous incidents, and later that morning he was located at a northside home and arrested without incident. Police searched the suspect’s residence and recovered evidence of the offences, including the keys to the van that was stolen in Fort Macleod.
Williams is scheduled to return to court June 12, ostensibly to set dates for a new trial.
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