January 22nd, 2021

Man ordered to attend court or face arrest

By Shurtz, Delon on September 30, 2020.

Delon Shurtz

lethbridge herald


A Lethbridge man has been ordered to attend court next month or risk being arrested and placed in custody.

That’s the message Lethbridge lawyer Wade Hlady must deliver to his client, Travis Roy Priest, who, a judge was told Monday, has not been responding to advice that he contact Legal Aid about new charges and attend court.

“If he doesn’t appear, a warrant will go,” Judge Jerry LeGrandeur said Monday in Lethbridge provincial court.

Priest is charged with shopbreaking to commit theft, shopbreaking to commit mischief, possession of stolen property under $5,000 and possession of ID documents. The charges stem from an incident April 28, 2019 when two men broke into an electrical substation in the 3500 block of 25 Street West by cutting the lock on a gate. Police reported 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 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.

Priest, as well as his father, David Bradley Priest, pleaded not guilty to the shared charges on Nov. 22, but earlier this year their lawyers received a resolution proposal from the Crown, which could have avoided a trial. The Crown withdrew the charges against David on March 20 after court was told the accused had died.

Hlady told court Monday that while he represents Priest on the charges relating to the break-in, as well as a single count of breaching release conditions, he doesn’t represent him on newer charges of drug possession and theft under $5,000.

Priest’s next court appearance on all his charges is set for Oct. 19.

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