May 13th, 2021

Whitegrass denied bail

By Delon Shurtz on May 4, 2021.


A 37-year-old woman accused of killing her former common-law spouse, has failed to convince a judge she should be granted bail and released from custody while her case makes its way through the court system.
Justice Vaughan Hartigan of Lethbridge Court of Queen’s Bench denied Melissa Whitegrass’s application for bail last week. The matter was back in provincial court on Monday, where the accused’s lawyer, James Rouleau, said he needs more time to review disclosure with his client before deciding how to proceed with the case.
Rouleau said he may be able to take a step when the matter returns to court May 12, although it may only be to resolve an unrelated ticket under the Traffic Safety Act for driving without insurance.
The next significant step by defence is to elect how Whitegrass will be tried; with or without a jury in Court of Queen’s Bench, and with or without a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence to warrant a trial. 
Lethbridge police reported in March that at about 4 p.m. on June 1, 2020, they responded to a motor vehicle collision involving a pedestrian in the west alley of the 900 block of 13 Street South.
Thirty-year-old Austin James Forsyth of Lethbridge, was rushed to Chinook Regional Hospital where he later died.
Police said a woman struck Forsyth with her vehicle while he and another person walked in the alley. The other person walking with Forsyth was nearly struck, as well. The passenger fled the scene, but the driver remained behind and claimed the collision was accidental.
Police said evidence collected at the scene and during an extensive investigation in the following months, led them to believe the incident was intentional.
Whitegrass, a decorated war veteran who was injured while serving in Afghanistan in 2010, was arrested and charged March 2 with first-degree murder, dangerous driving causing death, and assault with a weapon.

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