June 13th, 2024

Warrant considered in impaired driving causing bodily harm case


By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on April 20, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A Lethbridge woman narrowly avoided having a warrant issued for her arrest after she failed to show up for a scheduled court appearance.
Jessica Lee Gearing was scheduled for a hearing Tuesday in Lethbridge provincial court, but she didn’t attend and Lethbridge lawyer Ingrid Hess said she has lost contact with her and has been unable to reach her by mail or phone.
“I have no explanation for why she’s not here,” Hess told Judge Kristin Ailsby.
Gearing was scheduled to ask the judge to strike a previous guilty plea to one count of impaired driving causing bodily harm, but rather than proceed in her absence, the matter was adjourned until next week to allow Hess more time to find her client.
Crown Prosecutor Michael Fox did not ask for an arrest warrant, but he indicated he may seek one if the accused does not show up for her next court hearing on April 28. He also suggested the police may have better luck finding her and informing her of her next court date.
Fox added Gearing knew she was to attend court, and Hess said her client had earlier completed and signed the necessary documents to apply to have her plea struck. 
Gearing pleaded guilty in 2020 and was set to be sentenced last September, following sentencing submissions earlier in the summer by the Crown and defence. The Crown recommended Gearing receive a sentence between one year and 15 months, while defence suggested a sentence ranging from three to six months.
During the hearing in July, Ailsby said she would sentence Gearing to a jail term, but she reserved her decision to consider an appropriate period of custody. When the matter returned for sentencing in September, Gearing, who then had a new lawyer, told court she wants to strike her guilty plea.
The matter has been adjourned several times since then, but during a court hearing in February, the date for Ailsby to hear Gearing’s application was set for Tuesday.
Following her guilty plea in November 2020, court was told Gearing, 33, had been in a bar in July 2019 and was preparing to drive away when an acquaintance tried to stop her from leaving. Gearing, however, ran over the woman as she drove away. Gearing, who was intoxicated at the time and did not realize she had driven over anyone, was arrested a couple of hours later at her residence.

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