June 24th, 2024

Not guilty plea in Coutts conspiracy case


By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on April 26, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

One of four men charged with conspiracy to commit murder during the protest in Coutts earlier this year has pleaded not guilty and will be tried by a judge and jury in Court of Queen’s Bench with a preliminary hearing.
The accused, Chris Carbert, entered the plea Monday in Lethbridge provincial court, where he appeared by CCTV from the Lethbridge Correctional Centre. He also pleaded not guilty to charges of possession of a weapon dangerous to the public peace and mischief, which also stem from alleged incidents during the protest.
Calgary lawyer James McLeod, who appeared as agent for Carbert’s lawyer, Balfour Der, said Carbert is scheduled to have a bail hearing May 19 in Court of Queen’s Bench. McLeod noted a pre-preliminary conference is also required, and he requested an adjournment to May 20 to allow time to schedule that meeting and possibly arrange a date for the preliminary hearing.
Three other men face the same charges.
Earlier this month Christopher Lysak elected QB judge and jury without a preliminary hearing, and his matter, which was spoken to briefly in Queen’s Bench on Monday, returns to court on May 9.
Alias Sanders, acting on behalf of Lysak’s lawyer, Jim Lutz, requested Monday that a trial date be set since Lysak remains in custody.
“He would like to set a date now,” Sanders told Justice Robert Armstrong.
But Crown prosecutor Matt Dalidowicz opposed the move, saying the plan is to try all four of the accused at the same time.
“The Crown anticipates joining Mr. Lysak with three other co-conspirators… all three of those individuals are still at provincial court,” he said.
The other two accused, Anthony Olienick and Jerry Morin, return to court May 3 and May 16 respectively. They are also preparing for bail applications, court was told.
Nine other individuals are also facing charges stemming from the border protest. Ursula Allred, 22, Johnson Chichow Law, 39, Justin Martin, 22, Eastin Stewart Oler, 22, Joanne Person, 62, Janx Zaremba, 18, Luke Berk, 62, Jaclyne Martin, 39, and Evan Colenutt, 23, face charges of mischief and possession of a weapon dangerous to the public peace. Person is also charged with dangerous driving stemming from an incident Feb. 1 when a pickup truck drove through the blockade and headed toward oncoming traffic before becoming part of a head-on collision.
Allred, Berk and Law each pleaded not guilty earlier this month and elected to be tried by a provincial court judge. The matters for all nine accused were in court Monday and adjourned to May 16.
RCMP arrested the 13 individuals Feb. 14 during the blockade of trucks and vehicles at the Coutts border, after becoming aware of a cache of firearms and ammunition. The protest against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other pandemic restrictions began late January and lasted until Feb. 15 when protesters began dispersing in response to the discovery of weapons.
Mounties also charged James Edward Sowery, 36, from Flagstaff County southeast of Edmonton. He was charged with assault with a weapon and dangerous driving after a large commercial vehicle drove at an officer, forcing him to run out of the way to avoid being hit. Sowery’s matter returns to court May 3.
– with files from The Canadian Press

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