February 25th, 2024

Sentencing adjourned in assault, arson case


By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on November 23, 2023.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A 38-year-old man charged with more than a dozen criminal offences, including arson and assaulting a peace officer, has pleaded guilty to half of his charges.

Joe Zwart, who attended Lethbridge court of justice Wednesday by CCTV from the Edmonton Remand Centre, pleaded guilty to single counts of arson, assaulting a peace officer, attempted theft of a motor vehicle, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, failure to attend court, and two counts of failure to comply with release conditions.

The charges relate to an incident on May 30 at a northside home where a man armed himself with weapons, refused to leave and set the house on fire.

Police said that while firefighters fought the blaze, the man exited the home and was apprehended by police service dog Robby. He was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

The home was badly damaged by the fire and uninhabitable, but no one was injured and there was no damage to neighbouring properties, which were evacuated during the incident. Police also closed public access to Dave Elton Park as a safety precaution.

Although an agreed statement of the facts, which describes the circumstances surrounding the incident, was entered as an exhibit during Wednesday’s hearing, it was not read aloud in court.

The matter has been adjourned to Dec. 1 to schedule a date for sentencing. An additional criminal charge of failing to attend for fingerprints, and two charges under the Traffic Safety Act, all of which were not resolved Wednesday, were also adjourned to the same date.

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