July 21st, 2024

Sentencing delayed for man guilty of weapons offences

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on December 20, 2023.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A southern Alberta man who expected to learn Tuesday when he would be sentenced for weapons-related offences, now won’t know for another month.

Craig Cassidy Sweetgrass, who was released from remand custody last week pending his sentencing hearing in 2024, expected the Crown and defence to set a sentencing date Tuesday in Lethbridge court of justice.

Court was told, however, the assigned Crown prosecutor was unavailable, and the matter was adjourned to Jan. 19 to fix a date for sentencing.

During a hearing last week Sweetgrass pleaded guilty to charges of possession of a prohibited weapon, possession of a firearm knowing possession is unauthorized, careless use/storage of a firearm, and breach of a weapons prohibition.

Court was told that on April 1, 2020 Sweetgrass was prohibited by a judge from possessing specific firearms, weapons, ammunition and explosive substances for 10 years, and various prohibited and restricted weapons for life.

In 2022, however, police began investigating Sweetgrass for weapons violations, and on the night of Feb. 17 they arrested him and searched his residence on Jerry Potts Boulevard West.

During the search, police found a loaded 12-gauge shotgun under a mattress in a basement bedroom, and an SKS KwikRail rifle with a loaded ammunition magazine hidden in the ceiling of the basement. There was also an empty rifle magazine and various ammunition found in a closet.

Although the defence is not expected to recommend a sentence until the sentencing hearing, the Crown said last Friday it is seeking a two-year prison term.

On the same day, Sweetgrass was released on $300 cash bail and several conditions, including he live with his father in Stand Off, abide by a 24-hour curfew every day, and participate in the preparation of a Gladue report, which will provide the judge with Sweetgrass’s personal circumstances and background to help the judge determine a fit sentence. Sweetgrass is also expected to start addiction treatment in January.

Sweetgrass also faces additional charges, including unauthorized possession of a prohibited or restricted weapon, and drug possession for the purpose of trafficking. The Crown and defence continue to discuss the charges, and the accused returns to court on those matters Jan. 11

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