July 21st, 2024

Accused in sexual assault, unlawful confinement case seeking bail

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on December 22, 2023.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A 59-year-old Lethbridge man accused of holding two women against their will and sexually assaulting them, hopes to be released on bail while he waits to stand trial.

Bernard Alonzo Gibson had hoped to be released earlier in the week so he could attend a residential treatment centre in Drayton Valley today, but during a hearing Thursday in Lethbridge court of justice, Calgary lawyer Kirsten Lancee appeared by CCTV and said she and the Crown prosecutor agreed to adjourn the matter to a day in the new year when they can both attend court in person for the bail hearing.

The Crown, court was told previously, is opposed to Gibson’s release, and will argue for his continued detention pending the outcome of his trial.

Gibson, who remains in custody at the Lethbridge Correctional Centre and was not required to attend court Thursday, is charged with aggravated sexual assault and unlawful confinement in relation to one of the women.

On May 18, police went to a residence in the 1500 block of 16 Avenue South after receiving a report from the landlord that there was an injured woman in the basement. EMS transported the 30-year-old victim to Chinook Regional Hospital, where she was admitted for treatment of extensive injuries.

Police reported that the woman met a man earlier in the month outside of Lethbridge and was driven into the city. She was taken to the southside home, unlawfully confined and repeatedly sexually assaulted for four days.

While police were at the home conducting an investigation, a man matching the suspect’s description returned and was arrested without incident.

Gibson is also charged with failing to comply with bail conditions, which stems from a previous incident last March from which he was charged with sexual assault, assault and unlawful confinement of another woman. Police said a woman was held against her will and assaulted for two days before she was able to escape.

Gibson pleaded not guilty to all the charges last month, and elected to be tried in Alberta Court of Justice.

The matter is set to return to court on Jan. 3 to schedule a date for the bail hearing. The Crown and defence also need to schedule a pretrial conference to discuss trial issues and set a date for trial.

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