By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on January 5, 2024.
A 59-year-old Lethbridge man accused of sexually assaulting two women while holding them against their will, will seek his own release from custody when his charges return to court later this month.
Bernard Alonzo Gibson is scheduled to have a bail hearing in the afternoon on Jan. 18, although there is a backup plan should the hearing have to be delayed, Calgary lawyer Kirsten Lancee told a judge this week in Lethbridge court of justice.
Lancee said she has a matter scheduled in a Calgary courtroom the morning of the same day, but it should be brief and isn’t expected to interfere with the Lethbridge bail hearing at 1:30 p.m.
“If there is somehow a situation where I’m unable to proceed on Jan. 18, we have tentatively reserved a further date of Jan. 23,” Lancee said.
Gibson had hoped to be released last month so he could attend a residential drug treatment centre in Drayton Valley, but during a court hearing Dec. 21, Lancee, who appeared by CCTV, said she and the Crown prosecutor agreed to adjourn the matter to a day 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 this week, 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 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, 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 in November to all the charges, and elected to be tried in Alberta Court of Justice.