April 21st, 2024

Lying to judge earns Lethbridge man jail sentence


By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on March 27, 2024.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A 35-year-old Lethbridge man learned the hard way that lying to a judge is never a good idea.

Tyler Don McTavish pleaded guilty Tuesday in Lethbridge court of justice to one count of perjury, and was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

On May 10, 2022 McTavish was charged with criminal harassment and uttering threats relating to text messages he sent to his ex-partner. During trial on April 19 of last year, the woman testified and identified McTavish’s phone number for the court, but McTavish denied ever having that number.

“While testifying under oath…he stated he never had that number,” said Crown Prosecutor Marshall Gourlay. “McTavish was asked a second time if he ever had that number, and he answered he never had that number. He was asked several more times about having that number and he continued saying he never had that number. He was asked if he was lying…he stated no.”

During a police investigation, however, they found the phone number on motor vehicle documents belonging to McTavish in 2021, 2022 and 2023. Police also queried Leduc RCMP in 2022 about a file involving McTavish and found the number again, and the number was found on a youth court document McTavish had filed himself.

“After reviewing the evidence it was determined he had committed perjury, denying he ever had that number,” Gourlay said.

Calgary lawyer Jason Demers explained his client was dealing with challenges in his life at the time of the offences, but he has turned a corner and is doing much better.

“This all happened during a pretty dark time in his life,” Demers said. “He had some addiction issues. Because of this and because of a bunch of other incidents, he’s actually pulled his head out of his butt – to use his expression.”

McTavish has received counselling and treatment, and he’s enrolled at Reeves College to become an addictions counsellor. Demers added his client is taking responsibility for his actions, and has worked hard for more than a year to change with the help of counselling and treatment.

“He’s taken all of these great and positive steps so that he can be a good dad, a good spouse, and get his past behind him.”

“Two years ago my life was in shambles,” McTavish told Justice Grace Auger. “I was a full-on addict. I couldn’t stop, I couldn’t save myself, I didn’t think I was ever going to come out of it. I did cause a lot of trouble in my life, and that’s what this all stems from. I was not a good person, but since then I’ve changed everything in my life. I’ve changed completely, I’ve done everything I can in my power never to drink again.”

Although the Crown and defence recommended a sentence of 30 days to be served on weekends, Auger said she first thought the sentence was too low..

“Mr. McTavish, your speaking changed my mind,” Auger said. “I actually was thinking to give you a longer sentence, but after hearing what you’ve done and how long you’ve been sober, I will agree with the joint submission of 30 days intermittent.”

McTavish will serve his sentence between 7 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Sunday every weekend beginning April 5 until his sentence is completed. He will also be on probation, during which he must abide by several conditions, including he show up at the jail each weekend in a sober condition. He must also pay a victim fine surcharge of $200.

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