July 12th, 2024

Man fined on charge of uttering threats

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

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

Chivalry may still be alive and well, but it landed a 56-year-old man in trouble after he defended his wife’s honour following their arrest for public intoxication.

On Sept. 30, 2022 police were called to remove two guests who refused to leave a hotel in Creston, B.C. When officers arrived they arrested a man and woman who were intoxicated. As they were being transported to the police station, the man, Richard James Meier, complained of chest pain and he was taken to the hospital, accompanied by one police officer.

While Meier, who was handcuffed to a bed, waited for a doctor, he told the officer he was going to punch him in the face, and he was charged with uttering threats.

During a sentencing hearing Monday in Lethbridge court of justice, Meier pleaded guilty to the charge and agreed with the allegations, but blamed the police officers.

“None of that would have ever happened if they hadn’t thrown my wife all over a hotel room,” Meier told the judge.

“I’m here, I agreed to waive the charge in from B.C., I knew I’d have to plead guilty, but there are mitigating circumstances here, like on a level you wouldn’t believe.”

Meier said he couldn’t deny the threats charge against him because he had been drinking and doesn’t remember, but he believes he was angry enough to threaten the officer and he would do it again.

“Obviously he had me upset. I mean, no man should put hands on a woman, let alone behind a badge. They were heavy handed, to a woman. That’s OK if you throw me around, I don’t care, but seriously, we did not deserve that kind of treatment.”

Crown Prosecutor Bob Morrison, who said Meier may have been upset about being handcuffed to a hospital bed, pointed out Meier has a criminal record, which includes a conviction several years ago in Medicine Hat for spousal assault, and later in 2015 for uttering threats.

Morrison said the couple did not resist police at the hotel enough to warrant being charged for resisting police, but they weren’t particularly co-operative either.

“That may have resulted in heightened tensions that particular day, at least on Mr. Meier’s part.”

Morrison also noted the officer was not in any immediate danger when he was threatened, since Meier was handcuffed to a bed at the time, but the threat needs to be denounced and deterred.

“The police officer was there assisting him to get medical attention, and I think…a $250 fine would be a sufficient and deterrent sentence.”

Lethbridge lawyer Colin Koerselman, who was acting as duty counsel Monday, told court Meier has “historically” struggled with alcohol abuse.

“His criminal conduct is linked to alcohol and is somewhat out of character when he’s sober, but he doesn’t seek to use that as an excuse, but it is somewhat of an explanation.”

Koerselman said Meier doesn’t remember “too much” of the night he was arrested, but he took exception to the way police treated his partner.

“We have no idea if what the police did was inappropriate, but it did certainly make him upset, then they went to the hospital and he was handcuffed to the bed. He felt he was being somewhat taunted by the police officer and said something along the lines of, if the handcuffs were off, see what would happen.”

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