Tumbler Ridge Provincial Court: June 25, 2015

Trent Ernst, Editor


Joseph B. O’Handley appeared before the court on charges of Assault. Case held over until August 27.

Robert Peter Noah Deighton appeared before the judge on charges of Causing a Disturbance and Escape from Lawful Custody. Deighton, who now resides in Nanaimo, pleaded guilty to the charges. The judge says she is giving him a conditional discharge. His lawyer argued that Deighton is not a drinker, which means he didn’t really know his limit that one day. The judge says, in this instance, Deighton was responsible about it, even calling Sgt McElwain to apologize for what he said. “You were drunk and being an ass,” says the judge. “But you’re getting into a good career. Don’t mess it up. Once you drink too much, you can’t make the decision about how much is too much to drink.” She says Deighton is not a big guy and two beer should be enough for him. “That’s the end of the matter. Lesson learned, and it won’t happen again,” says the judge.

Tara Vicotia Dohms made her first appearance on charges of assault. Case adjourned.

Jerod Edward James Doonan pleaded not guilty to charges of care or control of a vehicle while impaired, failure or refusal to provide a sample and failing to appear pursuant to a court order. The matter will appear to trial. The judge recommends getting a lawyer, as these are the most complicated charges in the criminal code.

Cory Michael Hodges failed to appear on breach of probation charges. A warrant will be issued.

Gerald Robert Johnson appeared on charges of care or control of vehicle while impaired. His lawyer is currently in Europe, and asks that the case be put off until August 27. Judge agrees.

Jordan Edward Stuart Smith is charged with Breach of Undertaking, Assault, Possession of a Weapon for Dangerous Purpose and Uttering Threats. He does not reside here, but he wishes to enter a not guilty plea. His lawyer asks for two trial dates to deal with the charges.

Loren A Whitley appeared on charges of Failing or Refusing to provide a sample. Adjourned to August 27.

Gary W. Yates made his first appearance before court on charges that are not on the docket. Case adjourned to August.

Kerry A. R. Ganson failed to appear. A warrant was issued.

Ryan Alain Durand appeared before the court on an Application for Prohibition Order. The judge says time has worked in his favour as the situation that lead to this have basically evaporated. The prosecution withdraws its application.

James Steven Sawatzky was to appear before the court on an Application for Prohibition Order as well. A friend appears in his stead, saying he is living in Courtney and is currently unemployed and can’t make it back to Tumbler Ridge. His weapons were seized after a number of incidents and he wishes to get them back. The judge argues that the matter could be adjourned, but she chooses to go ahead with the trail without him present, as she doubts that he could make it back to Tumbler Ridge in August, either.

Sawatzky had multiple run-ins with the RCMP, most revolving around drinking and then becoming belligerent and/or violent, getting into fights, uttering threats and other altercations, including threatening to “get a gun” and “take care of” someone.

The RCMP seized four rifles as well as ammo after his daughter called the RCMP saying she had talked to him on the phone, and was worried he might be a danger to himself. The prosecuting lawyer says she talked to Sawatzky on the phone. He said he had a rough time in Tumbler, but is getting his life straightened out on the island.

The judge says there is still a theme of alcohol and drug abuse from what she can see, but the guns were stored safely, so he is responsible. His biggest problem, she says, is making stupid remarks and scaring people. He has another gun in his possession and there have been no incidents down on the island.

The judge rules that she will add an extra two years to the time already passed to prohibit him from having the weapons, and that Sawatzky has 120 days to find a suitable person that the weapons can be transferred to.