Alcohol can cause a lot of trouble when ingested in excess, as both a Stettler and a Bashaw man found out at Alberta Provincial Court in Stettler on Thursday, Oct. 22.
At court, Warren Beatty — not the actor — pleaded guilty to a charge of causing a disturbance, earning himself a suspended sentence and six-month probation.
The court heard that on July 13 Beatty, already inebriated, attended the Stettler Hotel’s lounge, The Beat. There, he demanded a drink from the employee working the bar and, due to his inebriated state, was refused and was asked to leave the lounge.
“He began yelling racial slurs” at the owner, the court was told, and a friend of the owner tried to remove Beatty from the bar.
“He began to struggle and police were called,” the Crown’s prosecutor said.
This is not the first time alcohol has caused trouble for Beatty, who in 2011 had previous convictions, an obstruction of a peace officer, operating a motor vehicle while impaired, and a failure to appear at court, already entered into his record.
For his part, Beatty did not contest the charge, pleading guilty at the first available opportunity. When asked if the Crown’s attorney’s rendition of facts was correct, he answered that they were, at least “as best as I can remember.”
Since the altercation he has not returned to the Stettler Hotel, and took ownership for his actions that night.
“I’m not going to say it was the alcohol,” he said. “I was just stupid.”
In receiving a suspended sentence, Beatty must obey the conditions of his probation, which are to remain of good behaviour, not attend the Stettler Hotel, or have any contact with its owner for a period of sixth months. If he heeds his probation conditions, his sentence will be considered served.
Joel Hofer wasn’t as lucky.
The court heard that on Sept. 6, Bashaw RCMP received a 911 call about a potentially impaired driver and began performing patrols in the reported area. During that time, they received a second call, reporting a collision, that was eventually found to have been caused by Hofer.
In his call to report the collision, Hofer said his wife had been driving the vehicle when the minor collision happened. However, when police arrived it was found that Hofer is unmarried and that it had been him who was driving at the time of the collision.
Police further noted Hofer’s impaired behaviour and found empty beer cans in the back seat of the vehicle, and arrested him for impaired driving. His blood-alcohol limit was later found to be well over the 0.08 limit, at 0.210.
Hofer, who had no previous convictions, pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity, but Judge J.B. Mitchell’s ability to lessen the penalty because of that factor was mitigated by the amount of impairement, which was considered to be “significant.”
Hofer’s counsel, duty counsel Mark Daoust, said that the 21-year-old had been at odds with his Hutterite colony at the time and has, since the collision and arrest, made amends with his family and community and returned to the colony, where he now lives and works.
In the end, Judge Mitchell fined Hofer $1,200, plus the 30 per cent victim surcharge, for a total fine of $1,560. He also ordered that Hofer’s licence be suspended for no less than 12 months, as per the law. However, he did not require Hofer to join an alcohol counselling program because of his return to the Hutterite colony, instead giving him credit for the bravery required to reconcile himself with his community.