It was a good day in Stettler provincial court for Angela Sheard, who appeared before Judge J.B. Mitchell via CCTV on a charge of assault and failure to attend court.
The assault charge stemmed from an Oct. 13, 2013 assault. Sheard earned the second charge after she, “out of fear,” didn’t attend one of her court dates in Stettler.
The court heard that on Oct. 13, RCMP were dispatched to a residence after a 911 hang-up. Dispatch phoned back and determined a domestic incident was in progress and RCMP members attended the home.
Crown prosecutor John Baharustani asked for a 45 day sentence for Sheard, who has a previous record of violent offences.
Sheard, 38, has a lengthy history of alcohol problems, the Crown was told by duty counsel Mark Gottlieb. She has now been sober a year, and hopes to return to work in Edmonton, where she has a permanent home and job.
“On paper I’ve been a jerk,” Sheard told the judge. “I’ve been a year sober…I miss my kids.”
Sheard became emotional when explaining to the judge that unless she is able to leave jail, she would be in jeopardy of losing her job. With a year of sobriety under her belt, she said she’s hoping to return to her family and turn her life around.
Judge Mitchell decided to give Sheard a chance to get her life back. Due to her violent record, which includes assaults usually fueled by alcohol, Mitchell ordered Sheard to provide a DNA sample to the Courts for the violent offenders’ database.
Then he ordered her to serve 21 days for assault, but as she had already served 25 days, the sentence was complete.
“Does this mean I’m free?” she asked.
“Unless you have other matters, yes,” the judge replied.
“I don’t,” Sheard said. “Oh my God, thank you…I get to go home!”
Kenneth MacPherson also appeared by CCTV.
He was being held on two charges each of assault and violation of probation, and a charge each of assault with a weapon, uttering threats of bodily harm, and causing disturbance, stemming from a March 19 incident at a Stettler business.
RCMP were dispatched during lunch hour after a store clerk phoned 911. Baharustani told the court that the victim was struck several times by the accused, who left before police arrived but returned two hours later where he was arrested.
Since MacPherson was under orders to refrain from alcohol, a blood-alcohol test was conducted at the RCMP detachment, which he failed.
The court further heard that while taking the victim’s statement, RCMP heard that the accused had assaulted the victim earlier in the month during an argument at a residence.
Gottlieb, who represented MacPherson, said MacPherson “regrets the commission of these offences,” but is now seeing a counsellor as well as attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
“I am looking forward to getting help,” MacPherson told Mitchell.
Before rendering his sentence, the judge noted MacPherson’s record was lengthy, with several probation orders that would have typically included counselling, something MacPherson is only taking advantage of now.
“I suppose late is better than never,” Mitchell said with a sigh.
MacPherson replied that he’d never been ordered to seek counselling in the past.
“Mr. MacPherson, come on,” Mitchell said. “You just lost me. You could tell me ‘til the cows come home and I wouldn’t believe you.”
Mitchell did, however, take into consideration MacPherson’s guilty pleas, which “spared the lady the experience of having to come to a courtroom in a small town…and recount each detail.”
In the end, MacPherson will see five months of jail time, and be subject to probation and counselling.
As part of his sentence MacPherson must also submit a sample to the DNA database, and is prohibited from owning or possessing weapons.
Joshua Bowers appeared in court on a second driving without insurance charge, stemming from a traffic stop on Jan. 23. He had already pleaded guilty to the same charge from a traffic stop on Jan. 8. This time, he was issued a second, increased fine of $4,000.
“I understand being new in a province,” Mitchell said. “You have to economize… but my God, man, insurance is not where to cut corners.”
Bowers thanked the judge for his consideration.
The Judge gave Bowers until the end of the year to pay the two fines, which total roughly $7,000 for the two incidents. He encouraged Bowers to not wait but to regularly chip away at the payments.