Alberta Provincial Court

Alberta Provincial Court

Judge puts foot down after delays in setting Stettler meth lab trial date

It has been just shy of a year since Stettler RCMP busted a methamphetamine lab in the northern part of the County of Stettler...

It has been just shy of a year since Stettler RCMP busted a methamphetamine lab in the northern part of the County of Stettler, and the courts have had enough of delays as of the last court date on Thursday, Jan. 12.

Victor Foley, one of four men arrested in relation to the raid north of Highway 601, appeared via CCTV from the Red Deer Remand Centre (RDRC), making his ninth appearance in court on these charges. RDRC has been Foley’s home since his arrest on Feb. 21, 2016, barring a brief period during which he was out on bail.

Foley, who was originally denied bail, once even refused to leave his cell to appear via CCTV. Once out on bail, he was rearrested after not appearing in court.

Foley faces charges of producing a controlled substance, possession of a firearm, careless use/storage of a firearm, obstruct/resist peace officer, failure to comply with conditions, and possession of illegal substance, plus a failure to attend court charge.

Judge J.A. Hunter made it clear to Foley’s counsel that the courts have delayed on the matter of Foley’s trial long enough, and gave her one final extension.

Foley and his counsel will have to set a court date at the next Stettler court hearing, which is on Thursday, Jan. 26. He remained silent throughout his CCTV hearing, speaking only to confirm his identity and that he understood the judge’s instructions.

“This has gone on long enough,” Hunter said.

Foley, Larry Watson, Colin Wilford and James Hall were arrested last February, though charges against Wilford and Hall were later dropped. Watson was released on bail twice, but both times broke his conditions of release and was re-arrested.

On that day, Feb. 21, Stettler RCMP, with support from Killam and Bashaw RCMP detachments, the RCMP CLEAR team, RCMP Emergency Response Teams, RCMP Air Services and RCMP Special Tactical Operations raided the farm.

Stettler Regional Fire and Rescue and Stettler Emergency Medical Services were also on site due to the chemicals used in the methamphetamine-making process.

The arrest went uneventfully and no one was hurt, though several firearms were seized on the property, including an SKS assault rifle loaded with a 30-round magazine, RCMP Sgt. Phil Penny said at the time of the arrest.

Watson owned the property on which the lab was located, and rented the property to Foley, though there is disagreement between Foley and Watson regarding who was involved in the lab. Foley claims it was Watson, while the elderly Watson claimed his tenants set up the lab behind a barn where he didn’t go during the winter months.

Man sentenced after deliberately dropping babyA 22-year-old man will be spending the next five years in jail after causing injury to his infant child in 2014, ruled a Queen’s Bench Justice on Tuesday, Jan. 10 in Red Deer.

LB, who cannot be identified to protect the identity of the victimized child, pleaded guilty late last year to injuring the child while visiting his girlfriend’s parents in Stettler.

The infant, less than three months old at the time, was crying and LB dropped the baby on the floor in an effort to get it to stop crying. When the baby continued to cry, he dropped it again, and then a third time before the crying stopped.

Each time LB dropped the baby, he dropped it from a greater height. After the third time, he noticed a large bump on the baby’s head, and brought the baby outside to its mother, and an ambulance was called.

The baby suffered severe head trauma and had to undergo emergency surgery after being airlifted from Red Deer hospital to the Children’s Hospital in Calgary. Today, the child suffers from epilepsy, has left-side vision impairment, left-side injury and impairment to arm, hand, shoulder, leg and foot, and other functional deficits.

The Crown asked the courts for nine years due to the father’s position as care-taker, the baby’s young age, and the repeated actions. Furthermore, LB attempted to hide how the baby had come to be injured.

LB’s counsel noted that LB has a good job, a good girlfriend, a good family and jail would be a hardship. He cited LB’s own extreme youth and inexperience with a baby, plus his own raising in the foster system. Furthermore, LB at the time suffered from alcohol addiction, and continues to suffer from Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

With no criminal record and an early guilty plea acting as mitigating circumstances as well, Justice R.A. Ackerl decided the five year sentence, plus a 10-year ban on firearms once LB is released from jail, was a suitable punishment for his actions.