Lenient sentence for early guilty plea

“If you don’t stop drinking now, it will ruin your life.” Judge Yake

His troubles with alcohol led Russell Simpson to several bad decisions, some of which had him in attendance at Alberta Provincial Court in Stettler on Thursday, Oct. 23.

Simpson pleaded guilty to a charge each of resisting a peace officer, obstructing a peace officer and breach of conditions.

The 20-year-old man was arrested in Stettler on Aug. 6 after he interrupted the investigations of Stettler RCMP Const. Glen Gabruch. Gabruch had been dispatched to the Stop’N’Go after a 911 call, and while in the parking lot interviewing the owner and witness to the incident, he was accosted by Simpson and two of his friends.

When Gabruch asked them to step back, the two friends obliged, but Simpson did not.

Instead, Simpson continued to yell at the constable from within a fenced yard, addressing Gabruch with profanity. Gabruch again asked Simpson to cease the disturbance and warned the man if he did not, he would arrest him.

When Simpson did not heed the police officer’s words, Gabruch entered the yard through the gate, where Simpson told him he couldn’t be arrested since he was in a private yard. Gabruch then arrested Simpson, who resisted arrest by grabbing on to the gate and refusing to let go. In such close proximity, Gabruch noted signs of inebriation, such as the smell of alcohol, slurred words and reddened eyes.

Crown prosecutor C. Ayre quoted the police report on the incident, noting that the “gate went to the ground along with Simpson” as Gabruch eventually arrested the man.

Upon arrest, it was discovered that Simpson was on conditions to be of good behaviour, and yelling profanities across a fence was in direct contradiction to that, so the charge of breach of conditions was added.

Simpson, who works all over Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories, currently is working in Macklin, Sask. The judge listened as he explained that he completed a Grade 12 education and was born and raised in Stettler, and would be able to return for any court dates — but that he knew alcohol was the driving force behind his problems.

“I’m trying to go to AA,” Simpson said, noting that he hadn’t found a group in Macklin but was looking for one nearby.

“You’re a young man,” Judge Yake said, before adding, “If you don’t stop (drinking) now, it will ruin your life.”

Since Simpson pleaded guilty early into the process,

Yake gave him a fine of $300 per charge, for a total of $900 plus the victim surcharge fee. However, Simpson was also placed on probation for 12 months, but Yake did not put in sobriety terms, noting, “You’re an alcoholic and I’d be setting you up to fail.”

Instead, the terms required Simpson to participate in alcohol and anger management courses, such as Alcoholics Anonymous.