Man pleads guilty to lesser charge, avoids assault conviction

Ron Baker pleaded guilty to a charge of backing up his vehicle carelessly in a Jan. 25 incident

Ron Baker pleaded guilty to a charge of backing up his vehicle carelessly in a Jan. 25 incident that saw his ex-wife knocked off her feet.

The court heard that on that day, Baker’s ex-wife was strapping their daughter into a car seat when they began to argue over a car he had seen parked at the house overnight.

After the daughter was strapped in, he backed up, but since the door was still open it struck his ex-wife, knocking her to the ground.

Originally, Baker was charged with assault with a weapon, but the Crown admitted before the judge that it would be very difficult to prove Baker’s intention was to assault his ex-wife, and since he was willing to plead to the lesser charge, the Crown accepted the option.

The incident, in Bashaw, left no one with any injury, the Court heard.

Since Baker pleaded to the lesser charge, he was handed a $500 fine, plus the victim surcharge.

“It seems apparent that your driving conduct that day and at that time was careless,” Judge Reimer told Baker, who stood silently awaiting sentencing.

“It is fortunate for you and for others that more serious outcomes did not happen.”

Also appearing in Alberta Provincial Court in Stettler last Thursday, May 22, was Joanne Sietzema, who was answering to charges of not wearing a seatbelt, driving without insurance, displaying unauthorized licence plates and operating an unregistered vehicle.

The court heard that on April 4, Sietzema was pulled over during a seatbelt blitz by RCMP Const. Glen Gabruck, who found that Sietzema was not wearing her seatbelt.

When Gabruck ran her plates and her licence, he discovered the plates were registered to another vehicle, the vehicle being operated was not registered at all, and that there was no insurance. Further, he discovered the driver’s licence was not valid.

Sietzema pleaded guilty to all charges.

Duty counsel Craig Patterson explained that Sietzema was a minimum wage employee and single mother, and that the hefty fine for the three charges – the seatbelt charge was dismissed by the Crown – totalling $3,335 – would take a year to pay.

“I am hoping the court will waive the victim surcharge,” Patterson said, explaining that while rarely done, it is done when the circumstances are unusual.

Without the victim surcharge, the fine falls under the $3,000 mark.

The Crown agreed to giving a lengthy time for Sietzema to pay the fine, which comes due in full on March 6, 2013.


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