A Yorkton judge and prosecutors were apparently in a charitable mood last week as several defendants walked away from court with light sentences and stern warnings.
75 days for mischief
A 24-year-old woman is going to jail for 75 days for mischief. Aritha Bodnarek was sentenced February 19 for a September 2011 offence during which she broke a church window and damaged the interior of the building by removing a toner cartridge from a photocopier and splattering the ink around. While inside she also stole ice cream and bread for which she was also charged, but the Crown withdrew that count in exchange for a guilty plea on the mischief count.
In a joint submission, the Crown and defence requested the 75 days on the basis of a “very lengthy” criminal record including three sentences totaling six months and six days in the period following the church break and enter and a chronic problem with drugs and alcohol. Judge Patrick Koskie admonished Bodnarek saying without the joint submission she “would have got more time,” adding, “it’s time to address your issue.”
Fines for possession
A 22-year-old Yorkton man will not spend any time in jail following guilty pleas on two counts of drug possession. Brady Baumgartner had faced cocaine trafficking charges for his role in facilitating an alleged drug transaction on November 23, 2012, but in January Judge Ross Green ruled there was insufficient evidence to support the charges. The Crown reduced the charge to simple possession to which Baumgartner pleaded guilty February 19. He also pleaded guilty to an unrelated possession of marijuana resin charge.
Shane Wagner, representing Her Majesty, said given the small quantity of drugs involved Baumgartner’s lack of criminal record and the guilty plea, felt a fine was appropriate, leaving the amount to the judge’s discretion.
Defence attorney Richard Yahlonitsky quibbled with the Crown’s characterization of his client’s participation in the purchase saying Baumgartner was “one step removed” from the transaction and was not even present at the time the exchange took place. He requested fines in the amount of $150 on the resin count and $300 on the cocaine count arguing his client is unemployed and it would be a hardship for him to pay.
Judge Patrick Koskie agreed that fines were appropriate ordering Baumgartner to pay $150 on the resin possession and $400 on the cocaine charge, but took time to remind the young man he dodged a bullet on the trafficking charges, which would have carried a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in jail. He warned Baumgartner about getting caught up in activities that would inevitable lead to incarceration.
Sean McNeil, Baumgartner’s co-accused in the case also appeared before Koskie February 19 where he elected trial by judge and jury at Court of Queen’s Bench. The judge scheduled a preliminary hearing for August 14.
Community service for shoplifting
A pregnant woman received a suspended sentence last week for shoplifting at Walmart during the Christmas season. In a joint submission, the Crown and defence requested Melissa Campeau be given 50 hours of community service for removing approximately $200 in merchandise from the retailer. The items were intended as gifts for her children, they said.
Judge Patrick Koskie accepted the joint submission saying Campeau’s circumstances were tragic and that he felt empathy for the accused. He said considering her previous record she was “very lucky” that the Crown had basically “looked the other way.” He warned the young mother that there is a line that once crossed leads inevitably to jail and that she was already on the line.
One year for assault
A 30-year-old part-time DJ was sentenced to one year in prison February 19 for a nightclub assault last summer. Troy Nepinak was originally charged with aggravated assault after an altercation at Holly’s July 27, 2012 turned into a savage beating. Darren Grindle, representing the Crown, withdrew the aggravated charge and Nepinak pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of simple assault.
In a joint submission with the defence, Grindle told the Court the victim had been egging Nepinak on all evening eventually pushing and hitting him. Nepinak reacted, hitting him back and putting on the ground. Things quickly got out of hand and the victim sustained serious bruising and cuts from kicks to the head and face sending him to hospital. While the attack went well beyond where it should have ended, Grindle cited Nepinak’s lack of previous record, the fact he did not initiate the fight at that it was on the “low on the range” of assaults as mitigating factors. The defence called the joint submission “reasonable.”
In addition to the one-year sentence, the Crown requested and the judge ordered Nepinak to provide a DNA sample and imposed a 10-year firearms prohibition.
Conditional sentence for theft
A man with a long history of theft barely dodged a prison sentence February 19 in Yorkton court. Sheldon Peepeetch pleaded guilty to one count of theft related to a shoplifting incident at Walmart December 14. Despite a record that includes seven related convictions, the Crown recommended a four-month conditional sentence with 50 hours of community service work.
Judge Patrick Koskie made it clear he felt the sentence was basically a gift from the Crown. “I wouldn’t have any trouble sending you to jail today,” the judge told Peepeetch. “Quite frankly, this is a huge break, I wouldn’t anticipate another one.”
Peepeetch’s co-accused Crystal Norquay also pleaded guilty and received three months probation and 25 hours community service.