Court Briefs


A man with 24 theft convictions was narrowly spared jail time, but received the maximum possible fine after he provided proof to the court he was working.

Grant Roland Johnson pleaded guilty to one count of theft on Feb. 8, but his sentencing took place Monday.

A loss prevention officer at Wal-Mart spotted Johnson leaving the store on Feb. 27, 2009 with a large television in his shopping cart.

He walked right past the checkout lanes and kept moving out the store, but the store security stopped him as soon as he got outside and the television was recovered.

When Johnson entered his guilty plea on Feb. 8, his lawyer argued for a $2,000 fine, the maximum for this type of crime, but asked the judge not to send Johnson to jail.

Johnson was already serving a 90-day sentence on a different set of charges, but is serving the time on weekends and working during the week.

An offender can only serve a sentence intermittently on weekends if it is less than 90 days. If Burch had sentenced Johnson to jail he would not have been able to continue his weekend sentence.

On Feb. 8, Burch said, given Johnson’s lengthy record, before she could even consider a fine in lieu of jail time, she would need to see proof he was working.

When that proof materialized on Monday Burch agreed to a $2,000 fine and a $300 victim surcharge. He also received credit for 14 days he spent in custody right after his arrest.

A young man barely had time to collect his thoughts, let alone the time he requested to get his affairs in order, before being hauled off to provincial jail for the next 16 days.

Christian Larsen pleaded guilty to one count of breaching a conditional sentence and had the sentence collapsed, forcing him to serve it in jail.

Larsen was put on a conditional sentence in March 2008 after pleading guilty to drug trafficking charges and possession of a prohibited weapon.

Larsen was also ordered to do community service hours that were never completed, leading to a charge that he had breached the sentence.

On Monday, Larsen pleaded guilty to the charge and said he had simply been too busy to complete the hours and offered to the court his willingness to pay a fine or a donation to a charity in lieu of the hours.

Judge Jeanne Burch declined that offer and collapsed the conditional sentence instead.

“In order to maintain the integrity of the sentence I see no other option.”

When a judge collapses a conditional sentence, the offender has to serve the remaining time in jail, because allowing them to serve their time in the community was contingent on them following the conditions.

In this case Larsen had only 16 days left on his sentence.

After Burch handed down her sentence, Larsen asked for time to get his affairs in order before reporting to jail. Burch quickly informed him that was not how it worked and pointed toward the courthouse cells.

A young woman who pushed a 74-year-old Wal-Mart greeter out of the way while drunk and stealing merchandise received $700 in fines.

Jasmine Lynn Paul pleaded guilty to one count each of assault, breaching her probation and possession of stolen property, while also admitting she had very little recollection of the entire incident.

RCMP received a call from the store on Jan. 22 and said that a woman who had just assaulted an employee was outside of the store.

Officers found Paul intoxicated and sitting in the passenger seat of a truck outside the store.

She was wearing a shirt with a full set of tags from the store and was on probation with a condition to abstain from alcohol.

Paul had also attempted to walk out of the store with a blanket. The greeter attempted to stop her and got a two-handed shove before Paul walked out without the item.

The fines broke down as $300 for the breach, $250 for the assault and $150 for the possession of stolen property.


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St. Albert Gazette

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