Court Report

Assault with a baseball bat and other convictions

Slave Lake
Provincial Court
August 7, 2019
Judge G. W. Paul

Tristan W. Laderoute (22) was sentenced for assault with a weapon, possession of a weapon for dangerous purposes, mischief damage to something with a value over $5,000, flight from a peace officer and resisting a peace officer.

All of the charges came from the same incident.

Details weren’t read out. The judge, crown, defence, and Laderoute read an agreed statement of facts, a presentence report, a Gladue report, several victim impact statements, Laderuote’s conviction report, and a letter of employment.

Within the comments made in court, a few details came to light.

1) Laderoute was one of four co-accused who at some point before March hid their faces with hoodies and ganged up on one man.

2) They beat him and his truck with baseball bats.

3) Someone, not Laderoute, pushed a grandmother to the ground.

4) Alcohol was a factor.

“It was a matter of gratuitous violence in our community,” the crown said.

The victim’s injuries could have been life-threatening, but ended up being superficial, the crown said. The victim has recovered from the injuries to his face, chest and arms, but still has trouble with his legs because of the incident.

The crown and defence submitted a joint submission for 90 days prison for assault, 30 days for possession, seven days for obstruction, restitution, and a fine for evading the police.

The crown also sought DNA and a 10-year firearms restriction.

The guilty plea was very early, defence said. He was appointed on March 6 and Laderoute pled guilty on the next court date, March 12.

At the time of the crime, Laderoute was very intoxicated, defence said. After a brief period on the lam, Laderoute walked up to the police.

Laderoute has no previous violent convictions and hasn’t breached his release conditions, defence said. A 10-year firearm restriction would have a significantly negative impact on Laderoute, since he hunts for food and to support his family.

Judge Paul classified the crime not just as criminal, but cowardly.

“It is horrible conduct,” Judge Paul said. “It is unacceptable to every right-thinking person. You might have been as drunk as a hoot owl, but you are responsible.”

“I find the proposed jail time on the lowest end,” Judge Paul said. “I don’t have to take the suggestion (joint submission). I could go with my gut instinct” for a long prison sentence.

For assault with a weapon, Laderoute was sentenced to 90 days custody to be served on weekends at the Wabasca RCMP and 12 months probation, including an order to pay $500 restitution to the victim and $3,310.02 to the insurance company. The restitution is held jointly by the four co-accused.

Judge Paul mentioned that it takes a lot of weekends to make up 90 days and there’s no chance of parole.

The probation includes no contact with the victim and his family. It also includes no weapons except tools for work or eating. Laderoute is not allowed to hunt this year.

For possession of a weapon for dangerous purposes and mischief damage to something valued over $5,000, Laderoute was sentenced to 30 days concurrent. For resisting a peace officer, he was sentenced to seven days concurrent.

For flight from a peace officer, he was fined $500, and given time to pay so he can pay the restitution first.

Appearing via closed circuit TV from Peace River Correctional Centre, Robbie Lee Letendre pled guilty to breach of probation and failure to attend court. He entered into a peace bond.

On March 21, 2019, Letendre was released under probation, the crown prosecutor said. He failed to report.

There was a charge of mischief damage involving Letendre’s behaviour at a convenience store in Slave Lake. This was dealt with by a peace bond not to be within 15 m of the store for 12 months. A criminal charge was withdrawn.

Letendre was sentenced to three weeks for the breach and one week for failure to attend court. Both were covered by time served.

Edward Louis Wapahoo (42) pled guilty to two counts of breach of condition and one count each of assault and mischief damage.

On July 1, 2019 at 2:35 a.m., the RCMP received a call from a man who said his female neighbour had run out of her house screaming ‘call the police’, the crown said. The woman was Wapahoo’s common-law wife.

After a night of drinking, Wapahoo held the victim down and spit in her face, the crown said. The assault started in the bedroom. It moved into the bathroom, where he locked both of them in. He pulled the towel rack down and punched holes in the wall. He continued to pursue her into the kitchen. She eventually escaped the house.

When police arrived, Wapahoo had left the scene, the prosecutor said. The victim’s blouse was torn and she had red marks on her back. She told police she feared for her life.

Wapahoo was quickly found and arrested by police, the crown said. He was released on condition that he not drink or enter places with the main purpose of serving alcohol.

On July 2, at 11:15 p.m., the day after he was released, a police officer in a marked police car saw Wapahoo enter a bar, the crown said. The officer followed him in. Wapahoo was clearly intoxicated.

Wapahoo’s record has nine prior breaches.

The bulk of the record starts in 2016 with all of the convictions alcohol-related, Judge Paul said. “You have to beat it. You’ve begun the process by meeting with Alberta Health Services.”

Wapahoo was given a one-year suspended sentence, which means one year of probation. It has common conditions for someone convicted of an alcohol fueled crime.

Conditions of note are counselling for substance abuse and domestic violence were ordered at the discretion of the probation officer. The victim is not interested in a no-contact clause.

For the breaches, Wapahoo was sentenced to one day each. In the past, he’s been fined.

At trial, Dane Thomas Donnelly (24) changed his plea from not guilty to guilty of four charges. One charge was changed from robbery to assault. The others were shoplifting under $5,000 and two counts of theft under $5,000. Two other charges were withdrawn.

The charges came from four crimes from April 14 to 19, 2018.

On April 14, 2018, two males entered one of the drug stores in Slave Lake, the crown said. The other suspect had shoplifted in the store before, so the clerk followed them. This suspect asked the clerk where to find hair dye.

Donnelly put items in a bag as if to purchase them, the crown said. He approached the counter. The cashier rang the items through.

As Donnelly, put his debit card in the machine, he asked if they had a Playstation, the crown said. The cashier got one down. The cashier noticed that the card had been denied. Donnelly grabbed the PlayStation and the bag of items. He ran out of the store. The other suspect ran out with the hair dye.

The cashier ran after them, but didn’t find them.

Donnelly doesn’t remember taking the bag of stuff, defence said. The goal was the PlayStation.

The next day on April 15, Donnelly did basically the same thing at a convenience store and stole cigarettes. This time he left his debit card. The RCMP recognized his name and face from video footage as someone who was hanging out with a group of drug users.

On April 19 at 5:40 a.m., Donnelly entered a different convenience store and stole $250 worth of merchandise in the same manner, the crown said. The clerk chased him out of the store. There was video surveillance and members of the public saw the chase.

That same day at 12:16 p.m., Donnelly entered a tech store in Slave Lake, the crown said. He’d been in the store earlier to discuss purchasing three cell phones. His partner from the April 15 crime also went into the store that day.

At this time, Donnelly told the clerk he was ready to purchase the phones, the crown said. The store only had two of the three phones he wanted.
The clerk also needed photo ID to sell the phones.

Donnelly said he didn’t have it on him.

The clerk offered to put them on hold.

Donnelly said give me the phones, the crown said. Donnelly grabbed the bag and punched the clerk in the face. There was an extended struggle. Surveillance video clearly shows the clerk trying to leave the store to call for help. Donnelly didn’t end up with the phones. The clerk stumbled out of the store. A neighbouring business saw the clerk and Donnelly exit the store. The clerk was bleeding from the mouth and head.

At his arrest, Donnelly had some weapons which are forfeited to the court.

Donnelly doesn’t have a prior record.

Over the last year and a bit, Donnelly has sought treatment, defence said. After two false starts, he’s completed a seven-month residential treatment and is currently living in a sober living house in Calgary. He received his one year sobriety pin on July 7, 2019.

“You are today the poster boy for someone who falls down the drug rabbit hole,” Judge Paul said. “These offenses particularly the one involving the cellphone are worthy of jail time.”

For assault, Donnelly was sentenced to a 12-month conditional sentence to be served as probation and an 18-month firearms prohibition after the conditional sentence. He was also ordered to give DNA to the RCMP.

Donnelly was sentenced to one day each for the other three and given credit for court attendance.

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