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Collision with a moose claims life of Sturgeon County woman

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Side of RCMP car

Aug. 5, 2020

Redwater RCMP investigate fatal collision 

Thorhild County, Alta. – On Aug. 3, 2020 at approximately 11:30 p.m., Redwater RCMP responded to a report of a collision of two vehicles with a moose on Highway 63.

Preliminary information revealed a car was heading southbound on Highway 63 near Township Road 622 when a collision with a moose occurred. A truck heading northbound also collided with the animal.

The 41-year-old female driver of the car from Sturgeon County, Alta., was pronounced deceased at the scene. A child in the car suffered minor injuries and was transported to hospital. The four occupants of the truck suffered minor injuries.

Redwater RCMP continue to investigate. The name of the deceased will not be released an no further updates are anticipated.

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Sentencing arguments begin for off-duty cop who assaulted Dafonte Miller

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OSHAWA, Ont. — Sentencing arguments are expected to begin today in the case of an off-duty Toronto police officer convicted of assault in the beating of a young Black man.

Const. Michael Theriault and his brother, Christian Theriault, were charged with aggravated assault and obstruction of justice in connection with the December 2016 incident in Whitby, Ont.

Prosecutors alleged the Theriault brothers chased Dafonte Miller, then 19, and beat him with a metal pipe, leaving him with a ruptured eye and several other injuries.

The defence argued the pair wanted to arrest Miller after catching him and his friends breaking into the Theriault family truck.

They alleged Miller was the one armed with a pipe and the brothers were forced to defend themselves.

In a widely watched virtual hearing in June, Ontario Superior Court Justice Joseph Di Luca said he couldn’t rule out the possibility that self-defence played a role in the early portion of the encounter.

It was during that part of the incident that Miller sustained the eye injury that warranted the aggravated assault charge, Di Luca said.

However, the judge said the self-defence argument fell apart shortly afterwards when Michael Theriault grabbed a roughly metre-long pipe and hit Miller in the head as the young man was trying to flee.

Theriault was thus acquitted of aggravated assault but convicted of the lesser charge of assault.

The officer was also found not guilty on the obstruction of justice charge, and his brother was cleared of all charges. 

Michael Theriault’s lawyers had filed an application to vacate the verdict, arguing assault was not listed as an option on the indictment and should not have been available for a guilty verdict.

Di Luca dismissed the application earlier this month and released his reasons for doing so on Wednesday.

In the decision, the judge said the defence’s bid was not based on fresh evidence or a change in law, but rather on a new legal argument that was not raised during closing arguments “despite there having been ample opportunity to do so.”

He noted that the argument that he made an error in law is one that should be left to the Appeal Court.

The judge also took issue with the defence’s interpretation of aggravated assault, which he said would lead to a “fundamental change” in the hierarchy of assault-related offences.

“Ultimately, I see no reason to depart from the settled understanding of the offence of aggravated assault, which situates the offence consistently and cohesively within a scheme of offences against the person,” Di Luca wrote. 

The Crown is also challenging the verdict, arguing Di Luca “erred in his analysis and assessment of the defence of self-defence.”

Miller and his family are expected to give victim impact statements during today’s hearing in Oshawa, Ont. The sentencing decision is expected to come at a later date.

The case has spurred numerous protests against anti-Black racism and police discrimination. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Sept. 25, 2020.

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Alberta to review concerns of four mayors who oppose 911 EMS dispatch consolidation

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EDMONTON — Alberta’s health minister says he will review the concerns of four mayors who say the government’s plan to consolidate 911 emergency medical service dispatch services will put lives at risk.

Tyler Shandro met Thursday with Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, Red Deer’s Tara Veer, Lethbridge’s Chris Spearman and Mayor Don Scott of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

The mayors have been lobbying hard against the change, which the province says would save money and make the EMS dispatch service more efficient.

Nenshi says 911 dispatch should be operated at the municipal level because local knowledge and integration with fire services can’t be overlooked if safety is the top priority.

Veer, Spearman and Scott say the meeting shows Shandro is willing to seek out additional information from municipalities to understand the effect consolidation would have on local patients, and they hope the province will come to the conclusion that it does not make sense to change the system.

Shandro says it was a good meeting and he will consider what the mayors have told him.

“I think consolidating ambulance dispatch into AHS makes sense. It will make the system work better and save money that we’ll reinvest in the health system,” Shandro said Thursday in an email.

“Most importantly, the evidence I’ve seen shows it won’t change response times or cause delays for ambulances or other first responders. But I respect the mayors’ concerns and the information they shared, and I committed to them that we’ll review their concerns and get back to them before the transition begins.”

The fire chiefs of the four municipalities also attended the meeting.

Alberta Health Services says it has three EMS dispatch centres in Calgary, Edmonton and Slave Lake that currently dispatch ambulances for 60 per cent of the province’s population and cover most of the province’s geographic area. The government announced the plan to consolidate the dispatch service last month.

At the time, the four mayors said they were blindsided by the decision and said it would put the lives of their residents at risk.

The mayors then asked for a meeting with Shandro and called on Premier Jason Kenney to reverse the decision.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 24, 2020

The Canadian Press

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