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Alberta

Ontario man arrested for sexual assault of Alberta girl he groomed online

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Submitted by the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team

St. Catharines man arrested for sexually assaulting youth he met online

Edmonton… A cross-Canada investigation between ALERT’s Internet Child Exploitation unit and the Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS) has led to charges against a St. Catharines, Ont. man, and police believe there may be additional victims.

ICE alleges the suspect sexually assaulted an underage youth that he met via the internet. The victim was lured and groomed online before the two met in Edmonton, where she was forced into performing degrading sexual acts. Photos and videos of the offences were later posted online.

The alleged offences took place in Edmonton, Burlington, and St. Catharines and occurred over a period of several years, roughly 2012 and 2014. ICE has reason to believe other victims exist in those communities.

“What our victim endured is sickening and she displayed remarkable courage in coming forward. ICE is hoping other woman can muster the same strength; to contact police, to get help, and ensure no one else has to suffer in the same manner,” said Cpl. Dave Knight, ALERT ICE.

Jason Anderson, 41, was arrested by Niagara Regional Police on April 29, 2021 and has since been transported to Alberta. He has been charged with sexual assault, assault, sexual exploitation, and making child pornography.

Anderson appeared in a Calgary court on May 4, 2021 and was released on a cash bail under a number of conditions.

The investigation dates back to 2018 and is ongoing. The two agencies are working together to explore the possibility of additional victims in both provinces.

ICE is also looking to identify and speak with potential victims and witnesses. Anyone with information about this investigation is encouraged to call:

  • In Alberta – ALERT ICE: 780-509-3363;
  • In Ontario – Niagara Regional Police Service: (905) 329-8354 ext. 1009128;
  • Local police agency;
  • Or anonymously at cybertip.ca.

ALERT was established and is funded by the Alberta Government and is a compilation of the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources committed to tackling serious and organized crime.

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Alberta

Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son's death

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LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — The Court of Appeal of Alberta has rejected a request that a third trial be stayed for a couple accused in their son’s death.

Lawyers for David and Collet Stephan had requested proceedings be put on hold while they seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada a decision ordering another trial.

“That stay application was heard recently and it was dismissed,” Collet Stephan’s lawyer, Jason Demers, told a Lethbridge, Alta., court on Monday. 

“But leave was granted to reapply pending the results of our leave application that we filed with the Supreme Court on April 30.” 

Demers said the Supreme Court received the couple’s leave request earlier this month, but he’s not expecting the high court to decide whether it will hear the application until August or September.

The Stephans were accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention sooner. They testified that they were treating their 18-month-old son, Ezekiel, with natural remedies before he died in 2012 for what they thought was croup. 

Demers said it’s likely the third trial would take eight weeks to complete.

The Crown indicated it was interested in setting a new trial date as soon as possible, but the defence objected to that.

“The two trials were similar but the witness list was quite different. I don’t know what the third trial is going to look like. I need witness lists. I need to know what the issues are,” said lawyer Shawn Buckley, who was representing David Stephan.

The Stephans have requested that a case management judge be appointed to guide the matter until a trial is held.

The case is to be back in court June 28.

The Stephans appeared via video on Monday.

In a text to The Canadian Press, David Stephan expressed his disappointment with the Appeal Court ruling.

“We will now have to prepare for both Supreme Court and a third trial at the same time,” he wrote.

A jury first convicted the couple in 2016 of failing to provide the necessaries of life. But the Supreme Court overturned that verdict and ordered a second trial. A judge hearing the case without a jury found them not guilty in 2019. 

Earlier this year, the Alberta Court of Appeal granted a request by the Crown to overturn the acquittal and ordered another trial. 

The Stephans have testified that they thought Ezekiel had croup, an upper airway infection, and treated him with natural remedies, including smoothies with tinctures of garlic, onion and horseradish. 

They said he appeared to be recovering at times and they saw no reason to take him to hospital, despite his having a fever and lacking energy. They called an ambulance when the boy stopped breathing. 

In acquitting them at their second trial, Justice Terry Clackson accepted the testimony of a defence expert, who said the boy died of a lack of oxygen, not bacterial meningitis as reported by Dr. Bamidele Adeagbo, the original medical examiner. 

Clackson noted in his decision that Adeagbo, who was born in Nigeria, spoke with an accent and was difficult to understand and called him out for his “body language and physical antics.” 

In ordering a third trial, the Appeal Court judges said the medical examiner’s speech and body language were irrelevant, and the judge’s comments gave rise to a reasonable apprehension of bias. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 14, 2021.

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

'So unfair': Métis take Alberta to court over refusal to discuss consultation policy

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EDMONTON — The Métis Nation of Alberta is taking the province to court over what it says is the government’s refusal to bring in an overall policy to consult the group on development projects.

President Audrey Poitras says the Métis had worked out policy after years of talks with two different governments.

She says shortly after the United Conservative Party was elected in 2019, it told the Métis in a one-sentence letter that it wouldn’t be going ahead with the agreement. 

Poitras says the government has ignored requests to get back to negotiations.

She says Alberta Métis have a consultation agreement with the federal government and Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario all have similar deals with Métis people. 

Alberta has individual consultation deals with Métis settlements, but they only represent a small fraction of Métis in the province. 

The government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Canadian Press

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june, 2021

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