Trial set for alleged gang member accused of taking RCMP on 150-km chase

·3 min read

A resolution between the Crown and defence in a case against an alleged gang member accused of taking RCMP on a 150-kilometre chase didn’t happen.

A lawyer for Kyle Lajimodiere from Cold Lake, Alta., had submitted a proposal to the Crown for a resolution in January but the matter is now headed to trial.

Lajimodiere had an appearance scheduled in Lloydminster Provincial Court on Feb. 9 and his appearance was waved at the request of his lawyer. Lajimodiere remains in custody.

During a Jan. 26 scheduled appearance, North Battleford Crown Prosecutor Liam Fitz-Gerald had asked the court for an adjournment to give him time to go over defence’s proposal.

On Feb. 9, defence waived Lajimodiere’s attendance in court and said Lajimodiere elects to be tried by provincial court judge.

North Battleford Crown Prosecutor Brenda Korchinski said the Crown is proceeding by way of indictment, rather than the lesser offence of summary conviction.

Lajimodiere is facing 16 charges and was arrested in November 2020. His co-accused are Tonia Cantel, 22, of North Battleford, Juanita Wahpistikwan, 21, from Big Island Cree Nation, and two young offenders who can’t be named in accordance with the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The chase the alleged Westside Outlaws street gang members took police on occurred Nov. 20, 2020, and went from Lashburn to north of Paradise Hill. Police officers from six detachments coordinated resources to track and arrest them.

They were all charged with theft of a vehicle, storing a prohibited firearm, four counts of possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose, two counts of carrying a concealed weapon, possessing a firearm without a license, being a vehicle with an unauthorized firearm, possessing a prohibited firearm with accessible ammunition without registration, possession a firearm with an altered serial number, endangering the safety of the public, and flight from police.

Cantel’s case ‘complex’

Cantel was denied bail in Lloydminster Provincial Court on Jan. 21, 2021, and is at Pine Grove Correctional Centre for women in Prince Albert. Defence lawyer Andrew Lyster from the Battlefords Area Legal Aid Office represents Cantel. At her Feb. 4 scheduled appearance, he asked the court for an adjournment saying her matters are little bit more complex. Cantel also has charges out of Big River including possession of property obtained by crime, aggravated assault, robbery, and operation of a vehicle causing bodily harm.

Cantel appears next in Pierceland Circuit Court for her Big River charges on Feb. 16 and in Lloydminster Provincial Court on Feb. 23 for her Maidstone charges.

Wahpistikwan also remains in custody at Pine Grove and appears next in Lloydminster Provincial Court on Feb. 11 to speak to the matter.

Lajimodiere’s trial is set for June 29 and 30, 2021, in Lloydminster Provincial Court. The Crown said two days were required for the trial and eight witnesses are expected to testify.

The charges against the accused haven’t been proven in court.

If you are associated with a gang and want to leave it, contact STR8 UP in northern Saskatchewan at 306-763-3001, STR8 UP in central Saskatchewan at 306-244-1771, or Regina Treaty Status Indian Services in southern Saskatchewan at 306-522-7494 to get assistance.

Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist