A 27-year-old Burns Lake man, who eluded police for several months in late 2018 and early 2019 before turning himself in on Feb. 19, has been released on $1,000 bail.
Gary Alec appeared in Smithers provincial court via video from Prince George Correctional Centre (PGRCC) on April 30 to hear a judge’s decision on a bail hearing held the previous day. He faces a total of 28 charges, the majority of which are breaches of a probation order.
The Crown alleges on Sept. 1, 2018, Alec assaulted one man, uttered threats to another, committed a break and enter and obstructed a police officer. Because he was on probation at the time, he also racked up a number of breach charges for contravening the conditions of the probation order. A warrant was issued.
On Oct. 7, 2018, the Crown alleges Alec again breached his probation and committed mischief by breaking the door of a residence in Burns Lake. Another warrant was issued.
Police continued to try to track the man down, but he was never at his home, the Crown alleges, adding more counts of breach for not abiding by a curfew and not presenting himself to officers as required.
The probation was related to an August 2013 assault causing bodily harm for which Alec was convicted in June 2017. He served a 90-day intermittent prison sentence on that conviction between June 2017 and January 2018 followed by 12 months of probation.
On Feb. 4, police issued a press release asking for the public’s help in apprehending Alec, who they believed was travelling frequently between Houston and Prince George and garnering help from others to elude police.
The Crown opposed his release on the primary ground that he was likely to miss future court appearances based on the alleged history of breaches. The prosecution also argued the secondary ground that he is a danger to the public based on his previous conviction and the alleged new violent offences.
In granting bail, Judge Judith Doulis noted that an accused person is presumed innocent until proven guilty and thus granting bail is the default position unless the Crown makes a compelling case it is necessary and that the risk cannot be mitigated by court-imposed conditions.
In this case, the defence had submitted a release plan that would have Alec escorted from prison to a Vision Quest addiction treatment centre.
Alec’s attorney, Joseph McCarthy, argued all of his client’s interaction with the justice system has been fueled by drugs and alcohol and that he must be allowed to access the treatment made available by his acceptance to Vision Quest.
Doulis said she was satisfied the release plan mitigated the Crown’s concerns and granted bail under a number of conditions including residing at and following all the rules of the Vision Quest facility; abiding by a 24-hour curfew; not consuming alcohol or drugs; and attending and completing all programs as directed.
She also imposed a 10-year weapons prohibition.
The Court set June 11 for an arraignment hearing on the 28 outstanding charges.