‘Aggravating’ factors prompt sentencing delay

Black smoke billows from the old High Prairie Health Complex that was set on fire Sept. 18, 2019 by a male youth who confessed. He is scheduled to appear in High Prairie youth court for a sentencing hearing Nov. 10.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

A 15-year-old male who admitted to starting a fire at the old High Prairie Health Complex in September 2019 will have to wait another eight months to find out his fate.

A sentencing hearing set for March 9 in High Prairie youth court has been rescheduled to Nov. 10 after a request by the boy’s new lawyer, Lisa Trach.

The youth, who cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, did not appear in court.

Full evidence and details will be presented at the hearing and a sentence may be handed down at that time.

Duty counsel Harry Jong read a letter from Trach.

“It may take some time to complete the hearing,” Jong read.

One-half day was scheduled by Judge D.R. Shynkar.

A fire inspector will provide details at the hearing, Trach says.

“There are some aggravating factors,” says Crown prosecutor Serge Eta-Ndu.

Sentencing was postponed from Jan. 30 when Judge R.B. Marceau asked for information about the cost of damage and how the fire started at the old hospital on Sept. 18, 2019.

No details were in the disclosure read by Crown prosecutor Petter Hurich at that time.

The Crown said the youth admitted to setting the fire himself.

“He made a statement at a school that he started a fire,” Hurich says.

Surveillance cameras also show two suspects on the scene at the time of the incident, he adds.

The teen was ready to be sentenced that day.

“He is prepared to enter of plea of guilty for a charge of arson,” said Manzer as she introduced the accused.

A co-accused mael you, also 15, was sentenced in Grande Prairie youth court Dec. 18 although no details are available.

High Prairie fire chief Trevor Cisaroski estimates damages at $250,000.

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