Artillery barrage informs ski poachers of their wrong turns

A ski touring party that was poaching lines in a restricted national park area comes under fire. March Revelstoke court stories here.

Note: Provincial Court is held on the first Wednesday of the month in Revelstoke. Here are our notes from the March sitting.

Backcountry skiers learn lesson for skiing in closed area

Four backcountry skiers were fined $250 each after pleading guilty to skiing in a closed area in Glacier National Park.

Robin Cecioni, Herve Durand, Steeve Petitpas and Christine Roy, were skiing in Glacier National Park when they entered an area that was closed for avalanche control.

“They started skiing in one area and ended up skiing in a closed area,” federal Crown prosecutor Nick Vlahos told the court. “They were quite scared when they heard explosions happening above them.”

Said duty counsel Melissa Klages. “They recognize what they did was wrong and it was a mistake.”

Repeat offender avoids jail, is fined for driving without a licence

A Calgary man was fined $1,000 for driving without a licence and given a 12-month driving prohibition in Revelstoke court on Wednesday. The reason he didn’t have a licence? Because he had just been convicted for driving without a licence.

Chris Ferguson, 25, was stopped near Greely Road, 10 kilometres east of Revelstoke, on Sept. 23, 2011.

Ferguson told the officer that he lost his license but a check of the records revealed he was prohibited from driving.

“His motor vehicle [record] is problematic and given these circumstances we’ll be asking for a jail sentence,” said Crown prosecutor Mariane Armstrong.

Ferguson said he had recently moved to Calgary where there was better public transit and he was working as carpenter, earning $4,000 per month.

“Quite frankly I’d rather see you working than in jail,” said justice Edmond de Walle in handing out his sentence. “I just want to make it clear I have given you a bit of a break here today.”

Alberta man gets house arrest for possession

Laszlo Sitas was given a six-month conditional sentence, including three months of house arrest, after pleading guilty to possession for the purpose of trafficking.

Sitas, 56, of Okotoks, Alta., was stopped on the Trans-Canada Highway with five pounds of marijuana in his vehicle, federal crown prosecutor Nick Vlahos told the court.

Lawyer Melissa Klages told the court that Sitas ran his own business and was forthright and cooperative with police. She also noted he showed no signs of impairment.

“The emphasis needs to be placed on deterrence as well as denunciation,” said judge Edmond De Walle.

He handed down a six month conditional sentence, three months of house arrest and a $200 victim fine surcharge.

Khaira owner no-show in court

An appearance in court by Khalid Bajwa, the owner of Khaira Enterprises, on charges of fraud and forgery was adjourned until May.

Bajwa, nor his lawyer, showed up at his schedule appearance in Revelstoke court last Wednesday.

Crown prosecutor Mariane Armstrong said she anticipated a change-of-venue application. She withheld requesting a warrant until May.

Bajwa is charged with two counts of using a forged document and two counts of fraud over $5,000.

Khaira Enterprises operated the silviculture camps where workers were found living in terrible conditions in 2010.

18 months in jail for car thief on parole

A man on parole pleaded guilty after being arrested for stealing a vehicle in Revelstoke.

Ryan Sawchuk, who was on parole for previous charges, was sentenced to 18 months in jail after pleading guilty to the offence.

On Mar. 6 he was charged with two counts of mischief, two counts of theft over $5,000 and two counts of possession of stolen property over $5,000. He plead guilty to one count of each in court on Thursday, Mar. 8.

He still had three months left on parole, said Staff Sgt. Jacquie Olsen of the Revelstoke RCMP.

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