Fraud charges dropped after death of elderly complainant

by | Aug 21, 2023

Karla Raye Grant, 56, of Canterbury, appeared for trial in provincial court on Aug. 16 to face fraud charges laid by Woodstock Police. However, the trial could not proceed due to the death of an elderly woman who was the complainant in the case and the crown’s key witness.

 Grant was charged with four counts of using a forged document in connection with incidents on Jan. 6, 2021, Feb. 19, 2021, May 2, 2021, and Aug. 6, 2021, in Woodstock. The charges alleged four cheques were involved totaling $20,000 in American Funds.  

 Crown Prosecutor Matthew Paik told the court the crown could not call evidence due to the death of the alleged victim and therefore the charges laid against the accused would have to be withdrawn. For any further action, the family of the complainant would have to proceed by civil litigation.

Arrested and released with conditions

Joseph Martin, 37, of Perth-Andover, turned himself into the sheriffs when he came to provincial court on Aug. 18. He was taken into custody after a warrant was issued for his arrest for failing to appear in court on Aug. 15. 

Associate Chief Judge Brian C. McLean released Martin with conditions. He returns to court for plea on Sept. 5 at 9:30 a.m.

Martin appeared in provincial court in custody on July 18 for a bail hearing and was released with conditions. He was charged by RCMP with assault with a weapon (a baseball bat) involving a female victim, uttering threats, and committing mischief causing property damage in connection with a July 18 incident at Perth-Andover. He was ordered to have no contact with the complainant and must report to the police weekly. Martin was also ordered to have no firearms in his possession.

Sentencing set for Neqotkuk man

Brandon Michael Francis, 27, of Neqotkuk (Tobique First Nation), will appear in provincial court in custody for sentencing on Oct. 19 at 1:30 p.m.

Francis pleaded guilty to three counts of breach of a release order and committing mischief in connection with incidents at Neqotkuk. On Aug. 17, his sentencing was adjourned to the new date following his trial on two other separate matters.

Francis was charged by RCMP with assault with a weapon (a metal bar) involving a male victim, following an incident on Oct. 27, 2022, at Neqotkuk. Associate Chief Judge Brian C. McLean reserved his decision after trial until Oct. 19.

The court heard testimony from the alleged victim who testified Francis came to his door, jumped on him, punched him, and left him lying on the floor. He was treated at hospital for a broken nose and bruises to his face. The man said he did not recall being hit with a metal bar. A police officer also testified no metal bar was found at the scene.

Crown Prosecutor Geoff Hutchin requested the court consider finding Francis guilty of the lesser included offence of common assault. Defence Counsel Timothy Dubé said his client should be acquitted due to lack of evidence.

Francis was found not guilty after trial on another charge of breach of a release order related to an incident on April 20 at Neqotkuk. Just prior to his arrest, Francis was released with conditions, including wearing an electronic monitoring device attached to his ankle. He appeared in court again in custody and was denied bail.

He was also charged by RCMP with assault while threatening to use a weapon, unlawful entry at a dwelling house, and pointing a firearm. He returns to court for trial on those matters on Nov. 16.

Woodstock receives conditional sentence

 Darcy Anderson, 38, of Woodstock First Nation, appeared in provincial court on Aug. 16 and was arrested for failing to appear on an assault charge. She was released with conditions and returns to court for plea on Sept. 12 at 9:30 a.m.

Anderson was also charged by RCMP with obstructing a police officer following an incident on Aug. 22, 2022, at Woodstock First Nation. She changed her plea guilty on Aug. 16 and received a 60-day conditional sentence and 12 months of probation.

Charged with assault

Tusha Mae Sawyer of Perth-Andover appeared in provincial court on Aug. 15 for plea on two charges laid by RCMP. The court heard she was also subject to a release order on Aug. 3.

Sawyer was charged with aggravated assault against another woman and breach of probation in connection with an incident on July 29 at Gladwyn. She returns to court for plea on Sept. 12 at 9:30 a.m.

Florenceville-Bristol woman awaits sentencing

Brandi Bowmaster of Florenceville-Bristol will appear for sentencing in provincial court on Nov. 14 at 1:30 p.m. after pleading guilty to theft.

Bowmaster was charged by RCMP with possession of stolen property (a debit card) and theft of money under $5,000 following an incident on Feb. 13 at Florenceville-Bristol. She entered her guilty plea on Aug. 15.

Returning to court for plea

Hailey Vandijk of Woodstock will appear in provincial court on Sept. 12 at 9:30 a.m. for plea on two charges laid by RCMP.

Vandijk was charged with break, enter and theft at a garage, and committing mischief causing property damage to two vehicles in connection with an incident on May 6 at Holmesville. She made her first court appearance on Aug. 15. 

Bail hearing pending

Jesse Adam Shaw, 32, of Woodstock, appeared in provincial court in custody on Aug. 17 when his bail hearing was adjourned. He returns to court on Aug. 31 at 1:30 p.m. for the bail hearing.

Shaw was remanded to jail on June 26. He was charged by Woodstock Police with breach of a release order by violating an order to have no contact with a female victim.

He appeared in provincial court in custody by video for a bail hearing on June 19 and was released with conditions, including wearing an electronic monitoring device attached to his ankle. He was scheduled to return to court for plea on July 11 but was brought back into custody. 

At his previous court appearance, he was charged by Woodstock Police with several offences, including assault, uttering threats, and committing mischief concerning a series of incidents between April 20 and May 8, between May 1 and May 8, and between June 11 and June 14 in Woodstock.

Centreville men still in custody after police chase

Connell Ross McLean, 27, and Issak Tedford Thomas, 27, of Centreville, remain in custody to await their bail hearings on charges related to a series of incidents, including a police chase and shots fired.

Thomas will return to court in custody for his bail hearing on Aug. 23 at 10:30 a.m., while McLean’s bail hearing has been rescheduled for Aug. 23 at 1:30 p.m.

They were each charged by RCMP with possession of a firearm while prohibited, discharge of a firearm (a rifle) with intent, breach of probation, improper storage of a firearm, possession of a firearm without a licence, being an occupant of a vehicle knowing it carried a firearm, obstructing police, and possession of stolen property.

McLean also faces additional charges of flight from police, driving while suspended, and assaulting a police officer.

The two men were arrested following a collision between an off-road vehicle and a police cruiser on Route 105 in Lower Brighton, south of Harland, on July 17. The arrests were related to a Monday morning incident in Speerville, south of Woodstock, which included shots fired at a Speerville resident.

The suspects fled Speerville leading to an hours-long police search and investigation in several communities, including Lakeville, between Centreville and Woodstock, and Lower Brighton.

In custody awaiting plea

Brandon Cecil Armour, 34, of no fixed address, appeared in provincial court in custody by video on Aug. 18 for a bail hearing. He waived his bail until later and was remanded for plea on Sept. 6 at 1:30 p.m. 

Woodstock Police also laid new charges against him, including breach of an undertaking and failing to attend court on July 11, as well as theft of a vehicle and resisting arrest on Aug. 14.

Armour appeared in court in custody on Aug. 15 after being arrested on a warrant He was also charged by Woodstock Police with prowling at night and resisting arrest in connection with an incident on March 24 in Woodstock.

He is also scheduled to appear for trial in provincial court on Nov. 16 at 9:30 a.m. after pleading not guilty to three other charges laid by RCMP. He entered his plea at a court appearance on Feb. 21.

Armour was charged with break and enter at a dwelling house, committing mischief causing property damage to a door, and assault on a female victim, stemming from an incident on June 8, 2022, in Hartland.

Lower Kintore man agrees to peace bond

John Bartlett, 53, of Lower Kintore, appeared for trial in provincial court on Aug. 18 but the matter did not proceed after he agreed to sign a 12-month peace bond.

Bartlett was charged by RCMP with uttering threats involving a female victim in relation to an incident on Aug. 25, 2021, near Perth-Andover. He pleaded not guilty to that offence.  As part of the peace bond, he must have no contact with the complainant. 

Back in custody to await bail hearing

Morgan Nicholas, 27, of Perth-Andover, appeared in provincial court in custody by video on Aug. 17 for a bail hearing. The hearing was adjourned until Aug. 28 at 11 a.m. at the request of his defence counsel.

Nicholas was charged by RCMP with breach of a release order, resisting arrest, uttering threats, assault, assault with a weapon, and assaulting a police officer. He was arrested on the New Brunswick Day weekend.

He also appeared in provincial court in April and pleaded not guilty to all charges laid by RCMP. Three trials were scheduled for early next year on Feb. 1, Feb. 5, and Feb. 9, 2024.

Nicholas pleaded not guilty to uttering threats on Oct. 18, 2022; assault and assaulting a female with a weapon on Nov. 25, 2022, breach of an undertaking and mischief causing damage to a police safety shield on Dec. 15, 2022; resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer on Jan. 6; breach of a no-contact order on March 5; breaching his curfew on March 16; uttering threats and assaulting a police officer on Jan. 7 in Woodstock; and committing mischief on Jan. 6. All but one of the alleged incidents occurred in Perth-Andover and Neqotkuk (Tobique First Nation).

Nicholas appeared in custody by video on March 7 and was released with conditions, including wearing an electronic monitoring device attached to his ankle.

Arrested for contempt of court

Jamie Donald Lessard, 35, of Stickney, appeared in provincial court on Aug. 18 to request a variation to release order regarding his curfew. When the crown refused to accept the variation, Lessard began cursing on his way out of the courtroom.

Associate Chief Judge Brian C. McLean ordered him arrested by sheriffs and jailed for contempt of court. Lessard returned to court an hour or so later and was released from custody. He explained to the judge he was currently living in a shed and was frustrated by his life circumstances.

Lessard returns to court on Aug. 22 at 9:30 a.m. for plea on five charges laid by RCMP. He appeared in provincial court on June 15 for a bail hearing and was released with conditions following his arrest. He was in tears when he first appeared in court in custody by video on June 5 and was sent to Restigouche hospital for a five-day mental health assessment. On June 12, he appeared in court in custody by video and was found fit to stand trial.

Lessard told the court he agreed with the medical report from the hospital. He was charged with two counts of uttering threats, refusing a breathalyzer, impaired driving, and committing mischief causing property damage in connection with incidents on June 2 in Stickney and in Glassville. The court also heard about an alleged smash-up of a police lockup related to Lessard’s arrest.

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