Woodstock Provincial Court: Centreville man sentenced to federal prison, Woodstock man arrested twice in two days

by | Mar 23, 2024

Centreville man handed 28 months in federal prison

Connell Ross McLean, 28, of Centreville, appeared in provincial court in custody by video on March 22 and was sentenced to a total of 28 months in federal prison, minus time served, after pleading guilty to multiple charges related to a series of incidents including a police chase and shots fired.

Judge Sebastian Michaud also imposed a lifetime prohibition on firearms and ordered McLean to register with the federal DNA database. He was also prohibited from driving for one year. 

McLean had an extensive criminal record, including jail time for similar offences. He had been in custody since last July on the latest charges.

Judge Michaud said McLean expressed no remorse or regret for his actions but instead continues to blame family tragedies from the past for his criminal behaviour. Michaud said a better choice for the accused is to seek counselling for mental health and addiction to sort out his problems.

“A sense of maturity has not kicked in and should have kicked in at this point,” Judge Michaud told McLean. “Seriously, think twice if you intend to continue down this same road.”

McLean pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm without a licence; guilty to being an occupant of a vehicle knowing it carried a gun; guilty to resisting arrest; guilty to possession of a stolen side-by-side; guilty to possession of a firearm while prohibited from having it; guilty to flight from police; guilty to driving while prohibited; and guilty to breach of probation. Another charge of assaulting a police officer with a weapon (the side-by-side) was withdrawn by the crown.

Co-accused Isaak Tedford Thomas, 28, of Centreville, is still in custody awaiting sentencing on March 28 at 9:30 a.m. Thomas pleaded guilty to using a firearm carelessly, possession of a firearm without a licence, occupant of a vehicle knowing it carried a firearm, resisting arrest, possession of a firearm while prohibited, and breach of probation. 

RCMP arrested the two men following a collision between an off-road vehicle and a police cruiser on Route 105 in Lower Brighton, south of Harland, on July 17, 2023. The arrests were related to an early morning incident in Speerville, south of Woodstock, which included shots fired at a Speerville resident. McLean admitted to being the driver of the stolen side-by-side.

The two fled Speerville, which led to a seven-hour police search and investigation in several communities, including Lakeville, between Centreville and Woodstock, and Lower Brighton. 

Judge Michaud said the rampage carried out by McLean and Thomas posed a significant risk to the public and police officers. Five police agencies and two police dogs were involved in the search, while a police helicopter was on standby. One police officer was injured while apprehending Thomas at the scene. McLean fled on foot and was arrested about an hour later.

Crown Prosecutor Kathleen Jacobs described the gunfire in Speerville as “terrifying” for the residents of that community. A shot was fired at one resident from 300 meters away as he pursued the stolen side-by-side in his truck. 

Defence Counsel Emily Cochrane said Thomas caused the danger since McLean drove the stolen side-by-side. The shotgun involved was forfeited to the crown.

Arrested twice in two days

Travis Wade Johnston, 38, of Woodstock, appeared in provincial court in custody on March 20 and was remanded for a bail hearing. Woodstock Police arrested him two days after his first release from custody.

Johnston appeared in court in custody on March 18 and was released with conditions, including a no-contact order. He was back in custody on March 20 for breaching the order and was remanded for a bail hearing on March 21. He was rereleased with amended conditions and returns to court for plea on April 16 at 9:30 a.m.

Woodstock Police charged Johnston with two counts of uttering threats, assault involving a female victim, unlawful confinement, committing mischief by removing data from a cell phone, and criminal harassment concerning a series of incidents that took place in Woodstock between Sept. 1-30, 2023, on Feb. 17 and Jan. 31, and between Aug. 1, 2023, and March 12.

Arrest warrant issued

The court issued an arrest warrant for Ashley Paul, 33, of Neqotkuk, after she failed to appear in court for plea on March 19 on multiple charges laid by RCMP.

Paul appeared in provincial court in custody on March 4 and was released with conditions. She was charged with uttering a forged document (a $2,000 cheque), possessing stolen property (cheques), fraud, and breach of probation stemming from an incident on Oct. 10, 2023, near Perth-Andover. 

She was also charged with unlawful entry at a dwelling house and breach of probation for an incident on Feb. 14 at Neqotkuk, and assaulting another woman and breach of probation on March 2 near Perth-Andover.

Bail hearing adjourned

Brandon Jay Smith, 26, of Centreville, appeared in provincial court in custody by video on March 21 for a bail hearing. The hearing was adjourned until April 4 at 9:30 a.m.

Smith was remanded on charges laid by RCMP. He was charged with breaking into a dwelling house and theft of firearms on July 3, 2023, in Summerfield. He also faces charges of break, enter, and theft at a dwelling house, breaking into a garage, and theft of a trailer related to an incident on March 18 on the Back Greenfield Road.

Arrested and released with conditions

Samantha Dawn Scott, 32, of Woodstock, appeared in provincial court in custody on March 18 after being arrested on a warrant. She was released with conditions and returns to court for her trial on April 17 at 1:30 p.m. 

Woodstock Police charged Scott with possession of stolen property, a bank debit card, stemming from an incident on April 14, 2022, in Woodstock. 

Neqotkuk man charged in home break-ins

Jordan Perley, 35, of Neqotkuk, appeared in provincial court in custody on March 19 and was remanded. He was released with conditions following a bail hearing on March 21. He returns to court for plea on April 9 at 9:30 a.m.

Perley was charged by RCMP with two counts of attempted break and enter at a dwelling house and two counts of mischief causing property damage on Jan. 1 at Neqotkuk; attempted break and enter at a dwelling house, mischief, possession of a prohibited weapon (a butterfly knife), and possession of a weapon dangerous to the public peace on March 18 at Neqotkuk. 

Fine and probation for Woodstock man

Ronald David Whitfield, 28, of Woodstock, appeared for trial in provincial court on March 20 and changed his plea to guilty to fleeing from Woodstock Police. He was fined $500 and placed on probation for 12 months.

Whitfield was charged in connection with an incident in Woodstock on Dec. 2, 2022. The crown withdrew another charge of driving without a licence. The court heard Whitfield fled from police at speeds reaching 100 kilometres per hour through town. He had a previous record for driving offences.

Wostak man returning for plea

Greg McCormick, 35, of Wostak (Woodstock First Nation), will appear in provincial court for plea on April 9 at 9:30 a.m. on two charges laid by RCMP. He appeared in court on March 19 when the matter was adjourned to the new date.

McCormick was charged with assaulting another man while carrying a weapon (a knife) and uttering threats following an incident on Feb. 15 at Wostak. He was arrested and later released on a release order. 

Released on conditions

Joshua Desroches, 19, of Woodstock, appeared in provincial court in custody for a bail hearing on March 21 after being arrested on a warrant. He was released from custody with conditions and returns to court for plea on April 2 at 9:30 a.m.

An arrest warrant was issued for Desroches after he failed to appear in provincial court for plea on Feb. 13. He appeared in provincial court in custody on Jan. 19 after being arrested on a warrant for failing to appear. He was released with conditions and then taken back into custody.

RCMP charged Desroches with breach of an undertaking by violating a no-contact order stemming from an incident on Sept. 25, 2023, near Woodstock. He was arrested and later released from custody with conditions with an order to attend court and have no contact with the complainant.

Released from custody after mental health assessment

Brenda Lee McLean, 60, of Hartland, appeared in provincial court on March 19 for a fitness hearing after being remanded for a 30-day mental health assessment. She was found not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder.

However, McLean refused to accept the findings in her medical report from the Restigouche hospital. She was released from custody and returns to court for another hearing on April 10 at 1:30 p.m.

McLean appeared in provincial court in custody on Feb. 7 after being arrested for failing to appear for trial. RCMP charged her with uttering threats against two individuals, possession of a dog that was not her property and causing unnecessary pain to the animal by holding and strangling it concerning an incident on Oct. 19, 2022, near Hartland.

She also faces an additional charge of possessing a dog that was not her property for an incident on Sept. 23, 2022, near Hartland. She pleaded not guilty to the charges at an earlier court appearance but failed to return for trial on Jan. 17.

Fine and probation on two charges

Noah Saulis, 23, of Neqotkuk, appeared for sentencing in provincial court on March 19 after changing his plea to guilty on two charges laid by RCMP.

Saulis pleaded guilty to assaulting another man and dangerous driving on Oct. 4, 2022, in Carlingford. The crown withdrew several other charges. He was fined $200 and was placed on 12 months of probation.

Trial adjourned breathalyzer charge

Gerald Charles Levesque, 68, of Plaster Rock, appeared for trial in provincial court on March 21 after pleading not guilty to a breathalyzer charge. The trial was adjourned until Aug. 7 at 1:30 p.m.

RCMP charged Levesque with refusing a breathalyzer demand concerning an incident at Perth-Andover on Jan. 22, 2023. 

Grand Falls pair to stand trial

Sasha Perley, 28, and Michael Langlois-Martell, 33, both of Grand Falls, were scheduled to appear in provincial court on March 19 for monitoring about their trial on charges laid by RCMP. The matter was adjourned until April 23 at 11:30 a.m.

Perley was charged with possessing a stolen vehicle (a Toyota Tundra) for an incident on Aug. 4, 2023, near Tobique Narrows. Her trial date was set for Oct. 23 at 1:30 p.m. She pleaded not guilty at a court appearance on Jan. 23.

Langlois-Martell was charged with possession of a stolen vehicle (a Toyota Tundra), possession of a firearm without a licence (a pump action shotgun), storage of a firearm in a careless manner, and possession of a weapon dangerous to the public peace concerning the same incident. His trial date was set for Oct. 11 at 1:30 p.m. He also pleaded not guilty on Jan. 23.

Trial rescheduled on 14 charges

Philip Sapper-Solomon, 30, of Neqotkuk, will appear in provincial court in custody on April 4-5 at 9:30 a.m. on 14 charges laid by the RCMP. His trial was scheduled to begin on March 21 but was adjourned to the new date.

Sappier-Solomon was arrested in connection with an incident on Sept. 17, 2023, near Beechwood. He was charged with possession of a restricted weapon (a handgun) while prohibited; possession of ammunition while prohibited; possession of a firearm for the purpose of committing an offence; two counts of possession of a restricted weapon without a licence; being an occupant of a vehicle knowing it carried a firearm; possession of a loaded, restricted firearm (a handgun); assault and assault by choking involving a female victim; assault with a weapon (a cell phone); two counts of uttering threats; committing mischief causing property damage to a phone and tires, and mischief causing damage to a police vehicle.

He appeared in provincial court in custody by video on Dec. 13, 2023, for a bail hearing and was remanded to await his trial.

Charged with impaired driving

Stephen Pirie, 59, of Rowena, Victoria Country, will appear for trial in provincial court on Feb. 27, 2025, at 1:30 p.m. after pleading not guilty to impaired driving.

Pirie was charged by the RCMP in connection with an incident at Neqotkuk on Dec. 13, 2023. He entered his not-guilty plea at a court appearance on March 19.

Review of charges against Cowper and Jinson

Riley Cowper, 19, of Limestone, and Jacob Jinson, 25, of Woodstock, appeared in provincial court on March 20 to answer charges of indictable sexual assault and unlawful confinement.

They first elected trial by judge and jury at the Court of King’s Bench and their 10-day trial was set to begin on Sept. 23. On March 12, they both re-elected their mode of trial to provincial court. New trial dates were set for April 16-17, 2025, at 9:30 a.m. A monitoring date was also set for May 10 at 11 a.m.

On March 20, Defence Counsel Alex Pate told the court a re-assessment of the case was underway in consultation with the crown. 

“These charges may go away,” Pate stated.

Cowper appeared in provincial court in custody by video on April 5, 2023, for a bail hearing. He was released with strict conditions, including wearing an electronic monitoring device attached to his ankle. RCMP charged him with sexual assault involving a female victim, unlawful confinement, and breach of probation, in connection with an incident on March 26, 2023, at Limestone. 

Jinson appeared in custody by video on April 3, 2023. RCMP charged him with sexual assault involving a female victim, unlawful confinement, and indictable breach of probation concerning the same incident on March 26, 2023, at Limestone. He was released with strict conditions, including wearing an electronic monitoring device attached to his ankle but was later brought back into custody and released.

Another trial for Cowper is scheduled for Aug. 14, 2024, at 9:30 a.m. RCMP charged Cowper with assault with a weapon (a hammer and tire iron) involving another man on March 23, 2022. He pleaded not guilty at an earlier court appearance and a trial date was first set for Oct. 30, 2023, but was later adjourned.

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