Top Calgary court cases to watch in 2020
CBC court reporter Meghan Grant gives her list of cases to follow in the upcoming year
Some high-profile cases are due in Calgary court in 2020 and, of the six highlighted below, three involve child victims.
One involves a four-year-old girl beaten so badly, she now requires a wheelchair. Another involves a mother and her 22-month-old toddler who were allegedly killed by their landlord. And another involves a three-year-old girl who died of blunt-force trauma.
The others include a 16-year-old cold case, the double first-degree murder trial of the alleged enforcer of a Calgary drug cartel, and a Calgary man accused of murdering his mother, stepfather and girlfriend.
These are just some of the major cases CBC court reporter Meghan Grant will be keeping an eye on in 2020.
- Accused: Dustin Duthie
- Charges: 3x 2nd-degree murder
- Victims: Taylor Toller, Shawn Boshuck, Alan Pennylegion
- Preliminary inquiry: Jan. 6, 2020
- Lawyers: Rebecca Snukal (defence), Shane Parker (Crown)
Dustin Duthie is charged with three counts of second-degree murder. Police allege he killed his girlfriend Taylor Toller in July and then his mother, Shawn Boshuck, and stepfather, Alan Pennylegion, a week later.
There have been mental health concerns from the outset. Duthie has been held primarily at the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Hospital since his arrest.
Duthie was arrested after he called 911 on July 31, 2018 to report the killings.
A preliminary inquiry to determine if there is enough evidence for the accused to stand trial is set for Jan. 6.
Mother, toddler killed
- Accused: Robert Leeming
- Charges: 2x 2nd-degree murder
- Victims: Jasmine Lovett, 25, Aliyah Sanderson, 22 months
- Preliminary inquiry: Feb. 3, 2020
- Lawyers: Balfour Der (defence), Doug Taylor (Crown)
Days before he was arrested and charged with the murders of a toddler and mother, Robert Leeming — who had lived with Jasmine Lovett and her daughter in the townhouse he owns — gave several interviews to reporters who showed up at his home.
Leeming confirmed he was a suspect in the killings but denied involvement in their deaths. He said he and Lovett had been romantically involved "on and off."
He said he had gone out to the Bragg Creek area for a picnic with the mother and daughter on April 17, and he last saw them the evening of April 18.
The bodies of the mother and daughter were found in Kananaskis in May.
Alleged murderous gang enforcer
- Accused: Christian Ouellette
- Charges: 2x 1st-degree murder
- Victims: Colin Reitberger, 23, Anees Amr, 26
- Trial: Feb. 24, 2020
- Lawyers: Balfour Der (defence), Katherine Love (Crown)
Police believe Christian Ouellette was an enforcer in an organized crime group involved in a massive Canada-U.S. drug-trafficking ring.
In May 2017, two men — Colin Reitberger, 23, and Anees Amr, 26 — were found shot to death in the parking lot of a Superstore located at 48th Street and 130th Avenue S.E.
Police believe the incident was related to a drug trafficking dispute between Ouellette and Reitberger, and that Amr was not involved in criminal activity and was an innocent bystander.
ALERT and DEA officials realized the shootings were connected to a milestone seizure of 100 kilograms of meth worth between $10 million and $15 million in 2016 in Utah. That seizure led to the arrests of three Calgary-area men.
In March 2018, following a years-long investigation, police laid 46 charges against six people connected to the cross-border drug trafficking operation.
Cold case murder
- Accused: Stéphane Parent
- Charges: 2nd-degree murder
- Victim: Adrienne McColl
- Trial: March 30, 2020
- Lawyers: Jim Lutz (defence) Shane Parker (Crown)
Adrienne McColl, 21, was last seen on Valentine's Day 2002. Sixteen years later, her boyfriend, who had been living in Quebec, was arrested and charged with her murder.
McColl's body was discovered in a rancher's field near Nanton, south of Calgary, in 2002.
Friends of McColl say she and Parent were romantically involved at the time of her death but had a volatile relationship.
Parent, who was a person of interest at the time of McColl's death, bought a one-way ticket to Ottawa days after McColl's body was found.
'Life-altering' assault on child
- Accused: CBC News is not naming the man in order to protect the child's identity
- Charges: Aggravated assault
- Victim: The accused's 4-year-old stepdaughter
- Trial: Aug. 10, 2020
- Lawyers: Yoav Niv (defence), Pam McCluskey (Crown)
In March 2018, a four-year-old girl was taken to hospital in life-threatening condition with injuries so severe, staff at the children's hospital called police.
CBC News is not identifying the 33-year-old man in order to protect his alleged victim's identity.
The child suffered a catastrophic brain injury. She now uses a wheelchair and has difficulty with cognition and speech.
At the time of the life-altering injuries, the child was in the care of her stepfather, according to police.
Fatal child abuse
- Accused: Justin Paul Bennett
- Charges: 2nd-degree murder
- Victim: Ivy Wick, 3
- Trial: Nov. 2, 2020
- Lawyers: Allan Fay (defence), Sue Kendall (Crown)
Ivy Wick, 3, was taken off life support eight days after she was taken to hospital in October 2017. Her mother's boyfriend, Justin Paul Bennett, 26, was charged with second-degree murder after a year-long police investigation.
Wick died of blunt force trauma. She also had other injuries consistent with physical abuse.
A week before the charge was laid, police put out a plea to the public, asking anyone who noticed evidence of physical abuse on the girl's body up to six months before her death to come forward.
Police said at that time that Bennett and Ivy's mother were not being cooperative with the investigation.
- An earlier version of this story incorrectly said the Crown lawyer on the Robert Leeming case is Mike Ewenson. In fact, it is Doug Taylor.Dec 31, 2019 7:57 AM MT