Jan 17, 2013 - PRATT'S PRELIMINARY INQUIRY STARTS MONDAY IN LEDUC PROVINCIAL COURT

With the start of Johnathan Pratt’s preliminary inquiry three days away, Zane Novak, the father of Kole Novak, is dreading hearing and reliving the death of his son and two other area youth.
“Sitting in the court room and listening to the details of your son’s death, I don’t think it gets much worse than that,” lamented Zane.

The preliminary inquiry for the 28-year-old Pratt is set for four days — Monday, Jan. 21 to Thursday, Jan. 24 at the Leduc Provincial courthouse.

A preliminary inquiry is to determine if the Crown prosecutor has enough evidence to justify a trial. The purpose for the defense is to explore the case and know exactly what evidence is against the client. It is almost identical to a trial, in that witnesses are brought in, examined and cross-examined under oath. The difference between a trial and a preliminary inquiry is the defense doesn’t present anything.

There is a publication ban on the testimony of witnesses and any information contained in documents tendered as exhibits. None of those present in court during the preliminary hearing can be identified either. Only procedural matters, legal arguments and other courtroom statements that do not disclose any evidence are allowed to be reported on.

Although Zane is happy to see progress is finally happening with the court case after more than 10 months of stagnancy, the prospect of listening to Pratt’s defense retell the details of the worst day of his life is keeping Zane up at night.

“Hearing those details, to relive Kole’s death again, that I’m really dreading. I can’t put into words the amount of anxiety and stress,” said Zane.

Having support from friends and family members of the three boys in the courtroom is what Zane is hoping for.
“We’re hoping for as much support as possible and that’s so important. Anyone who can come, that would be great.”
Frustration is another word to describe the lengthy court process the case has been in Leduc Provincial Court for, said Zane.

“It’s a situation where the defense is going to pick apart the Crown’s case. That’s going to be really hard to listen to.
“It’s been more than a year since the actual accident itself and every time it’s brought up, we have to relive it again.”
To Zane’s knowledge, Pratt will be present at his hearing, which will be the first time friends and family members will see the alleged killer in the flesh.

“I tell you, the anxiety and stress, I can’t put it on a chart,” said Zane.
If Pratt does not plead guilty and the case goes to trial, it could possibly be another year until anything happens. This aspect is another part of the court process Zane knows is a possibility, but another that is equally frustrating.

“Once again, it’s sickening. Penalties for drunk driving and ones causing death are a joke, an abysmal joke. The longer it takes to come to a conclusion, you know in the back of your mind, the conclusion will be less and less significant,” said Zane.

Pratt is charged in connection with the alleged drunk driving incident that killed 18-year-olds Bradley Arsenault, Kole Novak and 22-year-old Thaddeus Lake in November 2011.

He is facing three counts of impaired operation causing death, three counts of driving while over the legal blood alcohol limit of 0.08 mg causing death and three counts of manslaughter.

 

 

Source: Beaumont News

Last updated on: 2013-09-06 | Link to this post