Family members and friends of the three young men who lost their lives in an alleged drunk driving accident outside of Beaumont in late November of last year displayed their latest frustration as the preliminary inquiry dates for the accused were set in Leduc Provincial Court on Mar. 29.

The preliminary inquiry for Johnathan Pratt, the man charged in connection with the alleged drunk driving incident that killed 18-year-olds Bradley Arsenault, Kole Novak and 22-year-old Thaddeus Lake, is set for Jan. 21-24, 2013 —more than a year after the actual incident occurred.

“It’s unbelievable. It’s going to be until 14 months after the actual incident occurred that this is going to take place and it’s only the preliminary inquiry, so it could be months, maybe even a year until a trial or guilty plea comes down,” said Zane Novak, Kole’s father, following the date set for the inquiry.

This was the fourth time Pratt’s charges appeared in Leduc Provincial Court.

The accused was not present in court. Duty counsel James Arends appeared as agent for Pratt’s lawyer.

More than 15 family members and friends showed up to hear the laying down of dates for the preliminary inquiry on Mar. 29.

For each of Pratt’s appearances, the Leduc courtroom has been packed with family members and friends in support of the three men who lost their lives when their Pontiac Grand Am was hit by a Dodge Ram pick-up truck in the early morning hours on Nov. 26.

Zane addressed the group, including various media outlets, venting his anger and frustration with the timeline and the results thus far in relation to Pratt’s case.

“Where are the friends and family members going to be in two years? Will they even be around when this all comes to a close?” he said.

Sheri Arsenault, Bradley’s mother, was also upset with the how far down the road the preliminary inquiry dates were set.

“It is the court system that allows this to happen. It’s very frustrating.”

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

He was released on bail in late February.

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.

Source: Beaumont News


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