February 18, 2013 - 6:39 PM
By Jessica Wallace
A Kamloops area man was sentenced to a one year conditional sentence today for counselling a woman to change her testimony in a spousal assault court case.
Alexander Waites plead guilty Monday in B.C. Supreme Court to obstruction of justice after trying to convince a friend's common-law spouse not to testify against him in a domestic violence case.
His friend, Gerald Clarke, was serving time in Kamloops Correctional Facility and was prohibited from contacting his common-law spouse, Alma Charlene Casey.
"He wanted to get someone to talk to her," said Kamloops Crown prosecutor Don Mann.
Phone conversations exchanged between Waites and Clarke while Clarke was in prison were presented to the court revealing Waites having contacted Casey several times in 2011 and at one point attempted to bribe her with money and a trip home to Ontario in exchange for her not testifying against Clarke.
"Mr. Clarke said to him at one point, 'You phone her, you tighten her up,'" Mann said in his presentation to the court.
Waites told Clarke that Casey intended on siding with Clarke in the domestic violence case by falsely admitting she was drunk at the time and leading her to forget what happened.
Despite this information by Waites, she ultimately testified against him.
The Crown sought a 12 to 18 month conditional sentence for Waites' involvement.
"It appears to be a friend helping a friend," Mann said, noting in his submission to the court that there was not a serious personal injury to anyone and adding that, "The accused had nothing to gain."
Casey's testimony became a factor in B.C. Supreme Court Justice Ian Meiklem's decision on Waites' sentence.
"It's obvious from the tone of it that he thought the manner could be dealt with outside the courts," Meklem said. He did, however, want to be clear that, "attempting to obstruct the justice system is a very, very serious offence."
While the Crown and defence agreed upon a conditional sentence due to the nature of Waites' personal life and relatively clean history, they disagreed on the length of his sentence term. Defence lawyer, Sheldon Tate, sought nine to 12 months for Waites.
Tate said Waites recently gained full custody of his two children after his ex-wife went missing and is suspected to be living on East Hastings in Vancouver after succumbing to a crack-cocaine addiction.
"He is dedicated to his family," Tate said.
Meklem met them both in the middle.
"The intersection of 12 months, I think is appropriate here," he said.
Waites is moving to Ontario, where he was born, with his two children this week for a construction job and to be closer to his family. He will serve his sentence upon arrival.
He must abide by a period of house arrest, followed by a curfew, must maintain no contact with Casey and consume no alcohol or drugs or visit establishments that may be serving them.
"I'd just like to have my relationship with my children and move on with my life," Waites said. "I'm truly sorry for my involvement in this."
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013