May 24th, 2019

‘Uncharacteristic’ events get 27-year-old in unfamiliar trouble

By Peggy Revell on April 20, 2017.

Three months incarceration, two years probation and restitution sentenced to a Medicine Hat man who broke into a local oil and gas business, and drove through a chain link fence and gate in an attempt to escape from police.

The incident was one that “snowballed quickly,” said defence counsel for Nolan Sleeva Wednesday at the Medicine Hat Courthouse. And it was “uncharacteristic” of his 27-year-old client who has no prior criminal record. Sleeva will be allowed to serve his sentence over weekends.

Sleeva entered guilty pleas to dangerous driving, break and enter and mischief for the incident that occurred last year.

Sleeva had been given the gate code by acquaintances, and had gone to steal cash from the premises. When he saw others at the site, he “panicked,” said defence counsel.

“He made a very poor decision,” adding that Sleeva did not realize he was being pursued by police officers until the police vehicle’s lights went on.

Part of the incident was caught on video — including the half-ton Sleeva was driving going through a chain link fence/gate, where it proceeded to end up in a ditch.

“Obviously, a dangerous driving situation was more serious because of the fact of a police officer standing at the gate,” said Judge Fischer. “Whether he was a police officer or citizen, he was in danger.”

Crown requested a total of six months jail time, alongside 12 months probation and restitution to be paid. Defence asked for a one year conditional sentence order — house arrest —followed by probation.

Sleeva’s personal history — one of working hard, achievement, education and being a responsible citizen — was highlighted by defence. Also that he had been off his medication for ADD at the time.

“I’m not this type of person at all,” Sleeva told the court, adding that he “fell into the wrong place at the wrong time” with a certain crowd that he no longer associates with. “I just wanted to feel like I felt in … I wasn’t thinking.”

The charges originally were set down for trial on Dec. 20, 2016. Sleeva’s lawyer brought up a charter challenge due to allegations of excessive force. This challenge was dismissed. Guilty pleas were entered mid-trial, and a presentencing report ordered.

Remaining charges of theft under $5,000, evading police and mischief were stayed.

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