By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on February 9, 2024.
A 47-year-old man accused of assaulting two women in the last two months, is getting ready to stand trial in relation to one of the women.
Malek Fares made an appearance Thursday in a Lethbridge courtroom, where his lawyer pleaded not guilty on his behalf to charges of assault, sexual assault and assault with a weapon, and elected to be tried in Alberta Court of Justice.
On Dec. 8 of last year a 39-year-old woman reported she had been sexually assaulted by a man inside a trailer parked in a parking lot in the 3700 block of Mayor Magrath Drive South. The victim also reported that the man had previously assaulted her, causing burn injuries.
Police found the truck and trailer still parked in the lot, and the suspect, who is known to the victim, was arrested without incident.
During Thursday’s court hearing the matter was adjourned for a month to allow time to hold a pre-trial conference, during which lawyers and a judge will discuss issues and set a date for trial. The trial will be confirmed when the case returns to docket court on March 6.
Fares was arrested again on Jan. 30 after police responded to a report that a 26-year-old woman had been sexually assaulted by a man inside a trailer parked in the same southside lot.
Following the alleged sexual assault, the victim left the trailer, but the man followed her inside a nearby store where she entered the women’s washroom and waited until police arrived. The man was arrested without incident inside the store.
Police said the man and woman, both of no fixed address, are known to one another.
Fares was charged with sexual assault then released from custody with conditions, including he not have any contact with the victim. Police noted he is scheduled to appear in court March 27 on the most recent charge.
Police also reported that the suspect is known to frequent the Lethbridge Shelter and downtown core, and he may have victimized other women, as well.