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Northern Alberta man who rammed police car receives 12-month conditional sentence

Sentence includes four months of house arrest and four months of night-time curfew
WES provincial court

WESTLOCK — Due in part to his role as the “responsible adult” in his home, a Westlock man who repeatedly rammed a marked police car was sentenced last week to a 12-month conditional sentence order, as well as two-year driving prohibition. 

On Aug. 30, Edwin Gordon Graf had previously entered guilty pleas to charges of flight from a peace officer, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, resisting a peace officer and mischief. 

However, sentencing had been put over until Nov. 1 in the Westlock Court of Justice to allow for the completion of a Gladue report, a type of pre-sentencing report that takes into  

After Graf re-entered his guilty pleas, Justice Jeffrey Morrison sentenced Graf to the 12-month CSO, which includes 24-hour-a-day house arrest for the first four months and a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew for the next four months. 

During the CSO, Graf must abide by conditions such as keeping the peace and being of good behaviour; appearing before court when required to do so; residing at a specific residence in Westlock; abstaining absolutely from alcohol, non-prescription drugs and other intoxicating substances; and attending assessment, counselling or treatment for alcohol, drug abuse and anger management. 

This sentence was in line with the joint submission from the Crown and defence with one exception: instead of a single one-year driving prohibition, Justice Morrison sentenced Graf to two consecutive one-year prohibitions. 

Three separate charges of resisting, assaulting and obstructing a peace officer, as well as a single count of mischief causing damage over $5,000 and failure to hold a valid driver’s licence, were withdrawn. 

At the conclusion of sentencing, Justice Morrison wished Graf well, adding, “I hope you can get some help and get things turned around.” 

The facts 

According to the facts previously read in court on Aug. 30, police had been patrolling 108th Street in Westlock on Jan. 17, 2023 when they spotted Graf driving his pick-up. 

Suspecting he didn’t have a valid licence, they attempted to initiate a traffic stop. In response, Graf stopped his vehicle in the middle of the street, leaned out the driver’s side window and yelled, “What the **** do you want?” 

He then attempted to flee the scene, and after a short pursuit, police caught up to Graf at his home and blocked his truck in the driveway. 

Members exited their vehicles and told Graf he was under arrest when he put his truck into reverse and rammed the marked police car multiple times, causing damage to the front end. 

Graf also refused to comply with commands from officers and became “violent and aggressive,” forcing police to use pepper spray to try and subdue him. He was eventually brought under control and put in handcuffs. 

The mischief charge arose from an incident several months later when RCMP received a report of a break-in at the Westlock Rotary Spirit Centre on June 24, 2023. 

Graff had cut the lock to the building while another suspect entered the facility. They then left the scene but were tracked down quickly by police. 

Joint submission 

Defence lawyer Richard Forbes noted that in the last few months, a young person has come to live in Graf’s home under the supervision of Children and Family Services. (The connection between Graf and the youth was not specified.) 

Forbes said there are two youth workers now collaborating with Graf to supervise the youth and are visiting his home multiple times a week, as well as conducting text check-ins twice a day with Graf. 

“He is the responsible adult. He is responsible for abiding by the safety plan,” Forbes said. 

Taking on this responsibility gives Graf an additional incentive to follow the conditions of his CSO as a breach would result in him spending the remaining time in custody, Forbes added. 

"It would leave this young person without the responsible adult that is currently in place.” 

Forbes also noted that Graf resides with his mother and he is helping to maintain the house. 

All these factors mean that Graf is in a stable enough situation that a CSO with house arrest is possible, he said. 

Forbes also pointed out that, while Graf has a criminal record, this is the first time a Gladue report has been prepared for him. 

“There is the statutory consideration for sentencing of Aboriginal offenders that alternatives to custody are to be considered,” said Forbes. “It is with that consideration that we come here, making this joint submission.” 

He said that the counselling and treatment afforded by an CSO will go towards the underlying anger and substance abuse issues that has put Graf in court previously. 

Crown prosecutor Andrew Dirko added that while Graf has a criminal record, he does not have any related convictions and the last time he was put in custody was back in 2017. 

Justice Morrison acknowledged that Graf’s criminal record showed that things had “quieted down” for Graf in recent years.

-with files from George Blais

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