One more delay in Ward's sentencing

Justin Crann
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Amber Ward sat silently while her sentence was deliberated in Moose Jaw provincial court on Wednesday.

Her supporters were less silent, several of them whispering among themselves and wiping tears from their eyes as the details of her case were discussed before the court.

Ward pleaded guilty to charges of break, enter and robbery, being masked while committing an indictable offence and breach of undertaking.

Provincial Crown prosecutor Brian Hendrickson opened the proceedings with a description of the events as they unfolded.

According to Hendrickson, Ward was enlisted by one of her co-accused in a home invasion and robbery.

Their target was a home her co-accused was told was being used to sell cocaine, Hendrickson told the court. The plan was to steal the drugs and the cash in the house.

"This was a home invasion," he said. "(Ward) was more than willing to do it."

When the pair arrived at the house, they covered their faces and her co-accused "hip checked" the front door of the residence to gain entry.

The homeowner, along with her child, were corralled into a bathroom while Ward searched the home for money and drugs.

The situation escalated when her co-accused produced a firearm and held the homeowner at gunpoint.

Hendrickson noted Ward had said before they set out that she didn't want weapons to be used, but her co-accused brought one without her knowledge.

When Ward was apprehended, she provided a sworn statement to police detailing what had happened.

"I did it. It was me," she told police. "I f---ing did it. I went into the house with (the co-accused) and grabbed the cash."

The federal Crown, Roger Arendt, was also prosecuting Ward on several charges, including possession of marijuana and cocaine.

He noted that while the charges aren't as serious as those she was facing from the provincial Crown, "it's important that it be realized there are consequences when a person doesn't follow the rules."

Ward's legal counsel, Tim McLeod, focused on Ward's age and social circumstances in his defence of the woman.

"Ms. Ward is only 18 years old," he told the court. "She was barely an adult when it happened."

McLeod said Ward had fallen out with her parents and gotten in "with the wrong peer group," which resulted in drug use and abuse and, eventually, criminal behaviour.

"The path she was on was one that is destined to fail and Ms. Ward, hopeful, now has the ability to reflect upon that," he said.

Ultimately, both prosecutors and Ward's counsel put forward a joint submission to Judge Margaret Gordon seeking a total of 24 months prison time without any time served, to be followed by probation, a permanent firearms ban and a requirement to submit DNA to the criminal database.

Gordon, however, was reluctant to come to her decision without further consideration.

"Generally speaking, a joint submission should not be rejected," she told the court. "I'm not saying I am rejecting this submission … (but) this is a serious charge."

Gordon told Ward that she had an obligation not only to justice and society, but also to Ward herself.

"You are young, and I have to be sure your sentence is a fit one," she explained.

As a result, Gordon said she would have to deliberate on the arguments and case law.

The matter was set over to July 10 for her to pass judgment.

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