Bail hearing delayed for man charged in North Battleford, Sask. Amber Alert case
A bailing hearing for the 19-year-old man charged with stealing an SUV with a six-year-old inside has been pushed back until after the Thanksgiving long weekend.
Following a brief court appearance on Tuesday, Jonathan Gunville learned he will remain custody for the next few weeks.
Both the Crown and defence required more time to prepare for the bailing hearing, which has now been pushed back to Oct. 9.
According to the RCMP, charges laid against Gunville include: abduction of a person under 14, unlawful confinement, abandoning a child, two counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, theft of a motor vehicle, and possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000.
Gunville also faces a charge of evading police, two counts of driving while disqualified and eight counts of failing to comply with a probation order.
This after a joint task force reviewed hundreds of hours of surveillance footage from over 200 businesses in the area as part of the investigation, establishing the vehicle’s movements after it was stolen.
During Gunville’s first court appearance on Sept. 24, he smiled at times and waved from the prisoners box. The only time he spoke was to tell the judge that his probation officer was supposed to change his address so he wouldn’t have to stay at a group home anymore.
Gunville’s court appearance came exactly one week after the little girl was found alive in the stolen SUV, abandoned in some brush in the city’s industrial area just two kilometres from where she was first taken.
It was imperative the child was found and found quickly. Police said she has epilepsy and autism as well as required medication every 12 hours otherwise she could go into medical distress or even die.
Outside court, his mother Tammy Lavallee told media through tears that she had come to court to see if it was actually her son facing these serious allegations.
“I’d tell him he did wrong, and that I hope he learns from that.”
Lavallee said she didn’t believe Gunville belonged to a gang, that he had graduated from Grade 10 and he was always friendly. She also confirmed that he had been living at a group home, and when he wasn’t there, he was at the local Lighthouse but had been evicted for drug use.
Gunville’s lawyer, Bill Archer, said he still needed to review the strength of the evidence against his client but there’s one thing he knows for sure.
“If it was him, he stole a car not a kid.”
Archer said he previously represented Gunville in youth court and that the accused has mental health issues and described him as troubled but likeable.
“He wasn’t stealing any kid, I wouldn’t be shocked that he didn’t realize the child was in there until such time that he was already in the car,” Archer added.
“If it was even him and I don’t know if that evidence is there yet either.”
If Gunville isn’t released on Oct. 9, his freedom will still have been short-lived.
According to a post on his social media, Gunville recently served 168 days in a provincial correctional centre and was just released late last month.
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