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Chilliwack assault suspect fails in bid to get police statement thrown out

A judge found the severity of Makayla Hebert’s alleged offences outweighed a charter violation
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A judge ruled that a statement given to police by a Chilliwack assault suspect can be entered into evidence at her trial even though police violated her charter rights obtaining it.

Days before the start of an important trial, Chilliwack RCMP and Crown have dodged a figurative bullet.

Makayla Hebert was in the Chilliwack Law Courts Wednesday (March 15). She is one of three people accused of assaulting a man and woman inside a double-wide trailer on Watson Road before putting them in the trunk of a car, driving to a remote location along Chilliwack Lake Road and assaulting them again.

The incident happened April 19, 2021 and Hebert was arrested April 20, 2021. She had applied to get a statement she gave to police the morning of April 21, 2021 thrown out because they took too long providing her with legal counsel.

In October, B.C. Provincial Court Judge Kristen Mundstock agreed that Hebert’s charter rights were violated when she was left sitting at the scene of her arrest for 31 minutes before finally being taken to the RCMP detachment for booking. But Mundstock said the violation wasn’t severe enough to warrant tossing her statement, which will be part of Crown’s case when the trial for Hebert and co-accused Evan Perry Arnold and Dyllon Bradly Hoffman begins Monday (March 20).

The delay was caused because RCMP were short-staffed the day Hebert was arrested, to the point where an officer who’d just finished a shift had to volunteer to get back in uniform to go get her. Her lawyer, Ondine Snowden, argued that the delay was caused by a systemic issue, a lack of police resources, and therefore the charter breach was on the higher end of the seriousness scale.

RELATED: Chilliwack judge finds charter breach in assault suspect’s arrest

Going along with such a breach, Snowden suggested, would bring the administration of justice into disrepute.

Mundstock found the charter breach wasn’t a systemic issue.

“The evidence does not satisfy me that the delay in transport and thus the delay in implementing her section 10B (charter) right was regular and routine, deliberate or part of a plan or pattern,” the judge said. “While I do not find the breach to be minor or technical, I also do not find the conduct is wilful, reckless or deliberate.”

The statement Hebert sought to disqualify was given 15 hours after her arrest. Within 17 minutes of being booked into a cell at the RCMP detachment on the evening of April 20, Hebert had a private phone call with a lawyer. She didn’t provide the statement until the following morning. Mundstock found that it was given voluntarily, and Hebert had plenty of time to think about her position before giving it. She was also twice told by police that she didn’t have to say anything.

“I found Ms. Hebert appeared to understand what she was saying, and that the statement could be used against her as evidence,” Mundstock said.

Ultimately, the judge found the seriousness of the alleged offences outweighed Hebert’s charter argument.


@ProgressSports
eric.welsh@theprogress.com

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Eric Welsh

About the Author: Eric Welsh

I joined the Chilliwack Progress in 2007, originally hired as a sports reporter.
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