Nearly four years after the incident, a Sturgeon Valley man and former council candidate was sentenced last week to a year of house arrest and a year of probation for assaulting a Morinville RCMP officer.
Barry Lupyrypa was found guilty in August of assault and obstruction of a police officer stemming from a Feb. 2006 incident. He was sentenced on Friday.
Lupyrypa will be confined to his home with few exceptions for the first 12 months. Afterwards he will be on probation for another year. His house arrest might be loosened after a review set for the six-month mark.
Lupyrypa was a candidate this past spring in a byelection for a Sturgeon County council seat.
The entire incident began as a routine inquiry when Const. Daniel Kehler approached Lupyrypa on Feb. 11, 2006 in a farmer's field just off Sturgeon Road, near the Sturgeon Valley Golf course.
After an initial friendly chat, Kehler asked the man to get out of his vehicle when he spotted a rifle in the passenger seat. Lupyrypa refused and started yelling.
When he got out of his truck, a scuffle ensued as Kehler attempted to arrest him. The officer pepper sprayed Lupyrypa twice and the pair engaged in a shoving match.
Lupyrypa represented himself at trial in June and levelled a series of accusations at Kehler and other RCMP witnesses. He insinuated Kehler and the other officers were fabricating their story and accused them of perjury several times.
Crown prosecutor Gerry Bowring, who was brought in from Manitoba for the case, urged Queen's Bench Justice Dennis Thomas for a jail sentence and said Lupyrypa's trial behaviour showed disrespect for the court.
"He has displayed a complete disdain for the justice system."
Bowring said Lupyrypa was within his rights to defend himself, but went well beyond that with his conduct.
"It was all fire and brimstone and hurling accusation rather than trying to help the court get to the bottom of the issue."
Kehler wrote a victim impact statement and added to it during the hearing. He said Lupyrypa had consistently confronted him and demeaned him in public.
"He has mocked my police skills, he has ridiculed my abilities and he has said I was responsible for people's deaths."
While cross-examining the officer at trial, Lupyrypa brought up a 2005 fatal bus crash where Kehler was on scene.
Lupyrypa hired lawyer Kent Teskey to represent him at sentencing and for new charges of perjury and uttering forged documents stemming from the trial. Those charges are scheduled for trial in Morinville in September.
Teskey said he had read the court transcripts and acknowledged Lupyrypa had been confrontational with witnesses, but emphasized his client's right to do so.
"It was probably not a wise move, but it was his choice."
He urged the judge to focus only on the facts and argued for a fine or even a conditional discharge.
"He is a first term offender who pushed a police officer twice and that is what he should be sentenced on."
Thomas said he had put Lupyrypa's bizarre conduct at trial aside when crafting his sentence.
"I have put out of my mind all of the aggravating and insulting conduct that Mr. Lupyrypa inflicted on virtually everyone in the process."
He applauded Kehler for showing restraint and admonished Lupyrypa for not responding to a simple request.
"This is an incident that could have been avoided had there been an appropriate civil response from Mr. Lupyrypa."
He said he imposed the conditional sentence in part to drive home to Lupyrypa that his "menacing and belligerent behaviour" would not be tolerated.
Lupyrypa will have to be inside or within 50 metres of his residence and be able to respond to phone calls or knocks on his door from probation any time of day.
He is only allowed out of the house for employment, to perform 100 hours of community service or for medical emergencies.
He was also ordered to take any counselling his probation officer recommends and have no contact with Kehler or a civilian witness to the incident.
Thomas also imposed a two-year weapons ban, prohibiting Lupyrypa from owning any firearms or other weapons. Lupyrypa will have to turn over any weapons he already owns to the Morinville detachment in the next few weeks. He is also banned from attending at the detachment except for emergencies, court orders or with prior permission of the detachment commander.
The probation period will also require Lupyrypa to comply with any counselling and maintain the no contact order.