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Man accused of shooting at police has matters adjourned for 20th time

The new defence lawyer wanted an adjournment so she could review the disclosure and related materials.
MJ prov court 6
Moose Jaw Provincial Court. Photo by Jason G. Antonio

MOOSE JAW — Judge Daryl Rayner begrudgingly adjourned Jirard Stacey Saddleback’s criminal matters for a 20th time while urging the Crown and defence to move speedily because the matters were “getting long in the tooth.”

Saddleback, 33, from Calgary, appeared recently in Moose Jaw Provincial Court by video from the Regina Correctional Centre. Legal Aid lawyer Suzanne Jeanson appeared on behalf of defence lawyers Zachary Carter and Aleida Oberholzer and explained that the latter would take over the case while the former planned to withdraw from representing the accused. 

The new defence lawyer wanted an adjournment to Monday, Aug. 21, so she could review the disclosure and related materials.

Judge Rayner pointed out that during Saddleback’s previous court appearance, the provincial and federal Crown prosecutors expressed concern about adjourning the file again for the 19th time. He wanted to see this situation progress to the preliminary hearing stage because of the nature of the charges.

“It has been kicking around since October of last year … ,” the judge said. “(Unfortunately), I see no other recourse but to adjourn.”

Crown prosecutor Rob Parker explained that his office has been ready to hold preliminary hearings since March. Meanwhile, he was optimistic that all parties could set such dates during the next court appearance and did not want to see the courts “unilaterally” set a date without the defence.

Rayner acknowledged that the Crown and defence had spoken with each other several times about this situation and noted that there were many details both parties needed to work through. 

He thought the provincial court might need to find special dates in the coming months for the preliminary hearing; a two-day hearing could occur in December, while a three- to four-day hearing could be scheduled for January. He also thought a special judge might need to be brought in to adjudicate the prelim hearings.

“But I do not know what the steps will be because we do not even have an election,” Rayner said, adding he wanted to see this case proceed soon because it was “getting long in the tooth.”

An election refers to the Crown and defence selecting which court will have jurisdiction over a criminal charge. If the Crown classifies the offence as summary — a less serious charge — then the trial would occur in provincial court. Classifying the charges as an indictment — more serious — would mean the defence can choose to have the trial in provincial court or King’s Bench. 

According to previous information, Saddleback’s charges stem from allegedly firing on members of the Moose Jaw Police Service (MJPS) on Oct. 22, 2022, during an operation involving the MJPS Tactical Response Team (TRT) and Regina SWAT. He made his first court appearance two days later, on Oct. 24. 

Saddleback was charged with attempted murder, possession of drugs for trafficking, possession of a prohibited firearm, possession of proceeds from a crime, and several additional firearms and weapon-related offences. 

He had previously been sought on a Canada-wide warrant issued out of Calgary for being unlawfully at large. 

The restricted firearm he allegedly used was stolen and had been equipped with a prohibited magazine with a 30-round capacity. 

As well as the two tactical teams involved, the operation was supported by MJPS patrol members, the K-9 unit, the criminal investigation section (CIS), dispatchers, administration members, crisis negotiators, and a drone pilot.