Man Pleads Guilty to Drunken Disturbance After Failed Hitch Hike Attempt

January 10, 2014
For The New Brunswick Beacon
BY: NICOLA MACLEOD

A Kingsclear man has received a suspended sentence and probation after appearing in Provincial court this morning.

Caleb Lloyd Harquail, 25, changed his original plea of not guilty to guilty on charges of resisting an officer, verbal harassment and drunken disturbance.

On Feb. 9, the night of Winter Storm Nemo, a blizzard that brought heavy snowfall, high winds and power outages to New Brunswick last year, Keswick RCMP received a call about a man standing in the middle of Highway 102 near Kingsclear First Nations.

Officers arrived at 4:25 am to find Harquail lying on the side of the road. It was clear that Harquail was extremely drunk and an officer informed him he was under arrest for disturbance. He was wearing many layers of clothing due to the storm and officers were unable to handcuff him.

The RCMP tried to put Harquail in a car but he resisted. Once he was eventually forced into the car, he became aggressive and yelled derogatory comments at the officers.

Upon arriving at the station, Harquail refused to come out of the car and held on to the doorframe when officers tried to remove him.  He threatened the officers, and in return, they threatened to taze and pepper-spray him.

“That night made me realize I need to turn my life around,” said Harquail, who told the court that he was trying to hitch hike to Dalhousie, NB in order to protect his ex-girlfriend who was being abused by her then boyfriend at the time of the incident.

Since Harquail had no criminal record at the time of the incident, the Crown asked for a suspended sentence that would not need to be served as long as he obeyed his probation.

“Honestly, the night this all happened, I don’t remember anything,” Harquail told the court. He is unemployed and is contemplating going out West to find work.

Justice Mary Jane Richards sentenced Harquail to a 12 month suspended sentence and 12 month probationary period. He must also undergo an addictions assessment.

“If someone is in front of me because they’ve been drinking, I can tell they have a drinking problem,” said Justice Richards.

Harquail told the court he has attended AA meetings on his reserve, but did not find them helpful because he was the only one there. He added that he stopped drinking last summer.

“You’re a smart guy, I can tell,” said Justice Richards.

“I also tried to go to rehab too, but I didn’t have the funds to make it,” Harquail told Justice Richards, who also instructed him to pay a $100 fine.

Harquail asked for 6 months to pay the fine and told the court he’s sure he can somehow borrow the money. Justice Richards kindly suggested he pay the fine in installments of $10 a month.

“You can come back and see me if you can’t get that paid,” added Justice Richards.

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