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Bevy of charges leads to 475-day jail sentence for Westlock man

Darcy Allan Kandt, 31, released from Edmonton Remand Centre
WES - court house IMG-8956

WESTLOCK – A 31-year-old Westlock man who initially faced more than 30 charges ranging from drug trafficking to possession of a prohibited/restricted weapon in relation to a March 2021 police chase, pleaded guilty to a half-dozen crimes and is now out of jail after spending 475 “actual days” inside the Edmonton Remand Centre.

Appearing in Edmonton Court of Queen’s Bench May 16 via CCTV from the ERC, Darcy Allan Kandt pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, careless use/storage of firearm, unauthorized possession of a prohibited/restricted weapon, possession of a prohibited/restricted weapon and failing to comply with conditions of an undertaking. Twenty-six additional charges were withdrawn, including a dozen failing to comply with conditions of an undertaking, seven counts of possession of a prohibited firearm, two drug trafficking charges, two counts of obstructing a peace officer and single counts of flight from a peace officer, possession of stolen property under $5,000 and possession of a firearm that’s had its serial number removed.

Justice Rodney Jerke agreed to the joint-sentence submission from Federal Crown Moira Váně and defence lawyer David Keyes for an all-in, 713-day jail sentence which was deemed served at 1.5-to-one credit by the 475 “actual days” Kandt’s been behind bars. The case ended up in Court of Queen’s Bench following a 60-minute preliminary hearing in Westlock Provincial Court Jan. 12 as Keyes had previously requested trial by Court of Queen’s Bench judge and jury.

Justice Jerke, who also ordered Kandt to submit a sample of DNA and banned him from owning a firearm for the remainder of his life, called it a “true joint submission” and encouraged him to turn his life around and kick his drug habit. Kandt told the court he’s been sober throughout his current prison stay and “I’ll continue to practice that when I’m released.”

“You’re a young man sir. Your counsel and this Crown have given you what I consider to be an opportunity. Please, please don’t waste it. This is the time to not waste your chance,” said Justice Jerke. “I celebrate when young people can do that (stay sober) … I celebrate when anybody can do that. Society needs young people now more than ever and we need you sir.”

Váně said Kandt’s criminal record, which started in 2010 in Barrhead and includes entries from Westlock, Athabasca and Fort Saskatchewan, is “indicative of someone who’s struggling with an addiction issue … and a life that’s not on the right side of the tracks.” While she called the joint-sentence submission “low and what we’d normally see as a starting point” there were triable issues as Keyes noted questions around Kandt’s statement to police and the “Crown could have ended up empty-handed on a lot of these, if not all of these charges.”

Keyes also noted Kandt’s “rocky” upbring but says he’s not a “hardened criminal” and has a good support system upon his release with his wife and grandmother.

“He’s been using alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy and meth starting at the age of 15. Plus, or minus some good choices, I think Mr. Kandt has a good chance of getting a fair shake at life and not have to live like this,” added Keyes.

The crime

Váně told court that on March 20, 2021, Westlock RCMP were conducting patrols when a “dark coloured and dirty” Pontiac Grand Am was spotted crossing 100th Street southbound on 98th Avenue.

Police say the car was being driven aggressively and hit speeds of 80 km/h on the residential streets and saw it blow through a pair of stop signs before turning south on to Highway 44.

“RCMP attempted to close the distance on the Grand Am which was now travelling at speeds of approximately 170 km/h and they observed it pass a semi-truck on the curve under a double-sold line,” said Váně.

The vehicle first attempted to make a high-speed turn west on to Township Road 582 but failed to stop in time and continued heading south on Highway 44. During the chase the vehicle began having mechanical issues as “all the lights were flashing on and off and it was travelling at lower speeds.”

The Grand Am, which continued to malfunction, sputtered west onto Highway 651 heading towards Busby, then went north onto Range Road 271 and after 100 metres it swerved into the east ditch — the driver, who was Kandt, fled west, while the passenger, Tyler Stump, who surrendered within in minutes, initially took off east.

During a search of the car RCMP found a backpack filled with 42.9 grams of pre-packaged cocaine and methamphetamine, a digital scale, two knives, empty Ziplock bags and Kandt’s ID. Also found in the vehicle was a GSG 16 semi-automatic .22-calbre rifle, along with two loaded 25-round magazines and a 150-round drum magazine — the rifle’s serial number had been ground off. RCMP eventually called in the canine unit who arrested Kandt after a 6.5-kilometre search.

George Blais,

George Blais

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