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Judge asked to let accused work off fines on colony

The Hutterian Brethren colony that is home to two men guilty of illegally trafficking in wildlife asked a judge Thursday to let the men work off their fines on the colony.
Judge Jerry Legrandeur was not receptive to the idea but agreed to let the Riverside colony’s lawyer speak to time to pay.
“It’s not the colony that is being punished,” Judge Jerry Legrandeur said. “It’s two young men. It’s their circumstances that I will consider.”
William Tschetter has pleaded guilty to seven charges of illegally trafficking wildlife and one charge of illegal storage of a firearm.
Nathan Tschetter pleaded guilty to three charges of illegally trafficking wildlife.
The Crown is seeking fines of close to $80,000.
Lawyer John Dziadyk was in Fort Macleod provincial court Thursday asking for permission to speak on behalf of Riverside colony.
“I’m assuming there is going to be a monetary fine,” Dziadyk said. “That’s what I would like to speak about in relation to the colony.”
Dziadyk, who does not represent the Tschetters, was approached by the colony manager and bishop to speak on behalf of the colony.
“They would like them to be able to work if off on the colony,” Dziadyk said.
Dziadyk proposed the men be allowed to work off the fines under the provisions of the fine option program.
The men would be assigned work, such as milking cows at 4 a.m. and 4 p.m., that is outside their regular duties on the colony.
They would be supervised by the colony’s minister, and would be required to report to a probation officer.
“I don’t think I can direct what is valid community service,” Judge Legrandeur said. “I don’t choose. I don’t think that’s my role.”
Judge Legrandeur said he sees problems with such an arrangement.
The colony would receive the benefit of the men’s work. The judge compared it to someone guilty of a crime being allowed to do work for a corporation.
“It doesn’t smell very good, even though it may be completely bonafide,” Judge Legrandeur said.
Dziadyk argued for such an arrangement, pointing out a member of the Livingstone colony was allowed to work off a $40,000 fine on that colony.
“It’s not as if it’s not without precedent,” Dziadyk said.
Judge Legrandeur wondered why the Tschetters and colony should receive the benefit of such an arrangement.
“They are a communal group and it’s difficult for them to be outside the communal group,” Dziadyk said. “The communal group can do the punishing within the law.”
Judge Legrandeur wondered why the Riverside colony couldn’t pay the fines, and then have the men work it off on the colony.
“I don’t disagree with that. It’s just the Hutterian Brethren are no different than anyone else,” Dziadyk said of the ability to pay such high fines.
Judge Legrandeur said he is not inclined to make an order allowing the Tschetters to work off their fines on the colony.
“I’m going to issue a fine,” Judge Legrandeur said. “If they need time to pay they’ll be given time to pay.”
Judge Legrandeur said he will leave it to the discretion of the people involved in the fine option program and the probation officer to consider whether the Tschetters can do community service on the colony.
“I think the better way to deal with it is the colony pays the fine and then deals with the boys on their on,” Judge Legrandeur added.

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