By Trevor Busch
Taber town councillor Rick Popadynetz will stand trial on a charge of assault with a weapon in Taber provincial court on Feb. 5, 2015.
The charge is in relation to an alleged incident of domestic violence.
According to provincial court documents, the incident in question occurred on Nov. 2. The Taber Police Service has declined to release any details surrounding the alleged offence.
Popadynetz pled not guilty to the charge on Dec. 2, but the matter was adjourned to Dec. 16 for fixation of a trial date. Popadynetz did not appear personally but was represented by Dustin Patzer as agent for his attorney, Doug Carle.
In Taber provincial court on Dec. 2, Patzer had objected to an April 23, 2015 trial date proposed by the Crown as prejudicial, and had requested an immediate change of venue.
This request was ultimately denied by Judge G.S. Maxwell, who indicated that whenever possible, matters that originate within a jurisdiction or community should in most cases be heard there in the public interest.
A former member of the Taber Municipal Police Commission, Popadynetz has since stepped down from the position, citing other municipal obligations. Coun. Jack Brewin has been appointed as town council’s replacement on the commission.
In a statement in late November, Town of Taber CAO Greg Birch indicated town council’s position on the criminal charge against Coun. Popadynetz is a “private matter” which will be dealt with as such by the provincial court system, despite Coun. Popadynetz’s current position as a municipally-elected official.
“The official statement that council has given is this is a private matter, and is going before the court system as any private matter would. The Municipal Government Act covers off his role and responsibilities, and certainly this wouldn’t disqualify him from council.”
The Feb. 5 trial has been scheduled as a full day special sitting arranged by the trial co-ordinator.