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Grudge against Taber Police Service highlights mental health gap in justice system

Posted on July 16, 2015 by Taber Times

By J.W. Schnarr
Taber Times
jwschnarr@tabertimes.com

A man with a grudge against the Taber Police Service was handed nine months of house arrest and probation stemming from a number of incidents in the Taber area recently, and highlighted the problems occasionally faced by the justice system when dealing with people who have mental health issues.

Carl Henry Kallen appeared via CCTV from Lethbridge Correctional Centre in Taber provincial court July 7 to answer for nine different charges stemming from recent run-ins with the law, including five counts of breach of conditions, failure to stop, dangerous driving, failure to comply, and failure to obey (traffic).

Prosecutor Michael Fox explained Kallen had already breached his conditions on the evening of Dec. 16 last year when TPS Cst. Matt Champagne attended to Kallen’s semi truck parked across a number of diagonal parking spots near 50th Avenue and 53rd Street. At the time, Kallen was not permitted to be in Taber due to other matters.

Champagne knocked at the window and discovered Kallen sleeping in the cab.

“He was not happy to be woken up,” said Fox. “He began complaining that he had been woken up, and threatened to have Champagne charged, as the truck is considered his place of work.” He added Kallen also accused Champagne of harassment.

While Champagne did not arrest Kallen, the man was warned that due to the breeches on his file he could be arrested. In response, Kallen locked the doors to the truck and started the engine. He used profanity against the officer, and made an inappropriate gesture.

Champagne was forced to jump down from the side of the truck, and as Kallen pulled away he turned his vehicle toward the officer, forcing Champagne to get out of the way.

Kallen drove down Highway 3 out of Taber with Champagne in pursuit. While Kallen was obeying the rules of the road, he refused to pull over for Champagne.

As Kallen left town limits, Champagne was told to discontinue his pursuit.

“At that time, as a last snub to the police officer, he flicked his lights three times,” said Fox. “As though he was saying goodbye to the officer.”

The next day, on Dec. 17, police were alerted that Kallen was again in Taber, in violation of his conditions. Cst. Dave Gypesi and Sgt. Steve Meggison attended the scene and approached Kallen in his truck. He told the officers he had a reprieve from his conditions from his lawyer, but Kallen was told that was not the case.

According to Fox, he then told the officers they “better have their guns drawn,” because he had no intention of leaving his truck.

Gypesi then broke a window on the vehicle in order to gain access, and Kallen was ordered out of the vehicle. Kallen complied, but when ordered down to his knees, he ignored the order and advanced towards the officers. At that point, Meggison deployed an energy weapon that drove Kallen to his knees, and the man was arrested.

Later, Kallen was released on a recognizance and ordered to report in to TPS weekly. Kallen then went to live with family in Saskatchewan for a short time, but problems arose when he reportedly began talking about leaving. He also reportedly made threats to use his truck as a weapon against any police who got in his way. At that point, he was arrested by Saskatchewan police and eventually found himself in LCC.

Fox told Judge G.S. Maxwell that Kallen was in need of psychiatric help, and most likely some pharmacological help as well, but that the justice system lacks the means to sentence him to a mental health facility.

“It is unlikely that he will follow through with this on his own in the community,” Fox said. “He lacks any sense of insight (to his crimes). He reflects all wrongdoing onto other people. (Kallen believes) his ex-wife is lying about him, and Taber police are picking on him.”

“If we lock him up, he is not going to get any treatment,” Fox added. “He will see (incarceration) as further victimization by the criminal justice system.”

Fox also said Kallen poses a risk because he has a lack of empathy in his decisions, is arrogant, and highly controlling, and he is quick to react to real or perceived threats.

“(Kallen) believes TPS is out to ruin his life, and his family members are at fault for it,” Fox said, adding Kallen believed family members were colluding with TPS against him.

Fox said Kallen could represent a danger to police under certain circumstances.

“The police are the target of his anger,” Fox said. “If they get in his way, and he’s driving his 18-wheeler, that is a dangerous weapon.”

When asked, Kallen’s ex wife told the court she just wanted Kallen to stay away from her, and she was not concerned with him being banned from Taber as long as he did not come around.

It was also stated that family members had witnessed Kallen talking to himself on several occasions, and those discussions sometimes escalated into arguments.

His defense lawyer said due to the fact Kallen’s troubles had only recently started, it was possible the man had experienced a nervous breakdown.

Kallen told the court he was a safe driver, and that Champagne was lying about his encounter with the man.

“I’ve had many driving awards,” he said. “But it’s not true what the police said, that he was on the truck. But I’m prepared to abide by the conditions (of the court). So be it. I don’t have anything else to say.”

Maxwell said the charges against Kallen were very serious, and that Kallen showed a lack of appreciation and respect for the law, and a disregard for police authority. He said Kallen was also lucky police decided to handle the issues the way they did.

“You are fortunate police were content to let you on your way and issue warrants for your arrest at a later time, he said.

“I shared the same concern your ex-wife does,” he added. “There is a significant concern with you that you won’t comply with the court’s orders.

“All we can do is trust you have learned some lesson over the course of your 80 days of incarceration.”

Maxwell said in spite of his hopes, it seemed apparent Kallen was still blaming others for his problems.

“Even as you speak today, I’m amazed at your unwillingness to take responsibility (for your actions),” he said. “You put officers’ lives in danger. Hopefully (the sentence) will act as a carrot on a stick.”

Maxwell then handed Kallen a sentence of nine months house arrest, with conditions, and the hope that Kallen would be inclined to follow through with some form of mental help. He was also ordered to stay out of Taber except for specific circumstances, and to have no contact with his ex-wife. Following his nine months of house arrest, Kallen would then serve 18 months probation. He would also have a one-year driving prohibition.

In regards to the 80 days pre-trial time served, Kallen was granted 1.5 time or 120 days, which covered the jail time handed down for his numerous breeches.

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