LETHBRIDGE: The three men charged following a run in with Regional Police during the massive grass fire last fall, all managed to avoid getting a criminal record when their matters were dealt with in Lethbridge Provincial Court Wednesday morning.
On September 10th of 2012, police confronted four men outside the city near Range Road 224 and Township Road 91, after having told the men earlier that they had to leave the area because of the fire.
After refusing to leave and telling officers that they wanted to stay to try and protect the family farm, brothers Kevin Fred Watmough and Allan James Watmough were placed under arrest for obstruction, at which point they struggled against police. Their father, Fred George Oliver Watmough, came over carrying a broom and saw two officers holding down one of his sons, which prompted him to strike an officer with the broom. The officer was not injured. After a brief struggle, which forced nearby firefighters to abandon their job to help police, the three men were all placed under arrest.
Following guilty pleas to resisting arrest from Kevin and Allan Watmough, the Crown agreed to Absolute Discharges for both, noting that they were under a great deal of stress as their home was in jeopardy and adding that it was important for them to acknowledge their mistake. The Absolute Discharge means the two have been cleared and will have no criminal record.
As for Fred Watmough, who entered a plea of guilty to assaulting an officer, the Crown asked for either a large fine or between 15 to 30 days in jail, saying it's crucial for the justice system to protect police officers from attack. The defence countered by asking for a discharge, saying Fred was also under a great deal of stress, adding that his wife was near death after struggling with a disease that affected her brain. She died nine days after the incident in question.
Justice DeBow stated, "These were extremely unusual circumstances". He also noted that it is very rare to grant a discharge in cases where violence is used against police officers in the line of duty. With that said he gave Fred Watmough a Conditional Discharge, meaning if he stays out of trouble for the next six months he will avoid a criminal record and further consequences.