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Alberta man sentenced 10 months for charges laid during Coutts protest

The Court Of Kings Bench in Lethbridge was full of supporters for the sentencing hearing of 37-year-old James Edward Sowery of Killum, Alta., on Monday.

Justice Glen H. Poelman sentenced Sowery to 10 months in prison, along with a mandatory weapons prohibition and a DNA order for the charges of assault with a weapon and the dangerous operation of a vehicle.

On February 14, 2022, Sowery was leaving the Coutts border protest in his hydrovac truck when he approached a check stop just outside of Milk River.

The court heard Sowery had stopped and then accelerated towards the traffic stop between 65 to 80 km/h, running over a pylon and coming very close to RCMP Cst. Cory Kornicki, who was forced to jump out of the way.

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In a victim impact statement read in court on Monday, Kornicki said he was left in shock and reduced to tears on the side of the highway, and it has left a lasting impact on his life.

Sowery was apprehended shortly thereafter, apologizing, and sharing that tensions were high.

Last March, a jury found Sowery guilty on both charges. Following the verdict, the Alberta Transportation Board also suspended his license for a year.

The Crown sought a 12-month sentence, while the defense argued for a conditional sentence of house arrest with an exception to attend his children’s extracurricular activities.

Poelman explained he was taking into account Sowery’s clean record and multiple character letters in his decision.

When Sowery was escorted out of the court room by officers, the crowd of supporters shouted for “freedom.”

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