South Peace News
More details of a dramatic arrest on the Peace River bridge have emerged in court.
Mukhtar Ali was arrested at gunpoint by Peace Regional RCMP on Aug. 26. The arrest temporarily stopped traffic on Highway 2.
Ali appeared for his bail hearing in Falher on Sept. 5 via CCTV from custody in Peace River. Through his defence lawyer, he offered $1,000 cash if he was granted bail, and promised to abide by any release conditions including reporting to a bail supervisor and keeping a curfew.
Ali, who lives in Nampa, said he works for Polar Energy and could continue to work from home rather than being out in the community. He asked to be released on bail in order to care for his family. Ali said his wife, who suffers from Crohn’s disease, is only weeks away from giving birth and that he also has three other young children to support.
“I’m the sole provider of the mortgage and car payment,” Ali said. “It’s more than just a healthcare matter for my wife right now. It’s becoming critical.
“I don’t want to miss my son being born,” he added. “He’s my last child.”
At the bail hearing, court heard that Peace River RCMP received a report on Aug. 26 that Ali allegedly got in a verbal altercation at the 103rd street stop sign. The complainant told police Ali also allegedly pointed a weapon at an unknown male.
Ali was stopped on the Peace River bridge shortly after and arrested on pending warrants.
Police say he had to be forcefully removed from his yellow Ford Mustang. In the trunk of the car RCMP officers found two long guns and multiple knives.
Ali argued the guns did not belong to him, and read a handwritten letter purportedly from a man named José who claimed to be the registered owner.
Ali also testified that he did not point a gun at anyone and that it was another man in the altercation who pointed a gun at him. He told court a video from another citizen proving his innocence had already been provided to police.
New details also emerged in court regarding Ali’s alleged connection to an armed robbery that occurred at the Big Country Inn Liquor Store in his hometown of Nampa on July 13.
According to a statement from the victim, when they opened the door to Ali so he could purchase off sale liquor, two armed men entered and stole between $300 and $500 while ignoring Ali’s presence. Police searched Ali’s vehicle days later and found stolen VISA receipts in his glove compartment connected to the robbery.
Ali continued to deny any involvement in the armed robbery despite the evidence police say they recovered from his car.
“The gentleman being accused was a friend of mine, and he had reason to be in my car,” he said.
Court also heard Ali had been previously arrested in January after Const. Rondeau observed his vehicle swerving. Various drugs, cash and drug paraphernalia had been found in his vehicle by police at that time, as well as six cell phones and numerous energy drinks. Ali was charged with possession with the purpose of trafficking, but released on recognizance.
Ali was also charged with fraud and forgery in May, fraud under $5000 in July, and his criminal record provided to the court showed previous drug and property crime charges as well as convictions for violence and gun charges.
There was some dispute over whether Ali had failed to appear in court on Aug. 19. Ali claimed his lawyer had told him the date was Aug. 26; however, Ali was in court on July 29 when his case was adjourned to Aug. 19.
“So if his lawyer forgot to tell him, he forgot to tell himself,” said provincial prosecutor Jim Brydon.
Ali also said he had appeared in court on Aug. 26 and not been arrested.
“There’s a little bit of a flaw in the system here because I wasn’t arrested in court and I got arrested a couple of hours later,” Ali said.
“The Crown submission is this: the accused will not comply with conditions,” Brydon said. “He doesn’t comply, he hasn’t complied, and he won’t comply.”
Brydon was also unmoved by Ali’s plea to be released to take care of his family.
“We assume he had a pregnant wife almost all the time he was out there doing these things,” Brydon said.
He added the likelihood of conviction is high and the gravity of the various charges against Ali is significant, calling him “part of the drug underworld in Peace River.”
The Crown’s application for the revocation of Ali’s earlier release on other charges still before the courts was granted by Judge G.R. Ambrose.
However Judge Ambrose said Ali had not actually failed to appear in court enough times to justify preventing him from being released on bail.
“Certainly he hasn’t shown a history of missing court, in fact it’s the opposite,” Judge Ambrose said.
However, he noted Ali had been picked up on offences in May, June, and July.
“He doesn’t miss a month,” Judge Ambrose said.
Judge Ambrose also pointed to the weapons found in Ali’s car during his most recent arrest.
“Ali has provided an explanation, but within that explanation, he acknowledges knowledge and consent to those items being in his possession,” Judge Ambrose said.
Since Ali has been forbidden from being in possession of either firearms or edged weapons since 2013, Ambrose ruled that was a clear violation of conditions of Ali’s release and denied his bail.
Ali will appear in court again on Sept. 16 in Peace River.