— By Tyler Marr
The lawyer for the man accused of stealing a vehicle with a six-year-old girl in the back seat anticipates his client will enter a plea one way or another at his next appearance.
Johnathan Ryann Gunville, 19, of North Battleford, appeared in North Battleford Provincial Court Tuesday morning via CCTV from Saskatoon where he remains in custody.
He faces a number of charges including abduction, unlawful confinement and abandonment of a child relating to the Sept. 16 incident, alongside charges for two vehicle thefts on Sept. 19 and 20.
The Amber Alert was triggered when an SUV parked outside a strip mall in North Battleford was stolen with a six-year-old girl in the back seat. The vehicle, with the girl still inside, was located in a field behind a truck yard 14 hours later.
Outside court, defence lawyer Bill Archer said he anticipates his client will enter a plea at his next court date on Oct. 19 to move the case along given its scope. He said security camera footage related to the case was obtained late Friday, and time is needed to comb through its contents.
The mother of the accused, Tammy Lavallee, attended court Tuesday and wiped away tears during and after the brief appearance. The mother of the child involved in the Amber Alert also attended with family support.
Archer previously said his client’s cognitive challenges will be a reference point in his defence, saying Gunville “is not an evil monster,” and he is a “troubled kid” with intellectual challenges.