A grandmother begged an Edmonton judge this week not to grant bail to her 16-year-old grandson who is involved in a lifestyle of gangs, guns and drugs.
Family members have repeatedly warned the Alberta government that failure to place the boy in a secure facility to address his addiction and mental health issues will result in tragedy.
“I am begging of you that he goes to Alberta Hospital for treatment for as long as it takes,” his grandmother told provincial court Judge Geoffrey Ho.
The boy can’t be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. CBC is calling him Aiden.
Aiden was born with fetal alcohol syndrome. He is homeless and dealing with various psychological disorders. His family says he has refused to participate in programs and other assistance offered to him by Children’s Services.
He has been expelled from school for carrying a firearm.
Guns and drugs
On Jan. 9, police arrested Aiden at the Coliseum LRT station. He had a plastic firearm in the waistband of his pants and six rounds of ammunition, court heard Tuesday. He was released on recognizance later that night.
More than a week later, he was arrested again at the same spot, this time allegedly with a replica handgun and numerous small bags of drugs.
The teen, who appeared in court via closed circuit television from Edmonton’s young offender centre, frequently stretched and yawned, until his grandmother’s emotional plea.
I do not want [ Aiden ] to be like that young lad who stabbed that bus driver.– Aiden’s grandmother
“You don’t know shit,” Aiden interrupted, but his grandmother continued.
She told Aiden she loved him but warned court he was a “big manipulator.”
“He needs Alberta Hospital and he deserves that. Because nothing that has been said here today is going to help,” she insisted.
“I do not want [Aiden] to be like that young lad who stabbed that bus driver.”
When Ho denied Aiden bail, a gasp of relief rose from the gallery where his grandmother and her supporters sat.
Bus driver stabbing case also in court
The stabbing case that Aiden’s grandmother referred to was in the courtroom next door one day earlier.
The 15-year-old pleaded guilty to the September attack on a 65-year-old Edmonton bus driver. The youth also pleaded guilty to charges stemming from five separate incidents over a two-year period, including threatening to kill a girl, and an unprovoked attack with a hammer.
- Teen charged in Edmonton bus driver stabbing had violent past, family says
- Province to review case of teen accused in stabbing of Edmonton bus driver
Days after the stabbing, the grandfather spoke to CBC about the boy’s history of violence, crime, drugs, foster care, intergenerational residential school trauma and mental health problems.
The man said that as in Aiden’s case, he had long warned Children’s Services that without stronger intervention, his grandson was a danger to himself and others. Then he stabbed a bus driver.
They’re offering intense treatment for him now. Where was the intense treatment for him before?– Grandfather of 15-year-old boy who stabbed bus driver
“They’re offering intense treatment for him now,” the grandfather said. “Where was the intense treatment for him before?”
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