CALGARY — A youth has been found guilty of shooting a German tourist in the head on a highway west of Calgary last year.
A judge convicted the boy from the Stoney Nakoda First Nation, who cannot be identified because he was 16 at the time, of aggravated assault and recklessly discharging a firearm.
The court heard that Horst Stewin was driving a black SUV on the First Nation’s land with his family when someone in a passing car shot him. His vehicle veered off the highway and crashed into trees.
Stewin survived and was transported back to Germany, where doctors removed eight bullet fragments from his brain. He is now paralyzed on his right side, gets confused and has memory issues.
“The Crown has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that (the accused) is the shooter,” provincial court Judge George Gaschler said in his decision Friday.
A sentencing hearing is to be held on Feb. 10, 2020.
During the trial, the victim’s wife told police the family was driving along the highway because her husband rides horses and was a fan of the western lifestyle.
She said a vehicle passed by with its front passenger window rolled down, and a man wearing a baseball cap shot her husband. She said she heard a “pop” and smelled smoke before Stewin slumped forward.
Three other people who were in the car testified that the teen was the shooter, although they said they had not actually watched him pull the trigger.
Court heard the accused, who is now 17, had been sitting in the seat behind the car’s driver. But the victim’s wife said a man in the car’s front passenger seat was the shooter.
Watch: Listen to the closing arguments in this case. Story continues below.
Defence lawyer Balfour Der argued that the Crown has failed to prove his client’s guilt.
He said the three witnesses who were in the car with his client had ulterior motives to blame him for the shooting, since he would face a lesser penalty as a young offender. No one else was charged in the case.
The Crown said that when all the evidence is considered, it had completely proven its case against the teen.
A number of other charges against the accused, including attempted murder, were earlier withdrawn.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 18, 2019.