Possible retrial for Stewart on two charges
WENATCHEE - Cashmere resident Bob Stewart was on the Chelan County District Court docket for 3:30 p.m., Dec. 27.
At 4:45 p.m. when he still hadn't appeared, Judge Roy Fore, realized that this was the date Stewart was to have reported to the Chelan County Regional Jail to begin serving his one year sentence, having been found guilty of dogs at large, third count; violation of a non-contact order and one count of animal cruelty. Today, the court was set to rule on Chelan County Prosecutor, Andrew Van Winkle's request that Stewart not be allowed to own any dogs.
A second guilty verdict for animal cruelty requires the state to make this request. Stewart was found guilty of animal cruelty after a Dec. 7 trail which included the other charges.
Stewart had been found guilty of animal cruelty in a previous case after the county seized some horses from him about five years ago.
After some checking by the court's clerk, it was discovered Stewart was, in fact, at the jail and his appointment to appear in court hadn't gotten onto the jailors books. Stewart was soon delivered to the courtroom.
The proceedings began with a statement by Prosecutor Van Winkle about a disclosure he had failed to find and report during the trial. That disclosure was about a letter in Chelan County Sheriff's Deputy Jen Tyler's employee records where she was found to have given a false statement to a superior officer.
Her testimony against Stewart was part of the case in one of the non-contact charges and in one count of dogs at large.
Van Winkle received a copy of that letter Dec. 23, but he said he should have discovered it sooner. He apologized to Stewart and to the court and gave copies of the letter to both.
This failure could result in Judge Fore finding that Stewart should be retried on those two charges.
"The law states that everyone is entitled to a 'fair trial,' which doesn't mean a perfect trial, because there is no such thing as a perfect trial," Van Winkle said. He explained that Judge Fore will have to decide whether or not Stewart's trial was fair, minus Tyler's testimony.
As a result of this and other official records Stewart is waiting to receive from the jail and other court offices, a "status hearing" is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 9, so the judge can evaluate where things stand. Stewart has another trial set for 9 a.m. Jan. 11 on disorderly conduct, unauthorized use of county right of way and contempt of court resulting in his arrest on Oct. 12, 2016.
Karen Hartman can be reached at email@example.com