Judge rejects rehabilitation program for accused arsonist

Firefighters extinguish a fire at the Allen Bird Memorial Center on Friday, April 15, 2022. — Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

The 24-year-old woman accused of intentionally setting fire to the Allen Bird Memorial Center earlier this year has been denied release to an out-of-province drug treatment facility.

Gina Beatty appeared by video Monday morning in Prince Albert Provincial Court and was accompanied by her mother and her lawyer, Roman Latsenko.

Latsenko asked the judge to allow Beatty into Manitoba’s long-term wellness program for his crystal meth addiction. He said they received confirmation on September 16 of his acceptance. Beatty’s mother also offered to pay for the 12-month program and transport her daughter to the facility.

The Crown opposed Beatty’s release to the treatment centre. Stating that due to Latsenko’s uncertainty about the security of the facility and Beatty’s record of violating bail conditions, it would be in the interests of the Crown for Beatty to remain in custody until the end of the sentence.

Beatty is charged with arson after starting the fire that tore through the Senator Allen Bird Memorial Center on April 15e, causing nearly $2 million in damage. She is also charged with assault after hitting a taxi driver on the same day as the arson.

An employee of the Senator Allen Bird Center called the police the morning of April 15e after seeing a suspicious woman light a pile of boxes and wooden pallets on fire outside the building. The building, which belonged to the Prince Albert Grand Council, burned down in a short time as the Prince Albert Fire Department tried to stop it spreading to other structures.

Court documents have revealed that after her arrest, the Beatty show confirmed she started the fire with a baby blue Bic lighter and claimed she was ‘burning bridges’. When asked what that meant, Beatty said she was upset with the choice of the new PAGC leader and wanted it to be herself or a family member instead.

Beatty also said she started the fire primarily for the attention of her parents and that she planned to kill herself by taking fentanyl and lying on the boxes she originally lit, but that she had changed his mind.

Beatty was released on bail on May 24, but was arrested weeks later and charged with two counts of breaching bail conditions after cutting off her electronic monitoring device. Her mother called the police at their residence after Beatty pushed her and claimed her daughter was on crystal meth.

The judge agreed with the Crown’s objection, saying Beatty’s charges were too serious to be released on a voluntary program outside the court’s jurisdiction. After hearing the decision, Latsenko requested that the Court be adjourned until September 26e.

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