Judge rejects rehab program for accused arsonist

The 24-year-old woman charged with intentionally setting fire to the Allen Bird Memorial Centre earlier this year has been denied release to an out-of-province drug rehabilitation centre.

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

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

The Crown opposed Beatty’s release to the treatment centre. Stating that because of Latsenko’s unsureness of the facility’s security and Beatty’s history of breaching release conditions, it would be in the best interests of the Crown to have Beatty remain in custody until after sentencing.

Beatty is charged with arson after starting the fire that burned down the Senator Allen Bird Memorial Centre on April 15th, causing almost $2 million worth of damages. She is also charged with assault after hitting a cab driver on the same day as the arson.

An employee of the Senator Allen Bird Centre called police the morning of April 15th after seeing a suspicious woman lighting a pile of cardboard boxes and wooden pallets on fire outside the building. The building, which was owned by the Prince Albert Grand Council, burned down in a short length of time while the Prince Albert Fire Department tried to prevent it from spreading to other structures.

Court documents revealed that after her arrest show Beatty 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 about who was chosen as PAGC’s newly elected chief and wanted it to either be herself or a member of her family instead.

Beatty also said she started the fire mostly for her parent’s attention and was planning to commit suicide by taking fentanyl and laying down on the boxes she originally lit on fire, but changed her mind.

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

The judge agreed with the Crown’s opposition, stating that Beatty’s charges are too serious to be released to a voluntary program out of the court’s jurisdiction. After hearing the decision, Latsenko asked that Court be adjourned until September 26th