Trio accused of kidnapping Quebec seniors released

Three people charged in connection with kidnapping a pair of seniors at gunpoint — then taking them on a road trip before dumping them in a barn — have been released with conditions following a brief court appearance in Gatineau on Thursday.

Joshua Branker, 22, of Ottawa is facing a dozen charges, including assault, forcible confinement, armed robbery, and break and enter.

Branker wore a blue dress shirt, dark coat, and dark jeans, twice looking around the empty courtroom.

He has been ordered to stay at his grandmother’s house, follow a curfew, refrain from using drugs, alcohol, or firearms, and avoid communicating with four people involved in the case, and report to a police station each week.

“Do you understand these conditions?” the judge asked in English.

“Yes,” said Branker.

His lawyer, Romain Goyard, said Branker has no prior record.

Two teens, aged 16 and 17, are protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

A lawyer for one of the boys said he’s also being released under Section 31.

“That means that his parents are taking over the conditions and they must see that the teenager respect these conditions. If not, the parents could be charged,” said Daniel Lessard.

The teen must maintain good behaviour, reporting to court when required, and stay at home except for school purposes, Lessard added.

The trio were charged following a spree on Feb. 16.

Provincial police allege three people burst into a chalet in Bouchette, Que., roughly 100 km north of Ottawa, preying on a 65-year-old man and 70-year-old woman, pocketing cash, booze, and electronics.

After allegedly forcing the pair into their own car, they were taken to L’Isle-Aux-Allumettes, across the river from Pembroke, and left bound in a barn.

The seniors managed to break free and were spotted by a driver.

OPP discovered the abandoned car in Pembroke and cuffed the 16-year-old shortly after.

Cops said the 17-year-old later turned himself in.

Branker was charged on Tuesday.

The trio return to court on various dates in April.

kelly.roche@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @ottawasunkroche

http://www.ottawasun.com/2013/02/21/trio-accused-of-kidnapping-quebec-seniors-released

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