Dean Pritchard

Dean Pritchard

Courts reporter

Someone once said a journalist is just a reporter in a good suit. Dean Pritchard doesn’t own a good suit. But he knows a good lawsuit.

Since covering his first trial for the Brandon Sun in 1999, Pritchard has logged more time in a courtroom than many of the veteran lawyers whose cases he has followed.

After leaving Brandon, Pritchard spent 12 years on the court beat for the Winnipeg Sun, returning to the beat in 2019 after a brief stint as a Free Press copy editor.

In covering cases that often capture people at their lowest, Pritchard strives for fairness and accuracy, without sacrificing the humanity at the core of the stories. In the words of one of his favourite literary gumshoes, Harry Bosch, “Everybody counts or nobody counts.”

When not running from one courtroom to another, Pritchard has been pepper-sprayed by police, spent an afternoon as a shopping mall Santa, jumped out of a perfectly good airplane and chugged a six-pack before noon to help Mounties test their new roadside screening device — all in the service of (he hopes) a good story. It’s a living.

In his off hours, Pritchard enjoys plucking away at his six string while trying to memorize all 14 verses of The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Pritchard believes a great hat always beats a great haircut and that writing about oneself in the third person is a bit… weird.

Editors told Pritchard his bio should be at least 250 words, but as readers may have noticed, he’s not one to run off at the mouth.

Recent articles of Dean Pritchard

New trial ordered in West Broadway slaying in 2019

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Preview

New trial ordered in West Broadway slaying in 2019

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Yesterday at 4:52 PM CST

Manitoba’s highest court has ordered a new trial for a man convicted of killing a stranger in an unprovoked knife attack while high on meth.

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Yesterday at 4:52 PM CST

Robert Donaldson, 51, was fatally stabbed when he a friend were walking near the intersection of Sherbrook Street and Sara Avenue on a June evening in 2019. (Facebook)

Abusive father, husband gets break on sentence

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Preview

Abusive father, husband gets break on sentence

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Yesterday at 6:00 AM CST

A Winnipeg man who held his wife and children as virtual hostages during a violent, two-year reign of terror has had his prison sentence reduced by four years.

In a written decision released last week, the Manitoba Court of Appeal ruled medical evidence not heard at the man’s trial or sentencing that suggests mental illness played a role in his crimes and served to reduce his moral responsibility, justifies a reduction in his 13-year prison sentence.

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Yesterday at 6:00 AM CST

JESSICA LEE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

The Manitoba Court of Appeal ruled medical evidence not heard at the man’s trial or sentencing that suggests mental illness played a role in his crimes and served to reduce his moral responsibility, justifies a reduction in his 13-year prison sentence.

Woman seeks to withdraw guilty plea in death of toddler

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Preview

Woman seeks to withdraw guilty plea in death of toddler

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023

A Winnipeg woman accused of fatally injuring her two-year-old stepson knew what she was doing when she agreed to plead guilty to manslaughter and should not be allowed to withdraw her plea, a judge was told Wednesday.

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Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023

JESSICA LEE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Victoria Reane Thiessen, 23, entered a guilty plea to the March 2020 killing over a year ago, but is fighting to withdraw it.

Couple charged with handing out cannabis candy insist they meant no harm

Chris Kitching and Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Preview

Couple charged with handing out cannabis candy insist they meant no harm

Chris Kitching and Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023

A Winnipeg couple charged with handing out bags of cannabis edibles to children on Halloween night insist they made a mistake and were not trying to harm trick-or-treaters.

Police arrested Sheldon Chochinov, 63, and Tammy Sigurdur, 53, a day after kids received bags of THC candy, which look similar to bags of children’s sweets, in south Tuxedo.

Chochinov and Sigurdur have each been charged with 13 counts of distributing cannabis to a young person and 13 counts of distributing cannabis knowing it is illegal.

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Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023

Cannabis gummies can look like regular candy. (Supplied)

Couple accused of distributing cannabis had run out of Halloween candy: search warrants

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Preview

Couple accused of distributing cannabis had run out of Halloween candy: search warrants

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023

A Winnipeg couple say they ran out of candy to hand out on Halloween night when it is alleged they topped up their treat bowl with strictly adult cannabis-laced confections.

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Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023

WPS HANDOUT / FREE PRESS FILES

The couple was arrested one day after police received complaints from several parents, who said their children had returned home that night with Nerds Rope candies that contained 600 mg of THC each in their treat bags.

Accused killer to be assessed by psychiatrist

Dean Pritchard 3 minute read Preview

Accused killer to be assessed by psychiatrist

Dean Pritchard 3 minute read Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023

A Manitoba man accused of murdering his parents and stabbing his nursing supervisor in the entrance of a city hospital will argue he was not criminally responsible for his actions.

Trevor Farley appeared in a Winnipeg courtroom Tuesday. A judge approved a Crown application ordering that he undergo a forensic psychiatric assessment.

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Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023

Trevor Farley, 38, is charged with first-degree murder in the killing of his mother, with second-degree murder in the killing of his father, and with attempted murder for a knife attack on a nursing supervisor at Seven Oaks Hospital. (Winnipeg Free Press files)

Man pleads guilty in near-fatal 2021 knife attack aboard city bus

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Preview

Man pleads guilty in near-fatal 2021 knife attack aboard city bus

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Monday, Jan. 30, 2023

Winnipeg Transit passengers screamed in horror and ran for the exit after Peter Radulescu pulled out a knife and calmly stabbed an elderly woman seated in front of him eight times in the neck, chest and back, a court has heard.

Radulescu, 44, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of attempted murder for the Jan. 12, 2021, attack.

Guilty pleas for attempted murder are rare, as it is considered among the most difficult criminal offences to prove.

Radulescu will return to court Feb. 6, when Crown and defence lawyers are expected to jointly recommend King’s Bench Justice Jeffrey Harris sentence Radulescu to 13 years in prison.

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Monday, Jan. 30, 2023

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Peter Radulescu stabbed an elderly woman seated in front of him in a city bus eight times in the neck, chest and back, a court has heard.

Five years for 2020 one-punch death

Dean Pritchard 3 minute read Preview

Five years for 2020 one-punch death

Dean Pritchard 3 minute read Friday, Jan. 27, 2023

A fatal attack on a 41-year-old Winnipeg man was met with “shocking” indifference by passersby, even after his body was dragged on to a busy Main Street roadway, a court has heard.

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Friday, Jan. 27, 2023

A fatal attack on a 41-year-old Winnipeg man was met with “shocking” indifference by passersby, even after his body was dragged on to a busy Main Street roadway, a court has heard.

Judge acquits man of inflicting injuries on his toddler

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Preview

Judge acquits man of inflicting injuries on his toddler

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Friday, Jan. 27, 2023

A judge acquitted a Winnipeg man Thursday of inflicting injuries on his toddler that left the girl blind and unable to speak — but made clear the ruling did not mean he thought the man was innocent.

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Friday, Jan. 27, 2023

A judge acquitted a Winnipeg man Thursday of inflicting injuries on his toddler that left the girl blind and unable to speak — but made clear the ruling did not mean he thought the man was innocent.

Crown stays sex assault charges in first of three trials for Ste. Anne doctor

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Preview

Crown stays sex assault charges in first of three trials for Ste. Anne doctor

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023

A woman who claims she was sexually assaulted by her doctor more than a decade ago says she has lost faith in the justice system after charges involving six other alleged victims were stayed in court.

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Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023

Dr. Arcel Bissonnette (left) had been charged with committing a total of 22 counts of sexual assault on female patients in Ste. Anne between 2004 and 2017. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press files)

Adult sentence for Canada Day 2020 murder

Dean Pritchard 5 minute read Preview

Adult sentence for Canada Day 2020 murder

Dean Pritchard 5 minute read Monday, Jan. 23, 2023

A Winnipeg teen has been sentenced as an adult to life in prison for a Canada Day shooting spree that left a 27-year-old mother of four dead and three others injured.

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Monday, Jan. 23, 2023

JESSE BOILY / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

A Winnipeg teen was convicted after a trial of first-degree murder in the slaying of Danielle Cote (pictured) and several related offences.

Trial of doctor charged with sex assaults adjourned again

Dean Pritchard 2 minute read Preview

Trial of doctor charged with sex assaults adjourned again

Dean Pritchard 2 minute read Monday, Jan. 23, 2023

The trial of a rural Manitoba doctor accused of sexually assaulting several of his female patients was adjourned yet again Monday, prompting a judge to question whether the proceeding can be completed in the four weeks that have been set aside for it.

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Monday, Jan. 23, 2023

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Dr. Arcel Bissonnette (left) has been charged with a total of 22 counts of sexual assault against female patients in Ste. Anne between 2004 and 2017.

Church plea bargain nets $30K fine for breaking pandemic gathering orders

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Preview

Church plea bargain nets $30K fine for breaking pandemic gathering orders

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023

A Manitoba church that repeatedly flouted provincially imposed gathering limits at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic has been fined $30,000.

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Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Church of God Restoration pastor Tobias Tissen speaks from a truck as RCMP officers and Manitoba Justice officials blocked the entrance to The City of God Church in Sarto, just south of Steinbach, to enforce Manitoba Health COVID-19 orders Sunday, November 29, 2020. Reporter: Abas

Two years house arrest for fake immigration consultant

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Preview

Two years house arrest for fake immigration consultant

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023

A Winnipeg man who falsified bank records and other documents to help would-be immigrants secure entry to Canada has been sentenced to two years house arrest.

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Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023

Chinenye Alozie pleaded guilty to acting as an unauthorized immigration consultant and misrepresenting or withholding facts on immigration applications. (Supplied)

Son who murdered mother to serve youth sentence

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Preview

Son who murdered mother to serve youth sentence

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023

A Winnipeg man who bludgeoned his mother to death in her bed when he was 16 will not serve a life sentence in prison, a judge has ruled.

“There is no doubt the offence was extremely violent and brutal,” King’s Bench Justice Anne Turner said Tuesday, but prosecutors did not satisfy her that the circumstances of the case demanded the now-20-year-old be sentenced as an adult for the crime.

The man stood trial for first-degree murder in the March 2019 slaying, but was convicted by a jury in June 2022 of the lesser offence of second-degree murder.

Turner sentenced him to the maximum youth sentence of seven years custody, three years of which are to be served under conditional supervision in the community.

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Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023

JESSICA LEE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

King’s Bench Justice Anne Turner sentenced the accused to the maximum youth sentence of seven years custody, three years of which are to be served under conditional supervision in the community.

No parole eligibility for 10 years for 2021 murder

Dean Pritchard 2 minute read Preview

No parole eligibility for 10 years for 2021 murder

Dean Pritchard 2 minute read Monday, Jan. 9, 2023

A Winnipeg man who fatally attacked his teenage friend following an alcohol-fuelled argument has been sentenced to life in prison, with no chance of parole for at least 10 years.

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Monday, Jan. 9, 2023

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Police investigate the July 2021 homicide of 17-year-old Jaden Oman at the Manitoba Housing complex at 375 Assiniboine Ave. in Winnipeg. Samuel Hastings pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the killing, Monday.

Man sues ex-coach’s estate

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Preview

Man sues ex-coach’s estate

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023

An Ontario man is suing the estate of a former minor hockey coach and lawyer, alleging that as a teen, he was repeatedly sexually abused and photographed in “compromising and degrading situations” at the man’s Winnipeg home.

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Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023

A 42-year-old man has filed a statement of claim filed in Manitoba’s Court of King’s Bench alleging Robert (Bob) Dawson groomed and sexually abused him as a child while Dawson was a coach with the Assiniboine Park Hockey Association in the early to mid-1990s. (Jessica Lee / Winnipeg Free Press files)

Crown drops fraud charge against disgraced former funeral director

Dean Pritchard 3 minute read Preview

Crown drops fraud charge against disgraced former funeral director

Dean Pritchard 3 minute read Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023

A former Winnipeg funeral director accused of defrauding dozens of grieving families is no longer facing criminal prosecution.

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Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Former funeral director Chad Wheeler accused of defrauding dozens of grieving families is no longer facing criminal prosecution.

Man charged with murders in Christmas Day apartment fire has previous arson convictions

Chris Kitching and Dean Pritchard 6 minute read Preview

Man charged with murders in Christmas Day apartment fire has previous arson convictions

Chris Kitching and Dean Pritchard 6 minute read Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023

A Winnipeg man accused of killing two people and injuring four others in a deliberately set fire at a downtown apartment block on Christmas Day has past arson convictions, court records show.

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Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / FREE PRESS FILES

Police said Roger Glen Doblej, 63, and Suzanne Helen McCooeye, 70, died, and four other people were injured after a fire set inside a suite at about 4 a.m. sent smoke throughout the Warwick Apartments on the 300 block of Qu’Appelle Avenue.

Fire, lies, fake injuries: MPI annual top fraud list

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Preview

Fire, lies, fake injuries: MPI annual top fraud list

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022

Auto scammers beware: you never know who is watching and you’re not as smart as you think.

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Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Manitoba Public Insurance has released its annual list of the year’s top-five attempted frauds — proving once again that when it comes to hare-brained flim-flams, the keystone province continues to punch above its weight.

Two men convicted of murder in 2020 beating death

Dean Pritchard 5 minute read Preview

Two men convicted of murder in 2020 beating death

Dean Pritchard 5 minute read Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022

A judge has convicted two men of second-degree murder following a trial that laid bare the violence pervading the city’s illegal drug trade.

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Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022

Mohamed Mohiadin Ahmed’s body was found floating in the Red River in October of 2020. (Winnipeg Free Press files)

Judge will take month to make ‘difficult’ bail decision for youth charged in library slaying

Dean Pritchard 2 minute read Preview

Judge will take month to make ‘difficult’ bail decision for youth charged in library slaying

Dean Pritchard 2 minute read Friday, Dec. 23, 2022

A 16-year-old boy arrested in the slaying of 28-year-old Tyree Cayer at the Millennium Library two weeks ago will have to wait another month to learn if he will be released from custody.

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Friday, Dec. 23, 2022

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A 16-year-old boy arrested in the slaying of 28-year-old Tyree Cayer at the Millennium Library two weeks ago will have to wait another month to learn if he will be released from custody.

Woman pleads guilty, sentenced to life in prison in grandmother’s grisly murder

Dean Pritchard 2 minute read Preview

Woman pleads guilty, sentenced to life in prison in grandmother’s grisly murder

Dean Pritchard 2 minute read Friday, Dec. 23, 2022

A 24-year-old Manitoba woman has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years after admitting to bludgeoning her grandmother to death with an axe.

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Friday, Dec. 23, 2022

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

A 24-year-old Manitoba woman has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years after admitting to bludgeoning her grandmother to death with an axe.

Bagel shop owner accused of drug trafficking

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Preview

Bagel shop owner accused of drug trafficking

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022

The co-owner of a Sherbrook Street bagel shop has been making dough, not just in his kitchen but as a “high-ranking” drug trafficker, justice officials allege in newly filed court documents.

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Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

On Thursday afternoon, the bagel shop was open, but few customers stopped in.