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Saturday, April 29, 2000

Klein's daughter receives discharge for mischief
False assault claims motivated by concern for bigamist companion
Robert Remington
National Post

Jeff Mcintosh, National Post
Angela Klein

DRUMHELLER, Alta. - Angela Klein lied to police about an assault at the hands of the man she thought was her husband so he would be sent to jail -- and kept off crack cocaine, court was told yesterday.

Ms. Klein, the daughter of Ralph Klein, the Alberta Premier, received a conditional discharge on a charge of public mischief for wrongfully accusing Richard Marcia, 37, of assault. Her sentence yesterday, which carries 12 months probation and 100 hours of community service, leaves her without a criminal record.

"The accused, in a difficult and abusive relationship, took what action she thought was necessary to keep her husband from going back to drugs," Judge Gordon Clozza said in sentencing Ms. Klein, who had pleaded guilty to the charge in January.

"What happened here was a spontaneous act of desperation and is something that is not likely to happen again," the judge said.

He said a criminal record would neither serve the public nor Ms. Klein, who heads the parent volunteer committee at her daughter's daycare, where she is an active and successful fundraiser.

The sentencing brought to light a tumultuous relationship between Ms. Klein and Marcia, who was twice convicted for previous assaults on the premier's daughter.

The couple were also never legally married -- Marcia, currently serving 2 1/2 years on charges of theft and possession of stolen property, pleaded guilty on April 7, to bigamy for marrying Ms. Klein without first obtaining a divorce from a Saskatchewan woman, Angi Mari Marcia, of Regina. Legal experts say the bigamy conviction makes the Klein-Marcia marriage void. Marcia received a 30-day sentence to be served after his current sentence expires.

The premier, a licensed marriage commissioner, officiated at the Oct. 7, 1997, wedding, unaware that he was marrying his daughter to a bigamist. The couple have a two-year-old daughter, court was told. Ms. Klein also has a 14-year-old son from a previous relationship.

Ms. Klein, who is the premier's daughter from his previous marriage, has a history of drug, alcohol and mental health problems, court was told. But Marlin Moore, her lawyer, told the court her client is now in full control of her life. Outside court, Ms. Moore told reporters Ms. Klein still attends counselling to deal with the trauma of her relationship with Marcia.

Court was told the couple argued on July 28, 1999, at their home. Ms. Klein phoned police after Marcia stormed out, claiming he had thrown three punches, one to her jaw and two to her rib area. Police noted that Ms. Klein sounded intoxicated.

The next day, Ms. Klein gave a statement to police, saying Marcia was a crack addict and that jail was the best place for him. Seven days later, she recanted.

The Crown had asked for a suspended sentence, which would have resulted in a criminal conviction but no jail time.

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