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Canada spent $550K to track down Calgary murder suspect who fled to Vietnam

A Calgary man charged with first-degree murder was sentenced to 15 months in jail, less time served, for breaching his bail, after he fled to Vietnam less than two weeks before he was to go on trial.

Nathan Paul Gervais fled Calgary in April 2016 in advance of his trial in the death of 18-year-old Lukas Strasser-Hird, who was swarmed and fatally stabbed in a downtown alley in 2013.

Gervais was arrested by Vietnamese police and flown back to Canada in February.

Gervais pleaded guilty to the breach of bail.

“Neither his lawyer nor the Crown could find any cases that were similar to this, so it’s fair to say we were in some uncharted waters with this,” ​​Crown prosecutor Steven Johnston said.

Johnston said about $550,000 of Canadian resources were spent tracking down Gervais and returning him to face trial, with $85,000 of that going to overtime for police and $20,000 to fly him home.

“In my view, the accomplishment the police did, to get him back to Canada from a country that doesn’t have extradition with Canada, is really the story here,” he said.

Johnston praised the work of the Calgary Police Service.

“That they could apprehend a person who has fled Canada with every intention of never coming back and they were able to get him and capture him and bring him back, is to me at least a very big accomplishment here.”

Lukas Strasser-Hird died on Nov. 23, 2013, after he was assaulted outside a downtown bar. (Facebook)

The original trial went ahead for four others accused in the killing. Franz Cabrera and Assmar Shlah were found guilty of second-degree murder, while Joch Pouk was found guilty of manslaughter.

A fourth man, Jordan Liao, was acquitted.

Gervais’ trial is booked for two weeks in January 2019.

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