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Reporter interviewed after plea

Tieja MacLaughlin is a free woman.

The freelance Kelowna reporter is heading back to Canada after agreeing to a plea agreement in a Kennewick, WA, courtroom Wednesday afternoon. The plea agreement did not include an admission of guilt.

Under terms of the deal, MacLaughlin must undergo counseling and has been placed on probation. She is also not to have any further contact with Jackson Playfair, a 19-year-old hockey player with the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League.

Part of those conditions is court mandated weekly cognitive-behavioural therapy for at least 10 sessions.

In court documents obtained by Castanet, should MacLaughlin fail to complete the prescribed mental health treatment, or receive another criminal violation over a 12 month period of any nature in any jurisdiction, or violate the no-contact order, the Stipulated Order would be revoked and a trial would be held.

If MacLaughlin completes these conditions, the case against her will be dropped in one year.

KVEW News Anchor, Kevin Uretsky was at Wednesday's hearing.

He told Castanet News MacLaughlin's appearance and demeanour was much different than at her earlier court appearance.

"Tieja was very professional looking and very unemotional in court. She was dressed very professionally," says Uretsky.

"She looked better both emotionally and physically than she did the first time she appeared because she had not at that point been released from jail."

MacLaughlin also released a brief statement to reporters following her release Wednesday.

"At this point in time, I am not concerned about anything else other than going home," MacLaughlin told reporters.

"I've been here four weeks. It's been emotionally exhausting not only for me but for my family too and financially as well. We have taken a big hit so at this point I am just concerned with getting myself back home to Canada."

She refused to answer any more questions and did not say whether she would be returning to Kelowna where she has lived and worked for nearly a year or the family home in Paris, ON.

Her lawyer, Anthony Ochs, also spoke to the media, calling the coverage of MacLaughlin's story sensationalistic. He did not elaborate.

MacLaughlin was originally charged with felony harassment with domestic violence after threatening to kill her then boyfriend Playfair last month, but pled not guilty.

That charge was reduced to gross misdemeanor harassment.

 

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