Reservists beat homeless man to death (allegedly) - II

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kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Second degree murder is not the problem it depends on what the sentence is. Picton only got ht maximum for second degree and it is effectively the same sentence.

quote:

A jury convicted Pickton Sunday of six counts of second-degree murder in the slayings of Sereena Abotsway, Marnie Frey, Andrea Joesbury, Georgina Papin, Mona Wilson and Brenda Wolfe.

Twenty-five years without being eligible for parole is the maximum sentence for second-degree murder. It is equivalent to what Pickton would have faced if he had been convicted of first-degree murder.


martin dufresne

The bargain is that they were offered (and took) a *manslaughter* plea-bargain, a lower charge than that of 2nd degree murder, which acknowledges intention (but not premeditation), as opposed to, for instance, running over someone because you are using your cell phone or something, which would be treated as manslaughter. [url=http://www.owjn.org/info/murder.htm]Look it up.[/url]
This saved the Armed Forces an embarrassing public trial. Interesting that the accused were not allowed to attend their hearing in uniform. Full damage control obviously in action.

[ 17 April 2008: Message edited by: martin dufresne ]

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

That's only half of the bargain. The other half, which we don't yet know, is what sentence the Crown has agreed to recommend. That's the quid pro quo for the guilty plea.

martin dufresne

I disagree. The sentencing recommendation doesn't enter the equation. The bargain is
a) Crown reduces the charge to manslaughter despite major evidence of intention that would have made a 2nd degree murder charge a cinch.
b) The accused plead guilty.
The Crown and the Defence will enter sentencing suggestions, of course, or even a common one, and the judge will decide within or without that bracket. But the bargain is closed when the Crown and the accused agree to plea-bargain a reduced charge rather than to go to trial and try for what the judge himself called "true verdicts," above.

[ 17 April 2008: Message edited by: martin dufresne ]

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Sorry, but it takes two sides to make a bargain. If I'm going to agree to plead guilty to any offence, I want to know what I'm getting in return.

The accused in this case would never agree to a guilty plea if, for example, there was a chance they could receive the maximum sentence of life.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

quote:


Originally posted by martin dufresne:
[b]a) Crown reduces the charge to manslaughter despite major evidence of intention that would have made a 2nd degree murder charge a cinch.
[/b]

?? The Crown expressly justified the plea bargain on the basis that they didn't think they could prove the requisite intention to support a murder conviction.

If they had thought they could, why would the Crown even consider reducing the charge to manslaughter? The worst result that could possibly occur (assuming outright acquittal is a non-starter) is that the jury would come back with a manslaughter verdict anyway.

martin dufresne

(Entirely edited to respond to M. Spector's penultimate post instead)
Plea-bargains are entered because:
a) trials cost a lot of money and take up a lot of time, especially famous ones where everything has to be done just right because the media and top defense lawyers are ready to pounce;
b) the Crown hates the mere possibility of losing a case and if there is even a chance that it will, they will prefer to plea-bargain a reduced charge if the accused's lawyers will agree to it,
but also,
b) when the accused has worth and the victim doesn't (being homeless or a battered or murdered wife, for instance), the ideology says the accused has been "punished enough" by public censure and any conviction will do;
but particularly,
c) in this specific case, the State's interest is NOT in putting soldiers on public trial for murderous behavior at the time of a very impopular "mission". Imagine if the defense attorneys were to enter CF training or its actual policy about drinking on CF premises as contributing factors to Mr. Croutch's killing. No, no, can't have that.

[ 17 April 2008: Message edited by: martin dufresne ]

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

And my point is that that's not the way it works in reality. You don't know what you are talking about.

Bacchus

quote:


Interesting that the accused were not allowed to attend their hearing in uniform.

Because they were not charged by a military court. They are not allowed to wear a uniform in a civilian court unless testifying as a military person (as in not a defendant)

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

quote:


Originally posted by martin dufresne:
[b]Plea-bargains are entered because:
a) trials cost a lot of money and take up a lot of time...
b) the Crown hates the mere possibility of losing a case...
but also,
b) when the accused has worth and the victim doesn't (being homeless or a battered or murdered wife, for instance), the ideology says the accused has been "punished enough" by public censure and any conviction will do;
but particularly,
c) in this specific case, the State's interest is NOT in putting soldiers on public trial for murderous behavior at the time of a very impopular "mission".[/b]

All of which are reasons why a plea bargain may be acceptable to [b]the Crown.[/b]

But as I keep trying to impress on you, the plea bargain has to be acceptable to [b]the accused[/b] as well - otherwise there's no bargain. The maximum penalty for manslaughter is the same as for Murder Two - life (except for having to wait 10 years to apply for parole in the case of murder). The accused is not going to say "I'm not guilty of Murder Two but I am guilty of manslaughter" without some assurance that his sentence will be significantly less severe as a result.

Sentencing takes into consideration all the facts of the case, and without an agreement on sentencing, the Crown could argue, and the Court could agree, that there were sufficient aggravating factors present to justify a harsher than average sentence. Particularly, if the judge thought the Murder Two verdict would likely have stuck if the trial had continued, he may well be disposed to pass a harsh sentence.

martin dufresne

You had asked:

quote:

why would the Crown even consider reducing the charge to manslaughter?

I answered. I think that, given the facts of the case, everyone here knows why the accused prefer manslaughter to murder 2 charges, even if both maximum sentences did coincide (they don't). Since my by belief in your ingenuousness is rapidly waning, I'll leave you with the last word.

[ 17 April 2008: Message edited by: martin dufresne ]

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

No, my rhetorical question was to ask why the Crown would even consider reducing the charge to manslaughter [b]if, as you wrongly maintained, they thought they had a slam-dunk case for second-degree murder.[/b]

It's certainly not hard to see how the Crown would go for a guilty plea on manslaughter [b]if, as is actually the case, they believed they could not prove intent beyond a reasonable doubt.[/b]

What's hard to see is why anyone with competent legal advice (as these accused had) would plead guilty to manslaughter in circumstances where even the Crown believed that a manslaughter conviction was the worst outcome of the trial for the accused, unless they were assured of receiving a lighter sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. I'm sure, in fact that that's what happened.

Your theory makes no sense at all.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Can we now change the thread title so that it reflects the truth?

martin dufresne

You mean something like "Reservists repeatedly trip over homeless man, unintentionally causing his death"?

Maysie Maysie's picture

Closing for length. I'm sure someone will start a part 3.

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