Alicia Murphy out of jail for now

Alicia Murphy is out of jail. The 34-year-old walked out the door Wednesday after a judge sentenced her to time-served for two bail violations. Those were the only charges she was facing - for now.

Alicia Murphy is out of jail.

The 34-year-old walked out the door Wednesday after a judge sentenced her to time-served for two bail violations.

Those were the only charges she was facing – for now.

Murphy was convicted in 2009 of second-degree murder of Evangeline Billy. She appealed that conviction and, earlier this year, a new trial was ordered.

Last month a Yukon Supreme Court justice ordered the Crown pay for Murphy’s chosen lawyer for that new trial.

That hasn’t happened yet. Prosecutors are appealing the order.

That put Murphy in an unusual position when she sat in front of judge Michael Cozens in territorial court this week.

She’s not technically facing a murder charge right now. The supreme court ordered the charge be stayed until plans were made for her new lawyer to be paid for.

Murphy was only facing charges of breaching her bail conditions in September. She pleaded guilty to two counts – sneaking out of the house and drinking.

It was an odd sentencing hearing.

In most cases, when a person is sentenced for violating bail, that sentence comes combined with other charges.

The lawyers on both sides of the Murphy case struggled to give the judge examples of cases that dealt with breaches specifically.

Prosecutor David McWhinnie argued that three to six months in jail for each of the two breaches would be appropriate, served one after the other.

Murder charges are serious, he said, and it’s important that there be a serious penalty to maintain the public’s confidence in the bail system.

“The crux of the Crown submission is that a breach of a condition of release on a charge as serious as murder should attract a sanction more significant than a breach of a condition of release on a less serious charge,” Cozens wrote in his decision.

On the other side was Murphy’s defence lawyer, Jennie Cunningham. She argued that a 30-day sentence for each offence, served concurrently, was more appropriate, and relatively standard in the territory.

Her client is innocent until proven guilty, she said, and so the fact that there’s a murder change involved shouldn’t be a factor, she said.

“Counsel notes that Ms. Murphy was incarcerated from 2008 until her release in July, 2014. Until the date of the breaches, Ms. Murphy had been diligent in following her release conditions. She had just started working at Challenge. Her release conditions had already been relaxed due to her positive performance and there was discussion regarding easing them even more,” Cozens wrote.

In the end the judge landed closer to the defence’s side. He sentenced Murphy to 30 days for each of the charges but ordered that they be served consecutively.

Murphy had already been in custody for 74 days.

Cozens said he wasn’t persuaded that Murphy should receive a sentence outside of the normal range for an offender being sentenced for the first time for breaching court-ordered conditions.

“I find that it would be contrary to the fundamental purposes, objectives and principles of sentencing to do so,” he said.

“Ms. Murphy is entitled to the benefit of the presumption of innocence.”

No date has been set yet for when the Court of Appeal might hear the Crown’s case.

In an email yesterday, McWhinnie said his office is not involved when it comes to making financial arrangements related to court orders. He said the office intends “to both pursue the appeal (as expeditiously as is possible) and continue with the prosecution when and as we are able.”

Contact Ashley Joannou at

ashleyj@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. The Yukon government announced three new cases of COVID-19 in Watson Lake on Oct. 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three new COVID-19 cases identified in Watson Lake

The Yukon government has identified three locations in town where public exposure may have occurred

A pedestrian passes by an offsales sandwich board along Fourth Avenue in Whitehorse on Oct. 22. NDP MLA Liz Hanson raised concerns Oct. 21 in the legislature about increased hospitalizations due to alcohol consumption that correlate with an extension in the hours alcohol can be sold in the territory. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Alcohol-related hospitalizations rise after off-sales hours extended

Reduced hours for off-sale liquor establishments likely part of Liquor Act spring reforms

Tourism and Culture Minister Jeanie McLean (formerly Dendys) speaks during legislative assembly in Whitehorse on Nov. 27, 2017. The Yukon government has announced $2.8 million in tourism relief funding aimed at businesses in the accommodation sector that have already maxed out existing funds. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Tourism relief funding offers $2.8 million to hotels and overnight accommodations

$15 million in relief funding is planned for the tourism sector over the next three years

The Whitehorse sewage lagoons photographed in 2011. With new regulations for wastewater anticipated to be introduced by the federal government within the next decade, the City of Whitehorse may soon be doing some prep work by looking at exactly what type of pollutants are making their way into the city’s wastewater. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Pondering pollutants

City could spend $70,000 looking at what contaminents are in waste water

Most of Whitehorse Individual Learning Centre’s class of 2020 graduates. The former students were welcomed back and honoured by staff at the school on Oct. 14 with a personalized grad ceremony for each graduate. (Submitted)
Individual Learning Centre grads honoured

Members of the Whitehorse Individual Learning Centre’s class of 2020 were welcomed… Continue reading

Benjamin Munn, 12, watches the HPV vaccine in 2013. Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available to all Yukoners up to, and including, age 26. Currently the program is only available to girls ages nine to 18 and boys ages nine to 14. (Dan Bates/Black Press file)
HPV vaccine will be available to Yukoners up to, including, age 26

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

asdf
COMMENTARY: Me and systemic racism

The view from a place of privilege

asdf
Today’s mailbox: Electricity and air travel

Letters to the editor published Oct. 23, 2020

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Irony versus Climate

Lately it seems like Irony has taken over as Editor-in-Chief at media… Continue reading

Evan Lafreniere races downhill during the U Kon Echelon Halloweeny Cross-Country Race on Oct. 16. (Inara Barker/Submitted)
Costumed bike race marks end of season

The U Kon Echelon Bike Club hosted its final race of the… Continue reading

Smartphone showing various applications to social media services and Google. (Pixabay photo)
National media calling for level playing field with Google, Facebook

In Canada, Google and Facebook control 80 per cent of all online advertising revenues

Education Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee, right, before question period at the Yukon legislative assembly in Whitehorse on March 7, 2019. The Yukon government announced Oct. 19 it has increased the honoraria rates for school council members. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Honoraria increased for school council members

Members of school councils throughout the territory could soon receive an increased… Continue reading

Most Read