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

XX
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for May 5, 2021.… Continue reading

Crystal Schick/Yukon News Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speak at a COVID-19 update press conference in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. They formally announced that as of Nov. 20, anyone entering the territory (including Yukoners returning home) would be required to self-isolate with the exception of critical service workers, those exercising treaty rights and those living in B.C. border towns
Vaccinated people won’t have to self-isolate in the Yukon after May 25

Restaurants and bars will also be able to return to full capacity at the end of the month.

An RV pulls into Wolf Creek Campground to enjoy the first weekend of camping season on April 30, 2021. John Tonin/Yukon News
Opening weekend of Yukon campgrounds a ‘definite success’

The territorial campgrounds opened on April 30. Wolf Creek was the busiest park seeing 95 per cent of sites filled.

Visitors from Ushiku, Japan visit the Carcross Desert as part of the exchange program Ushiku and Whitehorse have. The previously annual exchange has been cancelled for 2021 due to COVID-19. (Submitted)
Whitehorse-Ushiku sister city exchange cancelled

Officials said the exchange is cancelled due to COVID-19

The site of the Old Crow solar project photographed on Feb. 20. The Vuntut Gwitchin solar project was planned for completion last summer, but delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic pushed it back. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Old Crow is switching to solar

The first phase of the community’s solar array is already generating power.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
One new case of COVID-19 in the Yukon

Case number 82 is the territory’s only active case

Flood and fire risk and potential were discussed April 29. Yukoners were told to be prepared in the event of either a flood or a fire. Submitted Photo/B.C. Wildfire Service
Yukoners told to be prepared for floods and wildland fire season

Floods and fire personelle spoke to the current risks of both weather events in the coming months.

From left to right, Pascale Marceau and Eva Capozzola departed for Kluane National Park on April 12. The duo is the first all-woman expedition to summit Mt. Lucania. (Michael Schmidt/Icefield Discovery)
First all-woman team summits Mt. Lucania

“You have gifted us with a magical journey that we will forever treasure.”

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

Whitehorse goings-on for the week of April 26

The Yukon Department of Education in Whitehorse on Dec. 22, 2020. The department has announced new dates for the 2021/2022 school year. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
Yukon school dates set for 2021/22

The schedule shows classes starting on Aug. 23, 2021 for all Whitehorse schools and in some communities.

Letters to the editor.
Today’s mailbox: rent caps and vaccines

To Sandy Silver and Kate White Once again Kate White and her… Continue reading

Most Read