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Appeal of 2018 murder conviction dismissed by Yukon Court of Appeal

Darryl Sheepway will not be getting a new trial and will continue serving life sentence.
Darryl Sheepway, pictured here during a 2012 bikejoring race, will remain in prison serving a life sentence for the 2015 slaying of Christopher Brisson after the Yukon Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal of the conviction. (Yukon News file)

The Yukon Court of Appeal ruled that the man convicted of murdering 25-year-old Christopher Brisson in the summer of 2015 will stay behind bars with his appeal of the conviction dismissed.

Following a trial in 2018, Darryl Sheepway was found guilty of shooting Brisson with a shotgun as he sat in the cab of his truck. In the trial, that was presided over by a judge alone, Sheepway did not deny shooting Brisson but argued that he lacked the specific fatal intent required to make it a murder.

Court documents state that Sheepway, a heavy crack cocaine user, had attempted to rob Brisson of cash and more crack after luring him to a gravel pit. The two men struggled for Sheepway’s shotgun but during the initial trial he acknowledged that the fatal shot was not fired accidentally.

Sheepway was acquitted of first degree murder because the Crown was unable to prove that planning and deliberation went into the shooting. Despite this, the judge in the 2018 trial found that he shot with intent to cause bodily harm that he knew was likely to cause death and so he was convicted of second degree murder.

The appeal process in the case was launched just a few days after the verdict was handed down in 2018. Sheepway claimed the verdict was unfit and sought a retrial by jury. According to the court of appeal decision on Sheepway’s appeal issued on April 28, the convicted man alleged several errors by the judge. He claims the judge misdirected himself on the use of common-sense inference, wrongly required corroboration in order to accept Sheepway’s testimony, failed to properly analyze evidence relating to intent and misapprehended evidence among other failings.

The April 28 decision from the court of appeal entirely dismissed Sheepway’s appeal. The court found that he had not established reversible error.

“His grounds of appeal largely seek to challenge the judge’s interpretation of the evidence, the inferences he drew, and his assesment of the appellant’s credibility. The conclusions reached by the judge were reasonably open to him on the evidence considered as a whole. The appellant has not established a principled basis for appellate interference with the verdict,” a summary provided by the courts reads.

The appeal was ruled on by a three-judge panel. The written decision dismissing it was penned by Justice Joyce DeWitt-Van Oosten and both Justice S. David Frankel and Lauri Ann Fenlon agreed.

Sheepway will continue to serve the sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole for 13 years that he was handed after the initial trial.

Contact Jim Elliot at

Jim Elliot

About the Author: Jim Elliot

I’m a B.C. transplant here in Whitehorse at The News telling stories about the Yukon's people, environment, and culture.
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