Crown denied appeal in two assault cases

The Yukon Court of Appeal has rejected an application from the Crown to revisit the sentences of two men convicted of violent attacks last year.

The Yukon Court of Appeal has rejected an application from the Crown to revisit the sentences of two men convicted of violent attacks last year.

Corey Pope and Kevin Frisch were both convicted of aggravated assault in separate cases in May. Pope attacked a Destruction Bay doctor in February 2011, and Frisch assaulted a cab driver in July 2010.

Both men were sentenced to three months in jail and probation.

In its decision, the three-judge appeals panel stated “the Crown made no effort to have these appeals heard in a timely way.”

The two men had already completed their sentences several months before the appeal hearings, noted the court.

The two appeals were set to be heard in Whitehorse in November of last year but the cases were put on standby.

The appeals were rescheduled to be heard in Vancouver on Feb. 8 of this year, but before they could take place the court asked the Crown for an explanation for why it took so long for the appeals to come forward.

The Crown filed an affidavit explaining the reasons for the delay, but the court found it to be unsatisfactory.

“Indeed, as Crown counsel candidly admitted, he does not have a good explanation for why nearly nine months passed between when the three-month sentences were imposed and the appeals came on for hearing,” read the decision. “In particular, he does not have an explanation for why arrangements were not made to have the appeals heard in Vancouver during the summer of 2012.”

The appeals court noted that the Crown has an obligation when it appeals a sentence that involves a short term of imprisonment to do so before the term has been served.

“It is clear that with respect to the present matters, the Crown failed to meet that obligation,” read the decision.

Had the appeals proceeded, the Crown would have sought longer sentences in both cases.

The appeals court explicitly stated that in making its decision it was not endorsing the original sentences handed down by the lower court.

“It should be noted that as these appeals were not heard on their merits, this court did not consider the fitness of either sentence,” read the decision. “Accordingly, the refusal of leave should not be taken as an indication that we consider either sentence to be fit.”

Contact Josh Kerr at joshk@yukon-news.com