Darryl Sheepway pictured here during a skijoring race in 2012. March 26 and April 20 have been set as sentencing dates for Sheepway, after he was found guilty last month of second-degree murder in the 2015 death of 25-year-old Christopher Brisson. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)

Defence to launch Charter application after Darryl Sheepway sentencing

Sheepway was found guilty of second-degree murder last month of killing Christopher Brisson

The Yukon Supreme Court has set March 26 and April 20 as sentencing dates for Darryl Sheepway, the man found guilty last month of second-degree murder in the 2015 death of 25-year-old Christopher Brisson.

One of Sheepway’s lawyers will also be mounting an application on at least one of those dates alleging that Sheepway has been kept in segregation for extended periods of time at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, violating his Charter rights.

Appearing in court via video call Feb. 6, Sheepway, 39, confirmed his identity when prompted by Justice Ron Veale but said little else as Crown attorney Jennifer Grandy and defence lawyer Lynn McDiarmid confirmed the sentencing dates.

McDiarmid also confirmed that her co-counsel on the case, Vincent Larochelle, intends to mount and argue an application under Section 12 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which states that “everyone has the right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.”

During his trial last year, Sheepway told the court while on the witness stand Nov. 22, 2017, that, at that point, he’d been kept in “what I would consider segregation” for 17 months. Sheepway testified that he’s let out of his cell for an average of three to four hours a day, during which he has access to a larger room where he’s only allowed to interact with one other inmate, and doesn’t have access to programming, hot water or workout equipment.

Sheepway testified at the time that his mental health has been deteriorating since entering the WCC.

Speaking on behalf of Larochelle, who was not present in court Feb. 6, McDiarmid said the shape the Charter application will take is still being determined, but that the defence will have a “better idea” by the time a pre-trial conference is held on the matter Feb. 21. An “expert” will be interviewing Sheepway in relation to the application shortly, McDiarmid added.

The details for Sheepway’s sentencing, meanwhile, are clearer — it will be presided over by Justice Leigh Gower, and Grandy said a “number” of witness impact statements are expected. She added that some family members have arranged to travel into town to attend.

Brisson’s father, Rock, previously told the News that he will be giving a witness impact statement, and that Brisson’s three sisters and mother will be attending Sheepway’s sentencing.

“We do want to get the matter on,” Grandy said.

A conviction of second-degree murder carries an automatic sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 to 25 years.

With files from Ashley Joannou

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

Charter of Rights and FreedomsDarryl SheepwayYukon courts

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