Darryl Sheepway killed Christopher Brisson in 2015, Sheepway’s lawyer told Yukon Supreme Court March 28.
“I can indicate that Mr. Sheepway is prepared to take responsibility and plead guilty to a manslaughter charge,” said lawyer Lynn MacDiarmid.
The 38-year-old man was charged with first-degree murder Aug. 19, 2016.
But Crown prosecutor Leo Lane opposed the manslaughter plea.
Accused charged with first- or second-degree murder can plead guilty to the lesser included offence of manslaughter, but this requires the consent of the Crown.
Sheepway also pleaded not guilty to the first-degree murder charge.
There is little dispute over the facts, MacDiarmid said.
She told the court she plans to retain psychiatrist Shabehram Lohrasbe to testify as an expert witness about Sheepway’s state of mind at the time he killed Brisson.
“It’s not a fitness issue,” said MacDiarmid, referring to Sheepway’s ability to understand court proceedings. “It’s simply whether the defence of intoxication is made out.”
That would determine whether Brisson’s killing was manslaughter, first-degree or second-degree murder, she said. She told the court she expected it would take two to three months to get an opinion from Lohrasbe.
But for Lane, a date for a jury trial has to be set soon.
“The family of Mr. Brisson is quite frustrated with the delays so far,” he said. The trial would take place sometime in 2018, he said.
Justice Ron Veale, who is presiding over the case, suggested a trial date be reserved soon.
Brisson was 25 when he died. He was reported missing on Aug. 29, 2015, and his body was found three days later near Miles Canyon.
Sheepway is also facing a slew of new charges in connection with a robbery in Ontario. MacDiarmid said her client wanted to have that matter dealt with, “likely by way of guilty plea.”
The day Sheepway was arrested and charged by the RCMP with Brisson’s murder, he had just received a sentence of time served for using forged documents and possessing property obtained by crime.
The case has been adjourned to April 3.
Contact Pierre Chauvin at firstname.lastname@example.org