New & Notable: Addressing the Scourge of Guns and Drugs

Tyler Batson shot and killed Paul Marcelus in an Ottawa apartment on 17 December 2008. Batson testified at his trial that he shot Marcelus during a struggle that had erupted when he attended the apartment to buy drugs. The Crown had alleged that the shooting was an execution. 
Batson was convicted of second-degree murder – apparently the jury had not found, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the shooting was an execution.
Last week Justice Roy sentenced Batson to life imprison (the mandatory sentence) with an order that he serve 12 years before being eligible for parole. As reported by Andrew Seymour in a 9 September 2011 Ottawa Citizen article, Judge condemns guns, drugs before sentencing Batson to life Justice Roy offered the following comments in support of increasing the parole ineligibility period above the minimum 10 years: “The combination of guns and drugs result in very tragic and serious, deadly consequences”.

The concern over the carrying and use of guns in the community has also recently been noted in the case of R v Chevers, 2011 CarswellOnt 8844, 2011 ONCA 569. Chevers was convicted of attempted murder. The trial judge described the aggravating circumstances in that case as follows:
The facts here are alarming. It calls for, because of the nature of the event and specifically the use of a handgun, greater sanctions for the benefit and welfare of our community and for the public interest.

Here we have a situation where Mr. Chevers, in an unprovoked, premeditated, cold-blooded manner, attempted to murder [the victim], and by mere chance, he missed: probably because he was using a 22 calibre weapon [para 4].

Chevers was sentenced to 15 years jail. He appealed.
The Court of Appeal held that sentences for “planned executions involving the use of loaded firearms” warrants double digit sentences. In upholding the sentence the court noted that the premeditation, use of a prohibited handgun, the appellant’s criminal record and the impact on the community justify such a sentence [paras 8-9].
 
DG Mack
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