An attack on convicted murderer Cordelius Harrison by guards at the Calgary Detention Center did not warrant a lower sentence, Alberta’s Supreme Court ruled Monday.
In a written decision, a three-member panel of the Alberta Court of Appeal said trial judge Earl Wilson did not err in ruling that the beatings did not violate Harrison’s Charter rights, as a discount in sentence is not warranted.
Defense counsel Ramai Alvarez argued Wilson improperly shifted the burden of proof from the Crown to the defense to prove a Charter violation and did not find that there was an unlawful use of force on Harrison that was a mitigating factor does not amount to
Crown prosecutor Brian Graff agreed that Wilson had wrongly placed the burden of proof of the Charter breach on the defence, but the appeal judges agreed that this would not have changed the ultimate outcome.
They noted that Wilson did not find credibility. Harrison’s claim that he was the victim of an unprovoked attack by guards ruled that the officers physically restrained the offender to protect themselves.
“The record in this case shows that the sentencing judge’s credibility assessment and ultimate chain of reasoning were not affected by his misrepresentation of the burden of proof,” they said.
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In his ruling, the Court of King’s Bench judge found Harrison was angry with the guards and had uttered threats and used violence on the first guard to enter his cell “who only reacted in self-defence.”
Wilson found Harrison guilty of a reduced charge of manslaughter in the fatal stabbing of Rofas Sheikheldin, who acted as a peacemaker during an altercation at the since-closed Paranoid Nightclub.
Harrison was charged with second-degree murder in connection with the Nov. 25, 2018, attack on Sheikheldin.
The judge said the Crown had failed to prove that Harrison had the necessary intent for a finding that he committed murder, but his actions landed at the highest end of the manslaughter scale.
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