Kelowna Law Courts file photo

B.C. judge weeps, defence lawyer cries foul

Defense claims Kelowna judge who wept after victim impact statement has ‘overall tone of bias’.

A British Columbia provincial court judge who cried during a victim impact statement in a Kelowna courtroom is incapable of delivering a fair sentence, a defence lawyer says.

The lawyer also says Judge Monica McParland scoffed at the defence’s suggestion for an intermittent jail sentence and displayed an “overall tone of bias” against a person who pleaded guilty to the sexual interference of a minor.

“It is not appropriate for a judge to get so emotional during a victim impact statement, period,” defence lawyer Jacqueline Halliburn said Monday in Kelowna provincial court, adding ”Judges don’t cry in every sexual interference case.”

But Crown prosecutor Angela Ross said the judge’s actions fell well below the standard of misconduct required for an application of judicial recusal to be granted. “Even gross discourtesy does not amount to judicial error,” Ross said.

As well, Ross said, judges are expected to demonstrate “compassion and humanity” in the fulfilment of their duties.

McParland herself will decide if she should quit the case and refer sentencing to another judge.

After Crown and defence arguments were made, McParland indicated her decision will come before the end of August.

Online court documents show the case is due to return to provincial court in Kelowna for a decision on Aug. 17.

Related: First court appearance for Surrey man charged in West Kelowna murder

Related: New lawyer for Kelowna man charged in killing of wife, children

Jeremy Melvin Carlson was charged in 2016 with sexual assault and the sexual interference of a person under the age of 16. Carlson, who is now in the process of transitioning to become a woman, subsequently pleaded guilty to sexual interference of a minor.

The Crown wants a jail sentence up to 20 months, followed by two years of probation. The defence suggested a 90-day intermittent jail term, to be served over 20 weekends.

The judge’s response when Halliburn proposed that sentence is a matter of dispute. Halliburn described it as a “short, sharp scoff”, but the Crown attorney says no such response is audible on court recordings where it’s alleged to have occurred.

Halliburn introduced submissions from people who believed the judge displayed bias earlier in the proceedings. But Ross said those reactions were predictable from friends and family of Carlson, whom she described as “uninformed observers” who perhaps don’t fully understand the court system.

Judges routinely display a wide range of mannerisms and speaking styles in their interactions with counsel during sentencing proceedings, Ross said, and even if they were true, none of the behaviours ascribed to McParland meet the high standard of proof required for a judicial recusal.

Ron Seymour, Kelowna Daily Courier

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Port Hardy Fire Rescue looking to replace old equipment

PHFR recently requested funding from the district for new SCBA equipment, citing a $35,000 cost.

Port Hardy council has sent a second cannabis application to LCRB for consideration

Port Hardy council voted in favour to have a cannabis application moved forward to LCRB.

Port Hardy water, sewer and garbage rates may go up

Water rates would increase by 2 per cent, garbage by 2.5 per cent, and sewer by 4 per cent.

VIDEO: North Island female minor hockey jamboree a big success story

“Success is measured by the smiles on the players’ faces, not by the scoreboard.”

FOLLOW-UP: Shelley Downey speaks on her Conservative candidacy

“I anticipate requesting a leave of absence from Port McNeill council,” Downey said.

Story of the Year: Deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash

The Canadian Press annual survey of newsrooms across the country saw 53 out of 129 editors cast their votes for the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.

Trial date postponed for man charged with killing Abbotsford police officer

Oscar Arfmann’s trial pushed back from January to May 2019

Privacy watchdog says legal cannabis buyers should use cash, not credit

Some countries could bar entry to individuals if they know they have purchased cannabis

‘A start:’ Alberta critical of Ottawa’s $1.6B package for ailing energy sector

A further $150 million is to be used for clean growth and infrastructure projects

New B.C. Lions coach DeVone Claybrooks adds eight to coaching staff

DeVone Claybrooks has filled out his staff for the 2019 season

Two-year-old attacked by cougar near Mission, B.C.

Boy not seriously injured in incident on Monday afternoon

Trump signs order to create US Space Command

President Donald Trump signs an executive order to create a U.S. Space Command.

Groups preparing new pipeline legal challenge, argue government’s mind made up

A Vancouver-based environment charity is readying itself to go back to court if the federal government reapproves the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Notorious Toronto triple killer gets third consecutive life sentence

Dellen Millard gets third consecutive life sentence for father’s death.

Most Read