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

Vancouver Island woman to attempt historic swim across Juan de Fuca Strait today

Ultra-marathon swimmer Susan Simmons to attempt to swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back

Port McNeill Cannabis Committee stumbles out of the gate

“I’m worried we could just be all over the map and I need to see a plan.”

Port Alice’s new RCMP officers going through clearance process

The medical process can take several months to complete as there are several steps involved.

East Zeballos placed under evacuation alert as “out of control” wildfire approaches homes

BC Wildfire Service says rolling debris on steep terrain poses danger to firefighters

First responders, police march in funeral procession for Fredericton officers

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

44 drownings so far this year in B.C.

Lifesaving Society urging caution to prevent deaths while on lakes, oceans and in pools

Some of B.C.’s air quality levels worse than Jodhpur, India

Okanagan, northern B.C. seeing some of the worst air quality globally

VIDEO: Ground crews keep a close eye on largest B.C. wildfire

Originally estimated to be 79,192 hectares, officials said more accurate mapping shows smaller size

Canadians believe in immigration but concerned about asylum seekers: study

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada paid for study to understand Canadian attitudes

These are the highest-paid actresses of 2018

In its list released this week Forbes said all 10 earned a total of $186 million before tax

VIDEO: Fires break out in scrap piles at mill on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo firefighters got blazes under control in early morning hours Saturday at Harmac Pacific

Authorities mull evacuation order for Zeballos

Smoke billowed from the steep hillsides of Zeballos on Friday evening, as… Continue reading

Most Read