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Weyakwin man sentenced for domestic attempted murder PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chelsea Laskowski   
Tuesday, 23 May 2017 12:25

Prince Albert Provincial Court. Photo by Chelsea Laskowski.

A Weyakwin man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for a domestic attempted murder that left a woman blind in one eye.

This comes two months after Judge S.D. Schiefner weighed trial evidence related to Matthew Warren Lavallee and found him guilty of attempted murder of his former common-law spouse.

At trial it was found that Lavallee, 27, had caught the woman - who is the mother of his two children - in bed with another man, and proceeded to very deliberately slash her throat and stab her a total of 14 times. Trial evidence showed he stopped only when he heard someone banging on the doors of the house.

This all took place in February of 2016, in the same Weyakwin home where one of the former couple’s kids was staying.

At Lavallee’s Tuesday sentencing, Schiefner reiterated directly to Lavallee that he determined there had been an intent to kill, and it was only by good fortune and medical care the victim is alive. She still has limited functioning in one arm due to deep a ligature cut and has no vision in one eye.

Schiefner acknowledged Lavallee’s trial testimony that he was “shocked, horrified” by what he encountered the night of the offence, despite having little memory of the stabbing. Regardless, the judge said denunciation and deterrence in relation to domestic attacks are key factors in his sentence.

Throughout sentencing arguments, Lavallee's father Warren Lavallee and mother Yvonne Cachane sat in the gallery, occasionally crying, each of them with an arm around Lavallee’s back. He has been out on bail for all but around 20 days since being charged, and was taken into custody again on Tuesday.

Both parents stood to make comments about their own upbringing, parenting, past alcoholism and journey to sobriety, and about Matthew’s close relationship with his children, which has been impacted by his criminal proceedings.

Warren pointed to the events leading to the offence, saying “someone else violates your family, I don’t think that’s right” and makes a person feel less of a man, while defence lawyer Pab Chetty repeatedly said Matthew had "become unhinged" in the following moments. A pre-sentence report found a high score related to concerns of his risk to reoffend against a future partner.

“Have mercy on him,” Warren said, and Cachane said “I am pleading for leniency.”

Lavallee stood as well, saying he is “truly and deeply sorry” for his acts and “I am filled with regret every day.” He said he cannot imagine the pain he cause to a woman who has been one of the most important people in his life, and “this will haunt me for the rest of my life.”

The Crown was asking for 15 years, and defence's request was simply that attempted murder should surely not get a more serious sentence than manslaughter.

Schiefner cited a number of similarities between Lavallee's case and a precedent-setting domestic attempted murder in Nova Scotia, which did net 15 years for the offender.

After considering and accepting one key factor – remorse – Schiefner delivered a sentence five years shorter than that.

After what Schiefner called a "trying case," his final words were "say goodbye to your parents, you are now going into custody,” before Lavallee and his parents embraced in a bear hug for a number of heavily emotional moments.

Outside court, Lavallee's mother and father declined comment.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 May 2017 14:24
 
Advance polls show high interest in Metis election PDF Print E-mail
Written by Manfred Joehnck   
Tuesday, 23 May 2017 11:11

Photo courtesy of mnselection.ca

The countdown is on for the Metis general election in Saskatchewan.

In just four days, a new president will be elected, and 20 other executive positions will be filled. It is the first election in five years, and it is expected to be one of the largest.

The advance polls wrapped up on Saturday, when about 600 ballots were cast. Last week, advance voting also took place in 14 smaller centres around the province, with about 1,200 people voting.

Chief Returning Officer, Loretta Metzger, says interest is high.

"Lots of Metis people feel there is lots on the line this time around," she said. In 2012, only about 3,000 people cast ballots, that is less than 10 per cent of eligible voters.

Metzger says her office is doing all it can to get people out to vote, and it seems to be paying off.

"We had at least one advance poll in every region of the province," she said. "I think we had 14 in total, plus we had a number of small mobile polls as well."

This is seen as a key election. There will be a new president. Nine people are in the running for that job. Former president Robert Doucette did not seek re-election.

Vice President Gerald Morin is running again for the vice president position. The Metis Nation has been fractured for years, with Doucette and Morin butting heads on most everything. Failure to hold required legislative assemblies resulted in the cancellation of federal funding in 2014.

The Metis office is closed, and it has sold off most of its assets to pay the bills. Whoever is elected on Saturday will have the difficult task of setting a new course for the provincial organization.

This comes at a key time, with two recent Supreme Court decisions extending Metis rights and establishing the federal government’s responsibility.

It is estimated that 40 to 45,000 people are eligible to vote in the May 27th Saskatchewan Metis election.

 
UPDATED: Muskoday murderer addresses court at sentencing for stabbing death of fiancé PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chelsea Laskowski   
Friday, 19 May 2017 11:07

Robyn Ermine is escorted from court on May 19, 2017. Photo by Chelsea Laskowski.

A life sentence has been imposed on a Muskoday woman who killed her fiance, accompanied by the legal minimum period of parole ineligibility of 10 years.

Earlier this week, a Prince Albert jury found 30-year-old Robyn Laura Ermine guilty of second-degree murder in the Feb. 2015 stabbing death of her partner Evan Tylan Bear. He died of blood loss after a drunken fight between the couple, which took place in the Muskoday home they'd been living in at the time.

At her Friday sentencing, her lawyer Adam Masiowski said she "has stayed sober this entire time" since Bear's death.

Justice Scherman said there's no doubt alcohol was a significant negative factor, both in Ermine's life previosly and in her actions that night.

He has agreed to the Crown prosecutor's recommendation for Ermine to serve the minimum 10 years of her life sentence in jail before being able to apply for parole, saying it would not be "just and equitable" to sentence her to anything higher.

Scherman urged Ermine to continue on with a path of sobriety, which "will continue to be a struggle for her."

The lenient sentence extends into Scherman allowing Ermine to serve time concurrently - or at the same time - for her other offence of breach of undertaking and for her victim surcharge.

Scherman pointed to Ermine's remorse in her comments to the court.

Ermine tearfully said "I'm sorry for what I done, and I take full responsibility for it. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think of" Bear, adding that she's sorry for pain she's caused Bear's family, his 10-year-old son Jayce, and her own family.

She said she's sorry "for my daughter for losing a mom,” referring to the time she’ll be in prison.

Ermine said when Bear was dying she left because she knew paramedics wouldn't enter a home if she - the assailant - was still there, but "I should have stayed right by his side.

"I wish I could bring him back," she said while sobbing.

Outside court, Jayce's mother Shauna Munroe said she can't accept Ermine's apology because it took her two years to take responsibility for her actions. She was in court for all but one day of Ermine's trial.

Shauna Munroe outside Prince Albert Court of Queen's Bench. Photo by Chelsea Laskowski.

"I was here on behalf of my son to hear that justice would be served and that we could just move on with our lives and know that she won't be out there hurting anybody else anymore," she said.

Now with sentencing complete, Munroe said she, her partner, and Jayce are "just gonna move on. We're gonna do bigger things. Evan will always be there watching us."

After Ermine received her sentence, she exchanged tearful hugs with family members and that emotion spilled out into the court hallway.

Ermine's upset mother, Leona Bear, confronted a media member saying he had painted Evan out to be "an angel" and then yelled an expletives at Evan's mother, with Evan's mother yelling back. Darcy, Evan's brother, tried to calm the situation as the two women walked away from each other.

Outside court, he acknowledged those tensions but also said his family wasn't seeking a punitive sentence.

"Our family is of the belief of two wrongs don't make a right. So her going to jail doesn't bring Evan back. Her going to jail doesn't fix the problems, the issues, the root cause issues between the two of them that caused them to be violent with each other," Darcy said.

"If my brother loved her, we were open to loving her as well."

After sentencing, Ermine was escorted away in cuffs and ankle chains. She also faces a lifetime firearm ban and DNA order.

Last Updated on Friday, 19 May 2017 12:51
 
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