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

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: the warm sun is sticking around

Environement Canada forcasts sun, no clouds for Wednesday

South Okanagan-Kootenay MP calls federal budget ‘not bold enough’

Richard Cannings, MP for South OK and Kootenay communities says budget missed the mark

Penticton council grants funding for operations, utilities to Okanagan School of the Arts

The organization is facing financial difficulties amidst “reinventing its mission”

Recycling 101: what to put in and what to leave out

Penticton program to educate apartment dwellers on the do’s and don’ts of recycling

From celebrity weddings to Burning Man: artist brings his unique exhibition to Penticton

Bentley Meeker, international light artist, has been commissioned by Robert De Niro and Billy Joel

The UBC Innovation Library has helped over 1,100 students since opening in 2015

Students across B.C. can access their academic resources at the UBC Innovation Library

Facebook to overhaul ad targeting to prevent discrimination

The company is also paying about $5 million to cover plaintiffs’ legal fees and other costs

B.C. mosque part of open-house effort launched in wake of New Zealand shootings

The ‘Visit a Mosque’ campaign aims to combat Islamophobia

‘That’s a load of crap’: Dog poop conspiracy spreads in White Rock

Allegation picked up steam through a Facebook page run by a city councillor

Explosives unit brought in after suspicious boxes left at B.C. RCMP detachment

Nanaimo RCMP issues all clear after packages were found on lawn earlier in the day

TKI Construction looks forward to being part of Rutland

The company is renovating the old AG Outdoor Superstore

2019 BUDGET: As deficit grows, feds spend on job retraining, home incentives

Stronger economy last year delivered unexpected revenue bump of an extra $27.8 billion over six years

Newfoundland man caught after posting photo of himself drinking and driving

The 19-year-old took a photo of himself holding a beer bottle and cigarette while at the wheel

Carfentanil found in 15% of overdose deaths in January: B.C. coroner

Carfentanil is 100 times more powerful than illicit fentanyl and used to tranquilize elephants

Most Read