An appeal has been dismissed for convicted killer Dustin Paul, who shot five men on the Penticton Indian Band reserve in 2004.
Paul was found guilty by a 12-member jury of three second-degree murder charges in the deaths of Robin Baptiste, Damien Endreny and his cousin Quincy Paul. He admitted shooting them on Oct. 30, 2004 at a popular party spot on the Penticton Indian Band reserve.
Paul was also found guilty of the attempted murder of Tommy Lee Gabriel and Billy Louie, who suffered serious wounds in the shooting which happened after the men, including Paul, had consumed large amounts of cocaine, marijuana and alcohol.
Counsel for Paul argued trial judge, Justice Duncan Shaw, did not satisfactorily explain to the jury the mental capacity required for criminal responsibility.
In the appeal court decision made on Friday, Paul’s counsel noted he experienced a “temporary psychotic break” brought on by the ingestion of alcohol and drugs, and the judge erred in not putting the defence of not criminally responsible by reason of mental disorder to the jury. Counsel said Paul interpreted a hallucination to mean that it was time that he “woke up” by dying and going to a better place.
“He understood that he would not have to be in the better place alone, and for that reason shot the five men to take them to that better place with him. On this appeal, counsel for the defence submits that the evidence in this case takes the appellant into an unsettled area of criminal responsibility,” states the decision.
The appeal court found that disease of the mind excludes self-induced states caused by alcohol or drugs. The court concluded that Paul’s condition was self-induced and he knew he was trying to kill people.
The second complaint arose over the concepts of intent and motive. At trial Paul testified he heard voices telling him to go to a better place to be awakened. Paul said he did not want to go alone and the voice told him he would be able to “wake up with all these people.” Using a Supreme Court of Canada decision, it was explained motive is no part of the crime and is legally irrelevant to criminal responsibility.
Appeal court judges also rejected the grounds of appeal on arguments brought forward by Paul’s counsel suggesting the trial judge made an error in telling the jury a new trial would be ordered in the event they were not able to agree on a verdict, that the trial judge made an error in giving the jury inadequate instructions on the need to consider each count individually, and that the trail judge erred in failing to tell the jury that they might find Paul guilty on the lesser included offences if they could not agree on a verdict on the full charge.
In April of 2007, Paul was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 16 years.