One of the things that I have discovered during my time in Ottawa is how frequently any debate on crime related legislation often overlooks the devastating impact that serious crime has on the victims and their families. Recently many citizens have contacted me to express outrage that a man who committed a brutal and senseless act of unprovoked murder on a Kelowna City bus will again be free to roam the streets in just four and a half years. For the family of the victim, Caesar Rosales, this sentence is a slap in the face and an injustice to the memory of a loved one. What can citizens do? It is important for people to reach out to elected officials – in this case both MP’s and MLA’s to express outrage over this tragedy. Although our justice system is by design intended to be free of political interference, laws both in Victoria and Ottawa can be changed, something that our former Government in Ottawa tried frequently to do in the last Parliament.
As this was a decision in a BC Provincial Court, the Provincial Crown Prosecutor can appeal this sentence, the criteria is as follows:
1. the sentence imposed in the trial court is either illegal or unfit; and
2. (a) the proposed appeal involves a serious offence or relates to an offender who constitutes a serious threat to the community;
2. (b) the proposed appeal raises an important question of general application concerning the principles of sentencing; or
In this case I believe that there is adequate evidence that due to the serious and violent nature of this crime, both in terms of public safety and interest, that the Crown should appeal this decision immediately. In my view it is important to publicly speak out against these disturbing acts of random violence in the hopes that an appeal will be submitted. While the Criminal Code is put in place by the Federal Parliament, the administration of Justice is delegated to the provinces and I am hopeful that local MLAs will also denounce this act and support an appeal.
For more information on the Crown's policy to appeal:
As my summer listening tour is now underway I welcome the opportunity to meet with you. Please contact me directly at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll-free at 1-800-665-8711.
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament elect for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.