A sentencing hearing for the Alberta man found guilty of killing an Edmonton-area couple six years ago enters its second week on Monday.
Earlier this year, Travis Vader was convicted of two counts of manslaughter in the deaths of St. Albert couple Lyle and Marie McCann. The couple, in their late 70s, vanished on their way to a camping trip in British Columbia.
In the days after they vanished, their burned-out motorhome and a vehicle they had been towing were discovered in the woods near Edson. But their bodies have never been found.
Justice Denny Thomas determined that Vader, a desperate drug addict, came across the seniors in their RV and killed them during a robbery.
Defence lawyer Nathan Whitling is asking the court to stay Vader’s conviction or at least reduce his sentence — even to time served — because of mistreatment. An application before the court also claims RCMP prevented Vader from consulting with a lawyer when he was questioned about the McCanns.
Whitling has suggested a maximum sentence of four to six years, before credit, while the Crown is asking for a life term, but has not yet addressed parole eligibility.
Vader has also filed a lawsuit claiming mistreatment by guards.
Last week Vader testified at the manslaughter hearing and listed numerous allegations of abuse over the last six years. Vader said he was humiliated by strip searches, attacked by guards and subjected to horrendous living conditions while in custody.
On Sunday, Bret McCann, the son of Lyle and Marie McCann, called on the federal government to make changes to remove inoperative and unconstitutional sections of the Criminal Code.
The call for action comes after Vader was found guilty of second-degree murder in September, but was convicted under an outdated section of the Criminal Code.
The section of the Criminal Code Justice Denny Thomas cited to convict Vader of second-degree murder, Section 230, was found unconstitutional in 1990 by the Supreme Court.
“When an experienced, senior court judge like Justice Thomas can’t figure out what the law is because the Criminal Code is so clogged up and cluttered with obsolete sections, how is the average citizen supposed to know what the law really is?” McCann questioned.
“I think it is ludicrous that these booby traps are allowed to just exist in the Criminal Code. As far as I know, the last time any section of the code was removed or repealed, to correct errors like this, was decades ago in the 1980s.”
The conviction was later changed to manslaughter.
The sentencing hearing is expected to run until Dec. 23.
— With files from The Canadian Press and Caley Ramsay, Global News