Advertisement

Travis Vader manslaughter sentencing hearing enters 2nd week

Click to play video 'Travis Vader manslaughter sentencing enters 2nd week' Travis Vader manslaughter sentencing enters 2nd week
WATCH ABOVE: The manslaughter sentencing hearing for Travis Vader is entering its second week on Monday. Kendra Slugoski reports from the Edmonton law courts on Global News Morning.

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.

Lyle and Marie McCann are shown in an undated handout photo.
Lyle and Marie McCann are shown in an undated handout photo. Handout

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.

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: ‘Our loss is huge’: Bret McCann’s victim impact statement at Travis Vader sentencing hearing

Justice Denny Thomas determined that Vader, a desperate drug addict, came across the seniors in their RV and killed them during a robbery.

Travis Vader arrives at court in Edmonton in a March 8, 2016.
Travis Vader arrives at court in Edmonton in a March 8, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Amber Bracken

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.

READ MORE: The McCann murders and other cases without bodies

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.

Story continues below advertisement

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.

READ MORE: Travis Vader claims feces thrown at him in jail, wrist broken by guards while testifying at manslaughter hearing

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.

Bret McCann, flanked by his wife, Mary-Ann McCann, left, speaks to the media after giving a victim impact statement during the sentencing hearing for Travis Vader at the Edmonton Law Courts in Edmonton, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. Vader was convicted in the deaths of Bret’s parents, Lyle and Marie McCann, last seen alive in July 2010.
Bret McCann, flanked by his wife, Mary-Ann McCann, left, speaks to the media after giving a victim impact statement during the sentencing hearing for Travis Vader at the Edmonton Law Courts in Edmonton, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. Vader was convicted in the deaths of Bret’s parents, Lyle and Marie McCann, last seen alive in July 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Codie McLachlan

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.

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Bret McCann calls for changes to Criminal Code following Travis Vader verdict

“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.

READ MORE: Travis Vader verdict: what is Section 230 of the Criminal Code?

The sentencing hearing is expected to run until Dec. 23.

— With files from The Canadian Press and Caley Ramsay, Global News