Crown appeals suspended sentence for two Halifax constables found guilty in 2016 inmate death

Click to play video: 'Halifax constables given suspended sentences and probation for 2016 inmate death' Halifax constables given suspended sentences and probation for 2016 inmate death
WATCH: The two Halifax police booking officers charged with criminal negligence causing death after an intoxicated man died in their care will not face any jail time, the courts ruled on Monday. Jesse Thomas has more. – Aug 17, 2020

The Crown has filed an appeal for the suspended sentences two Halifax constables received for their role in the jail cell death of Corey Rogers.

A jury found Daniel Fraser and Cheryl Gardner guilty of criminal negligence in November, 2019, for the 2016 death of Rogers, who was intoxicated while in their custody.

The Crown had asked for two-year prison sentences, while both defence lawyers had countered with suspended sentences with conditions.

Read more: Halifax constables given suspended sentences and probation for 2016 inmate death

On Aug. 17, both were handed suspended sentences with three years of probation.

Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Kevin Coady said in his decision that the goals of denunciation and general deterrence would be met without incarceration.

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Corey Rogers’ mother says Halifax police failed her son – Nov 7, 2019

Chris Vanderhooft, a Crown attorney brought in from Manitoba for the case, told Global News that an appeal was filed on Monday.

Vanderhooft says the Crown will argue that several errors were made, including that the judge was mistaken in “his consideration of denunciation and deterrence.”

The Crown will also argue that the judge overemphasized the officers’ “personal circumstances notwithstanding the focus on deterrence and denunciation required in sentencing for this offence.”

Read more: Mother calls for strict sentence in son’s 2016 death in Halifax jail cell

Last month, Vanderhooft said Rogers, who was an alcoholic, was vulnerable the night he died and was treated “in the worse way by the state.”

Hours before his death, Rogers was arrested outside a Halifax hospital where his wife had given birth to their child the day before.

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The arresting officers testified they placed the hood on Rogers’ face after he was spitting in the police car on the way to the station.

Rogers died of suffocation while lying in a cell with the spit hood covering his mouth as he appeared to be vomiting.

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Vanderhooft said on Wednesday that the Crown’s appeal will also argue that the sentencing judge wrongfully assessed and treated the “aggravating and mitigating factors.”

The appeal said the judge’s inaccurate consideration of relevant sentencing principles resulted in an unfit sentence.

Vanderhooft also said in an email that both Gardner and Fraser have filed appeals against conviction.

The Crown’s next appearance is scheduled for Sept. 23, and Vanderhooft says he expects the dates for the appeal hearing to be set at that time.

—  With files from The Canadian Press.

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