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Alberta man found guilty in death of Metis hunters appealing conviction, sentence

Jacob Sansom (left) and his uncle Maurice Cardinal are shown in a handout photo from the Facebook page "Justice for Jake and Morris."
Jacob Sansom (left) and his uncle Maurice Cardinal are shown in a handout photo from the Facebook page "Justice for Jake and Morris." . THE CANADIAN PRESS / handout - Facebook-Justice for Jake and Morris

Editors note: A previous version of this article stated Joseph Bilodeau was tried at the same time as his father Roger, when in fact it was Anthony. The Canadian Press has changed the article to reflect the error.

An Alberta man found guilty of manslaughter in the deaths of two Metis hunters is appealing his conviction and sentence.

Roger Bilodeau was convicted in May and sentenced to 10 years in prison for the deaths of Jacob Sansom and Maurice Cardinal, who were shot and killed on a rural Alberta road after a brief vehicle pursuit in March 2020.

Bilodeau’s son Anthony, who was tried at the same time as his father, was convicted of second-degree murder in Cardinal’s death and found guilty of manslaughter in Sansom’s death.

Read more: Alberta man found guilty in deaths of Métis hunters sentenced to 6 years

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Roger Bilodeau argues in his appeal that the trial judge failed to properly instruct the jury on party liability, particularly the underlying elements needed to prove common intention required in the Criminal Code.

In trial, prosecutors argued the elder Bilodeau took the law into his own hands when he asked his son to bring a gun while he chased the truck Sansom and Cardinal were driving.

The Crown argued that the father and son were angry because they thought the two hunters were trying to steal from them.

Joseph Bilodeau is expected to be sentenced later this year.

Click to play video: 'Two Alberta men found guilty in homicides of Métis hunters'
Two Alberta men found guilty in homicides of Métis hunters

The court heard that Sansom, 39, and Cardinal, 57, had been moose hunting near Glendon, Alta., in March 2020, so they could fill the family’s freezer with meat as COVID-19 was shutting down businesses.

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Justice Eric Macklin said that Sansom and Cardinal were not only providers for their families, but also the community at large by doing things such as giving food for families in need.

Read more: 2 Alberta men found guilty in deaths of Métis hunters

“Jacob Sansom and Maurice Cardinal were pillars of their community,” Macklin said last month at Roger Bilodeau’s sentencing last month.

“They were described as men who honoured Mother Earth and were knowledge keepers of their culture. No sentence can relieve the heartbreak, anger and hurt suffered by the victims’ families and friends.”

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