The Alberta Court of Appeal denied a request to extend the time period for an appeal from Thomas James Berube, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in Sept. 2022.
Berube pleaded guilty to nine charges of break and enter, arson and killing animals at businesses in Edson, Whitecourt and Niton Junction, including two fires that destroyed car dealerships.
Berube was 37-years-old when he, along with a 17-year-old (who cannot be named because of the Youth Criminal Justice Act), were arrested in March 2020.
In the decision, Justice Kevin Feehan found that Berube did not have “a reasonable chance of success if allowed to appeal.”
Since the request to extend time to appeal was dismissed, the court deemed his application for having counsel assigned unnecessary.
“The record indicates no miscarriage of justice, no unfairness, no appearance of unfairness and no valid grounds for setting aside his guilty pleas, nor does it indicate that Mr. Berube was in any way deprived of his capacity to decide what was in his own best interests,” the court’s decision reads.
“The record demonstrates that he was acting in a competent, rational and observably reasonable fashion in making those pleas.
“The interests of justice do not support an extension of time to file an appeal on which there is no reasonable prospect of success.”
The decision explained Berube didn’t file a notice of appeal within 30 days of the date his guilty pleas were accepted. Berube explained that was because he was placed into mental health segregation and later, “had zero access to the tools to file an appeal” because of quarantine protocols at the Bowden penitentiary.
The application was heard on Feb. 2, 2023 and decision filed on Feb. 7.
— With files from Sarah Ryan, Global News
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