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Crown seeking up to two years less a day for Pompeo
A jail sentence in the range of 18 months to two years less a day is appropriate for Const. David Pompeo, Crown Prosecutor Carmen Rogers submitted Thursday in Duncan Provincial Court.
A scheduled two-day sentencing hearing opened with Rogers presenting her arguments on sentencing for Pompeo to Judge Josiah Wood. Due to the enormous volume of material, it was unlikely Wood would make a decision by the end of the day Friday.
Pompeo was convicted on Valentine's Day this year of aggravated assault for shooting Bill Gillespie in September of 2009, but has yet to be sentenced as those proceedings reached the 8 1/2-month mark on Halloween.
"Aggravated assault by its nature is a very grave offense,'' Rogers stressed to Wood.
Rogers and defence lawyer Ravi Hira both submitted piles of documents to the court before the proceedings began. Rogers outlined her position first, with Hira to follow.
Rogers also submitted Gillespie's victim impact statement for consideration. She said the ordeal has been significant to Gillespie physically (with the bullet still lodged in him), emotionally and financially.
"This is obviously an extremely difficult case,'' said Rogers in her opening statement.
She said Pompeo has many mitigating factors put before the court, but those must be balanced with the law. Together with case law, Rogers said it sets a general range of sentencing for aggravated assault.
"One of the main issues on sorting all this out you're going to have to determine is what to make of the Crown submission that this is a breach of trust case against my friend's submission that this is not a breach of trust case,'' Rogers told Wood.
"Police officers are in a position of trust by virtue of their positions as police officers.'' she said.
"We expect they will act in a way we believe is correct, but we expect they will act in a way that is objectionably reasonable.''
Rogers said Pompeo failed in that regard.
Wood said the case "is one which I have struggling with what to do for a very long time.''
The use of force training that Pompeo cited in his previous testimony made him fearful for his own life based on triggers he saw from Gillespie, along with evidence from experts called by the defence, is one of the central points being argued.
"That is a matter I need to take into account,'' said Wood. "I am troubled by the use of force training.
"There may be something wrong with the use of force training that may have affected moral culpability.
"It is not the first case where an unarmed man has been shot by the police. I need to address that in my reasons, I think, because I am troubled by that.''
"I don't think this is something this case will be able to address,'' responded Rogers.
Wood said he was most concerned with the part of Pompeo's training that led him to fire the shot.
Rogers said mistakes were made earlier that didn't make the shooting justified.
"After making several mistakes, I don't think you can go backwards and say at this point, he was following his training,'' she said. "At that last moment, you can't look at it in isolation.''
Rogers didn't deny there are troubling aspects to the outcome.
"It comes into what's on his mind at that moment,'' she said. "The objective reality is he didn't do what he needed to do.''
Rogers cited numerous cases in law relating to police officers and pinpointed details she felt were pertinent in Pompeo's situation. She also suggested police should be held to a higher standard and sentences "must be greater in order to protect the public.''