While prison sentences for manslaughter range between four and 12 years, Moose Javian Jeffrey Glenn McCaig could spend about a decade in jail if a judge accepts a Crown-defence recommendation.
In Court of Queen’s Bench on Aug. 16, the Crown and defence presented a joint submission to the Hon. Madam Justice J.C.L. Dawson suggesting that McCaig, 32, be given nine years for stabbing to death Kevin Hallock in 2019.
Dawson had declared McCaig guilty of manslaughter several months ago, so the August court session allowed the Crown and defence to make sentencing submissions.
Dawson heard that nine years equates to 3,285 days. However, since McCaig had already spent 1,010 days on remand, based on court credit for those days, his remand time would equal 1,515 days. This would leave 1,770 days to serve in jail, or about 4.8 years.
The judge will provide her decision on Thursday, Aug. 25, at 10:30 a.m. at Court of Queen’s Bench.
This was a complicated case, which is one reason both parties agreed to a joint submission to help make Dawson’s decision-making easier, said Crown prosecutor Rob Parker. Four to 12 years is the range for manslaughter in Saskatchewan, while the Crown and defence relied upon a previous manslaughter decision from Dawson for this recommendation.
However, there are major differences between that previous case and this situation, he continued.
In the former situation, the woman had no criminal convictions, she stabbed her victim once, and it was a single isolated incident.
Conversely, McCaig had 82 prior criminal charges, stabbed Hallock 17 times in an “extremely violent” and “horrific attack,” and experienced years of mental illness that worsened after he quit his medications.
Since Dawson gave the woman six years in jail, McCaig should receive nine years since he possessed “a high degree of culpability,” added Parker.
“Protection of the public is paramount. The sentence (for McCaig) needs to be long enough to have a rehabilitative effect,” the Crown prosecutor said, noting McCaig should have a firm grasp on maintaining his psychological health upon release for public safety.
The Crown added that McCaig must provide a DNA sample and be prohibited for life from owning firearms.
One reason both parties agreed to the joint submission is that a review of similar manslaughter cases involving delusions or mental illnesses brought both sides closer, said defence lawyer Dave Andrews.
Andrews was satisfied that McCaig understood the situation because he agreed to the nine years, less remand time. McCaig had hoped for less time in jail because of the pandemic’s effects, but the nine-year suggestion was the best either side could support.
Andrews has handled several manslaughter cases and noted nothing can ever be done to undo those incidents. While no victim impact statements were submitted on Hallock’s behalf, the defence lawyer doubted any sentence length would satisfy the man’s friends and family.
Quoting an Ontario judge’s decision from a past manslaughter case, Andrews said, “One cannot put a price, in dollars or in years of incarceration, on a life lost or significantly impaired.”
Other case law speaks to the “moral blameworthiness” of McCaig, while there are several aggravating factors that contribute to the suggested sentence, he continued. Meanwhile, this case is somewhat unusual because the trial showed McCaig did not intend to murder Hallock and he took responsibility for his actions.
McCaig understands that he needs to stay on his medication — he has been taking them while on remand and has been doing better — for the long-term, said Andrews. His one request is that he be allowed to serve part of his sentence in a regional psychiatric centre.
Andrews added that the proposed nine years is reasonable and a “fair disposition.”
“I’m deeply sorry for what I’ve done,” McCaig told Justice Dawson from the prisoner’s box, adding he plans to stay on his medication and re-acquire custody of one of his four children upon release.