Whitehorse Daily Star

Offender sees sentencing put off two months

The sentencing hearing for a 47-year-old Carcross man has been adjourned to a later date, but he has been taken into custody.

By Gord Fortin on October 9, 2018

The sentencing hearing for a 47-year-old Carcross man has been adjourned to a later date, but he has been taken into custody.

Melvin Joseph Harper appeared in territorial court before Judge Michael Cozens last Friday in Whitehorse.

On July 30, Harper was convicted of breaking and entering a residence for the purpose of sexually assaulting the occupant. He appeared in court by phone, as he was in Slave Lake, Alta., caring for his sick mother at the time.

At an Aug. 22 hearing, Cozens declined to revoke Harper’s bail, as the latter was still in Alberta caring for his mother.

Cozens ordered him to be back in the territory and report to his bail supervisor by 4 p.m. Sept. 27.

The judge hoped this would give him time to settle his affairs ahead of the sentencing hearing scheduled for last Friday.

The offence dates back to Dec. 6, 2016 in Carcross.

The complainant testified that, after drinking with Harper and a friend earlier that day, Harper returned to her home and sexually assaulted her while she was sleeping.

Harper testified that he did not return to the complainant’s residence that night. He and his then-common-law spouse testified that he remained at his home for the rest of that day.

Harper’s lawyer, Norah Mooney, asked that the sentencing hearing be adjourned.

She asked for the adjournment because she had learned of serious Gladue factors during a phone appointment the day before the hearing.

She said Harper has a deficit in his education and has cognitive issues she did not have knowledge of. She did not provide further details.

Mooney added that Harper’s bail supervisor is also concerned about these factors and feels they need to be brought before the court.

She apologized to the judge and Crown prosecutor Jean-Benoit Deschamps for the late notice.

She told the judge that Harper has complied with his order, returning to the territory on Sept. 25.

His mother’s condition has stabilized and he understands he cannot leave the Yukon.

She said Harper currently does not have a job, and has six children and multiple grandchildren.

Deschamps said the Crown was opposed to the adjournment. He added that after the July 30 conviction, Harper did not make himself available so a Gladue report and a pre-sentence report could be compiled.

The Crown prosecutor said a lot of preparation goes into these reports. He added that the victim has to prepare to read his or her victim impact statement during the sentencing hearing. He felt Harper needs to be held accountable.

Deschamps suggested that if the adjournment is granted, Harper should be taken into custody.

“That would be in the best interest of justice,” the Crown said.

He added Harper could be facing a fairly lengthy sentence.

Cozens agreed that if he were to grant the adjournment, there was no reason why Harper could not go into custody after the hearing.

This would ensure that Harper meets all his appointments and obligations for sentencing, the judge said.

He asked himself how he can meet his requirements that Gladue factors are given proper weight in court despite the fact that Harper did not make himself available. He clarified that Harper misunderstood his obligations when he was in Alberta.

Cozens asked Mooney and Harper if they were aware he could be going into custody after the proceeding. Harper said he was.

The judge offered the complainant a chance to read her victim impact statement that day.

Deschamps asked for a brief recess to consider that. In the end, she decided to wait until the rescheduled sentencing hearing.

Cozens offered a compromise. He agreed to grant the adjournment but ordered Harper taken into custody immediately.

All parties agreed to reschedule the sentencing hearing to Dec. 11.

Cozens ordered that both the pre-sentence report and the Gladue report be complete and ready for that date.

Harper is also facing an impaired driving charge, which will be spoken to on Nov. 27 in Carcross.

Comments (13)

Up 0 Down 0

Doug Ryder on Oct 16, 2018 at 7:17 pm

In response to Ilove Parks - Caucasians have “white privilege”. This is why the playing field is bring evened out with Gladue... White privilege!

Up 1 Down 0

Ilove Parks on Oct 16, 2018 at 4:49 pm

If someone I like commits a serious criminal act I want a Gladue or Gladforyou assessment so the judicial system can lighten the punishment.
If a friend had a tough childhood or was not good in school he or she should be treated like a child and coddled by the learned judges.

It's only fair that all people have the same oversight.

Up 0 Down 0

Doug Ryder on Oct 15, 2018 at 8:28 pm

@ My Opinion - I get it. You want to save “them” from “them”. That was an objective of the Indian Act - Tame the savages. Assimilate the savages and colonize their lands. Turn them into Twinkie’s - Brown on the outside, white on the inside?

What does your Caucasian Pride hat look like?
Your intention from your perspective may be noble. However, from another vantage point, racist and culturally inappropriate.
Your faux indignance is amusing... SJW?!?! Is that not the same behaviour you are engaging in?!?! I just want to save them from them?

Up 3 Down 2

My Opinion on Oct 14, 2018 at 8:18 pm

@Doug Ryder

It is not "Us" that I am trying to protect. It is Them from Them.
You are such a Liberal SJW you just don't get it. Hug a Thug.

Up 3 Down 8

Doug Ryder on Oct 13, 2018 at 11:43 pm

In response to Can’t Win: The First Nations have demanded justice - Hence the Gladue Report. No non-Native person could ever understand the violence and oppression of a White, Eurocentric, Western Ideology whose stated and codified intention was to “kill the Indian in the child”, by whatever means possible.

The Caucasian Invasion has meted out great pain and suffering and has offered little or no meaningful reparations to Indigenous peoples. The sickness brought by the Colonial-Assimilationist forces of the Caucasian Invasion have had catastrophic impacts on Indigenous persons globally. These resulting issues remain alive and well today in our remote Northern communities.

This collective trauma that is often ignored or not even considered impacts people in different ways. Some people tend to be drawn within and may become passive, depressed, hopeless or worthless and may rarely feel a spark of life... Joy rarely, if ever. This tends to be an amotivational state for many.

So, forgive them if they do not live up to your expectations, meet with your sense of normalcy, or your way of being and knowing.

Up 9 Down 3

Can't Win on Oct 12, 2018 at 4:05 pm

"WHY are the First Nations not demanding justice"??? Isn't it a First Nations drive for the Gladue reports in the first place? Why would they be demanding justice when it is their people gaining the leniency from these reports in the white man system like they want?

Up 7 Down 2

Jeffrey White on Oct 12, 2018 at 3:52 pm

What also happens in these cases is the judges or magistrates get a chance to freewheel and be really inventive which they love. Something happens to some of them when they don those robes. They suddenly believe that they are a little closer to the divine clouds than the average bloke. This even happens to some at the JP level as I have witnessed a regular level headed person somehow become glorified with their head in the cloud where it never used to be. ie: While walking at lunchtime it looked for certain that we were no going to finish at the turn of the hour. I asked what happens if your late getting back? The proudly delivered answer,"They wait."
This also happens to the odd Dr with one well known case here for years.

Up 8 Down 2

My Opinion on Oct 11, 2018 at 9:36 pm

So after seeing the results of the Watson Lake Murder and the Pelly Murder I realized we need the same kind of Justice. Right. What is happening to our world and WHY are the First Nations not demanding justice. Want to know what happened to your MMIWAGs????? We need another election and BAD.

"She asked for the adjournment because she had learned of serious Gladue factors during a phone appointment the day before the hearing."
"She said Harper has a deficit in his education and has cognitive issues she did not have knowledge of. She did not provide further details."

Up 10 Down 3

Doug Ryder on Oct 11, 2018 at 11:38 am

A Pre-Sentence Report and a Gladue Report - What a waste of resources. The irony here is that neither one of them are needed as the Precontextual narrative used by the Courts requires simply the name of the offender and whether or not the offender is Aboriginal or, self-identifies as Aboriginal.
The fraud that is being hefted onto society in the name of access to justice is absolutely mind-blowing. But then... So are the judgments coming out of the Yukon Courts.
A Gladue Report is a Pre-Sentence Report often written by semi-literate, training adverse, under-educated, low-skilled writers. Pre-Sentence Reports are also Gladue Reports often written by semi-literate, training adverse, under-educated, low-skilled writers. What one or the other report will be is a matter judicial creativity.
Such little effort is put into these documents as many of the writers know that the Court has a narrative and will simply use the the two reports against each other to fit that narrative. You can Google this. It is really quite disgusting what is being done in the name of justice.

Up 13 Down 3

Eye Roll on Oct 11, 2018 at 9:25 am

Hopefully he's not earning the typical time-and-a-half for time served while he's delaying his trial.

Up 11 Down 1

Josey Wales on Oct 11, 2018 at 6:22 am

Hey yukoner ...indeed that is true.
We have had decades of liberal policies that created government sanctioned breeding grounds all over this once great country, where folks on your dime can multiply, poison themselves....developing fetuses, steal, rob, stab, shoot and yes even rape and sexual assault. Held to a far lower account legally speaking....B.O.L.E. Wash, lather, rinse and repeat.

Even better, is how we folks with mere lesser DNA not only fund it all, but are allegedly responsible for all the dysfunction too.
I would have enjoyed a happier ending, like that of a shot dead predating intruder.
How about the actual victim, how outta our way are we going to help the actual victim Vs. this useless POS?

Up 27 Down 1

Yukoner on Oct 10, 2018 at 7:54 am

"Harper currently does not have a job, and has six children and multiple grandchildren."

The really scary thing is that people like this guy are populating the world at a pace far greater than the average person who takes responsibility for their actions.

Up 24 Down 2

Ilove Parks on Oct 9, 2018 at 5:20 pm

Some who breaks into houses with the intent to assault inoccent people has serious issues.

By all means help him but protect innocent people so it does not happen again.

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