Whitehorse Daily Star

Pelly resident sentenced for manslaughter

A 32-year-old Pelly Crossing man has been sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison,

By Gord Fortin on October 5, 2018

A 32-year-old Pelly Crossing man has been sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison, with credit for 34 months served, and three years’ probation for manslaughter.

Chief Judge Peter Chisholm handed down the sentence and his reasons in Pelly Crossing on Tuesday.

Tristan Joe had pleaded guilty to manslaughter in relation to the death of 18-year-old Raine Andrew Silas, who died on Nov. 4, 2016.

Joe, originally charged with murder, agreed to plead guilty to manslaughter last March 8.

Chisholm explained that Joe was too intoxicated at the time of the offence to form the specific intent needed for murder.

“His actions led to the death of Mr. Silas, but fault for these actions was short of an intention to kill,” Chisholm said.

The judge went over some of the facts of the case.

Both men, who knew each other, were drinking with several others at a Pelly Crossing residence at 8 p.m. on Nov. 3, 2016.

An argument erupted between the pair, and they were told to go outside. They left the residence and had a brief physical confrontation.

Joe grabbed a piece of lumber and swung it at Silas, striking him near his left temple.

Silas’ aunt intervened and took him to the Pelly Crossing Health Centre. He was bleeding heavily. Joe left the residence afterward.

Silas received stitches on his left cheek, and a lump was observed forming on his left temple. He was reported as intoxicated but conscious and alert.

Silas left the health centre at 8:45 p.m. and was taken to his grandparents’ home. Family monitored him throughout the night, last checking on him at 4 a.m. the next day. He was sleeping.

At 11:30 a.m., the family found him unresponsive and called for help. Medical responders tried to revive Silas but could not. At 12:17 p.m., he was pronounced dead.

Joe provided a statement to the RCMP on Nov. 5, 2016. An autopsy was performed on Silas four days later in Vancouver. The results showed he’d died of a head injury caused by blunt force.

Joe was arrested on Nov. 14, 2016 and brought to Whitehorse, where he gave another statement to police. He said he’d injured Silas but did not remember using a weapon, specifically the piece of lumber.

Joe did not deny that he used it, but clarified he had no memory. He also recorded an apology to Silas’ family.

Moving to sentencing, Chisholm explained the Crown was seeking six to eight years in prison. The Crown argued that Joe sought a weapon and used it in a way that was likely to cause serious injury.

The Crown pointed out that Joe had been on probation during the incident with Silas. His conduct that night was in violation of two conditions: keeping the peace and being outside of his residence while intoxicated.

The defence argued for a 3 1/2-year sentence because of Joe’s guilty plea, display of remorse and his steps toward rehabilitation.

Chisholm next addressed the victim impact statements. He said he could clearly see Silas’ death had had an impact in the community.

“Mr. Silas was a young man whose potential won’t be realized,” he said.

Chisholm pointed out that information in the victim impact statements mentions that a senseless act of violence had divided the community.

There is nothing he could do as a judge to undo the effects of Silas’ death, he noted.

Chisholm next addressed Joe’s circumstances. Joe is a member of the Selkirk First Nation with a history of residential schools in his family.

Joe described his childhood as chaotic, unstable and abusive. His father was absent and his mother suffers from pre-natal alcohol exposure.

Joe said he was bullied in school.

That said, he reports that he had some positive support in his live. He was able to learn traditional life skills.

In Grade 9, Joe described being apprehended and moved to a school in Regina, where he remained until Grade 12.

He felt he had lost some of his culture as a result, causing him to get into drugs and alcohol. He approached his guidance counsellor, expressing a desire to return to the Yukon.

Chisholm mentioned that Joe has had both success and challenges during his time in custody. He has completed some upgrading through Yukon College, but has had conflicts with both inmates and correctional staff.

Joe has met with a psychologist since January 2018. He is reportedly exploring his issues with shame and regret over his actions in an effort to change his life.

Chisholm explained there is a wide range for manslaughter sentencing. He said Joe has a history of violence, citing an assault causing bodily harm conviction in 2013.

He considered it aggravating that a 30-year-old man would agree to fight an 18-year-old. He felt the guilty plea, expression of remorse and steps taken for rehabilitation were mitigating.

The judge said striking someone on the head with a piece of lumber was both dangerous and violent, but explained it was impulsive and opportunistic.

With that, he sentenced Joe to 4 1/2 years in prison with credit for 34 months time already served.

The offender’s three-year probation, which will include several conditions, will begin once he is released.

He must keep the peace, appear before the court, report to a probation supervisor upon release, stay in the Yukon and make reasonable efforts to get a job.

During the probation’s first 12 months, he will have to abide by a curfew and cannot consume alcohol. He will have to be in his residence or on his property between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Joe will be subject to a 10-year weapon prohibition, and must submit a DNA sample for a national database. He must have no contact with anyone who submitted a victim impact statement.

Chisholm imposed a $200 victim fine surcharge payable forthwith.

Joe will also have to complete 100 hours’ community service before his probation ends.

Comments (13)

Up 1 Down 0

My Opinion on Oct 11, 2018 at 8:26 pm

Please, People of Pelly. Stand up for Justice and demand that the Courts don't turn murderers loose in your communities. It is the people that ultimately pay as we have seen in Watson recently.

Up 7 Down 0

Josey Wales on Oct 11, 2018 at 6:51 am

Hey Dono...yes it is shameful when one ponders that angle alone.
Even more shameful when put in this perspective....
At the War Eagle site, our dump here in Whitehorse...charges $150 a tonne to “allow” you to dispose of your garbage.
Either the CoW values garbage as gold bars, or the courts hold little value for some human life....or both?

Actually after reading what I just pecked out, the ridiculous comparison of a victim fine to a tonne of waste for proofreading prior to submission?
It sounds absolutely reprehensible, not my “word salad”, “bloviating”, “rant of hate” ....but that victim fine.

Why not just rename that funding venue from victim fines to say....a BOLE fund?
Want more lunacy in our courts folks?
You know the drill....keep voting team red and lunacy you will get.

Up 9 Down 0

Doug Ryder on Oct 11, 2018 at 2:32 am

@ Dono - All Justice is a sham. He is not going to pay $200. LOL!
He is going serve time in lieu of concurrently. It happens all the time.

These guys do not pay anything. It is merely a paper trail of smoke and mirrors.
You probably believe he is going to serve 4 years and 8 months in jail. Heck - with all the remand credit he’ll get he is probably looking at a Human Rights claim and a pay check for being over or unjustly incarcerated... SMH - Pay $200 - LMAO, ROFL...

Up 17 Down 1

Dono on Oct 10, 2018 at 8:53 am

"Chisholm imposed a $200 victim fine surcharge payable forthwith."
So the value of this young mans life is only worth $200 to the court. Pathetic

Up 20 Down 0

Doug Ryder on Oct 7, 2018 at 9:59 pm

@ Josey Wales - You have some great points and I do enjoy your witticisms - They are usually on target.

The apparent difficulty with the Yukon Judiciary is that they are quite frankly, unapologetically biased. They have succumbed to a Pretextual narrative that is redolent with the stink of prejudicial thinking.

Unfortunately, this is true for both Crown and Defence counsel. Thus we have cookie-cutter narratives involving Gladue and other soft on crime approaches that really exacerbate the problem they say they are trying to fix.

You are correct Josey - We need a fix. Justice should be colour blind. Justice should not be fixed.

Up 21 Down 4

Josey Wales on Oct 6, 2018 at 6:36 pm

Correction folks....Tori is the proper spelling of a young girl I referred to.
Getting her name correct is important, as was her opportunity to grow old.
Sadly that was not terribly important to Terri-Lynne McClintic , nor our courts.
A very recently convicted child killer, and alleged cultural elitist, getting...eased into a healing lodge?
Cannot even make this nonesense up, nor does one need to.
As it is omnipresent, especially up here.

Up 19 Down 1

Groucho d'North on Oct 6, 2018 at 3:30 pm

One can't help but wonder why a growing number of the Canadian public are developing opinions about right and wrong or good and bad, from government actions that appear to be exclusively based on ancestry and the cultures of old. So who are the real racists?
Point this out and you're likely to be called a racist or some similar derogatory word delivered in a knee-jerk reaction intended to shut down further discussion. Civilization is not static, we must work to nurture it every day. Speaking the unadorned truth is a good first step.

Up 13 Down 5

Josey Wales on Oct 6, 2018 at 2:01 pm

...sorta related but not, the other day we had a march in town from M division to that “healing” totem...did we not?
Wonder if that group did a stroll by the law courts building?
If not, I would say a very, very important opportunity was missed.

Actually why even go to M, use the Law Courts as your political target.
If you are tired of crime and violence regardless of ones ethnicity, stop voting Liberal. Really is that simple, just stop.
Decades of hug a thug Liberal policies, abhorrent and reprehensible racist Liberal enabling legislation...and more coming in real time.
I hold the opinion based on body count, turnstile bushings worn to dust, that the suggestions above are contributing greatly to missing and murdered PEOPLE.
...after all it is the current year, and people, apparently says mr.dressup...is thee word.
Less decisive and more inclusive.
“ just a little ironic, don’t ya think....”

Up 22 Down 6

Josey Wales on Oct 5, 2018 at 11:45 pm

Hmmm....yet more tangible effects of B.O.L.E.
My ranting aside, courts hold little value on human life....clearly.
So folks act accordingly, like nobody has your six...nobody.
What do ya gotta do to get double digit time up here, throw bacon at a mosque, cut down a totem....misgender a SJW?
He will be in a healing lodge for cultural supremacists, playing video games in 6 moons.
Just like little Tory Stafford’s killer currently is..at culture camp
Our entire justice and country resembles a bad parody....eh?

Up 22 Down 2

Doug Ryder on Oct 5, 2018 at 10:00 pm

Cited: Citation: R. v. Joe, 2018 YKTC 38 Date: 20181002 Docket: 16-00547A Registry: Whitehorse Heard: Pelly Crossing

Retrieved from:


[2] The guilty plea to manslaughter results from the fact that Mr. Joe was so intoxicated at the time of the offence that he was unable to form the specific intent required to be found guilty of the offence of murder. In other words, his actions led to the death of Mr. Silas, but his fault for these actions was short of an intention to kill (see R. v. Creighton, [1993] 3 S.C.R. 3 at para 72).

[6] The Crown also points out that Mr. Joe was bound by a Probation Order at the time of the offence and was in contravention of two conditions on November 3, 2016, namely, 1) to keep the peace and 2) to not be outside of his residence when under the influence of alcohol.

[58] As I must, of course, consider the particular circumstances of Aboriginal offenders, I take into account the Gladue factors that are present with respect to Mr. Joe and consider his personal circumstances in assessing his moral blameworthiness.

LOL: More probation for someone who committed homicide while on probation for a previous offence while in violation of that probation order.

Was he Gladued in his previous sentencing to? Has he been before the courts for intoxicated violence before? Does this not aggravate his current offence - he has already been given multiple opportunities to change his ways. What evidenced-base programming is he going to receive if he returns to Pelly Crossing?

He had the ability of forethought to know he needed a weapon to fight his younger opponent but did not have the ability to form the intent to commit murder - BS!

It is absolutely dangerous out there people - No real consequences for violent behaviour. 3 years of probation - pfft... They do not watch these people - Everyone knows that the POs do not even know where the probationers are living and no one is doing curfew checks. Good luck out there folks - You on your own as the Yukon continues the Purge with a thumbs up from the bench!

Up 25 Down 2

Ilove Parks on Oct 5, 2018 at 8:37 pm

This gladforyou sentence essentially means that you can get minimal time for murder in Yukon.

I wish this outlier view of sentencing would go away. The justice system should be modernized in some many ways. To find someone guilty and then use sketchy excuses to not apply justice is is a fad which should disappear.

Will we soon see gladforyou for vehicular homicide due to drinking?

Up 40 Down 2

Disgusted on Oct 5, 2018 at 4:34 pm

Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting. I guess lives don’t matter anymore. And they wonder why murder rates are high in the Yukon.

Up 33 Down 3

Juniper Jackson on Oct 5, 2018 at 4:25 pm

At one time being drunk was not an excuse for murdering someone.. not an excuse to get behind the wheel, not an excuse to shoplift... seems to cover everything now though.

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