Mar 25, 2015 - SATER TO GET FUNDING FOR HIS LEGAL APPEAL [Charlene Reaveley & Lorraine Cruz]

The man convicted of killing two Tri-Cities women while drunk behind the wheel will have legal representation during an appeal of his case. A BC Court of Appeal judge has ordered the appointment of a lawyer for Cory Sater's appeal of convictions for dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing bodily harm.

After a lengthy trial last spring, Sater was sentenced to a total of 7.5 years on seven charges related to the crash that killed Lorraine Cruz and Charlene Reaveley and seriously injured Cruz's boyfriend on the side of Lougheed Highway on Feb. 19, 2011. A month after his sentencing, Sater filed an appeal. According to court documents, the appeal focuses on the three dangerous-driving related convictions and contends the trial judge failed to properly apply the standard for dangerous driving set out in case law.

The documents also note "in essence, his position is that although he may have been driving negligently, the manner of his driving did not reach the level of being criminally dangerous. He also proposes to argue that impaired driving alone cannot establish liability for dangerous driving."

"In this case, I am satisfied that the grounds [he] intends to raise are at least arguable, that he requires the assistance of counsel to properly present those grounds of appeal, and that he does not have the means to privately retain counsel," Justice David Frankel wrote.

The Legal Services Society agreed to fund the sentencing appeal, but denied funding for the conviction appeal. So Sater applied for an order appointing counsel to represent him on the conviction appeal, which was granted.

The appeal decision notes such an appointment would require the provincial attorney general, if the Legal Services Society maintains its present position, to pay for the legal fees associated with that appeal.

According to the appeal documents, the Crown's position is that the dangerous-driving related convictions did not have an impact on the trial judge's decision to impose the five-year sentences and are unlikely to have an impact on the court's consideration of the fitness of those sentences.

"In effect, the Crown says the trial judge determined five years was a fit sentence for impaired driving causing two deaths and then imposed a concurrent sentence of the same length for the related, but less serious, dangerous driving causing death offences. This is further reflected in the three and one-half years concurrent sentences on the impaired driving and dangerous driving causing bodily harm charges," documents state.

"In that the Crown may rely on the dangerous-driving related convictions to support the sentences imposed on the impaired driving convictions, it cannot be said the former convictions are of no consequence," the judge wrote. "Mr. Sater's prospects of success on his sentence appeal may well be enhanced if the dangerous driving convictions are set aside."

Upon learning of Sater's appeal last spring, Reaveley's husband Dan said he wasn't surprised to hear he was appealing his conviction, but was confident in the court's decision. "That's the type of person he is," Reaveley told the Tri-Cities NOW at the time, adding he was hoping Sater would just do his time.

"The guy's kind of a loser. He doesn't have anybody else. He's all about himself."

During trial, Sater was found to have been drinking at a pub the night of the crash, downing as many as six double rye and cokes and two shots. He left to go home and get more money to continue drinking. He didn't have a driver's licence and was under court order, due to a 2010 assault conviction, not to consume alcohol.

Source: The Now News


Last updated on: 2016-10-10 | Link to this post