Daughters defend Edmonton extortionist at sentencing

The daughters of a man who masterminded a wave of violence against his former business associates in the Edmonton area tearfully begged a judge Thursday to let their father come home.

Defence asks for time served; Crown wants 15 years in prison

The daughters of a man who masterminded a wave of violence against his former business associates in the Edmonton area tearfully begged a judge Thursday to let their father come home.  

Jonathan David Meer was behind acts of violence and intimidation — including arson, telephone threats, Molotov cocktails and paintball-gun shootings — against four former business associates in 2007. He used his son and his son's friends as "foot soldiers" to carry out the violence.

Meer, 48, was convicted Dec. 3 on nine charges — two counts each of arson and extortion, four conspiracy offences and one count of obstruction of justice.

The married father of three, known as Dave, was a millionaire until money troubles and a string of lawsuits made him desperate, court has heard.

Meer's daughters took the witness stand at his sentencing hearing in an Edmonton court Thursday afternoon.

'Instilled good morals'

"I want to spend time with my dad again," said Krystal Meer, who is in her late teens. "It hurts. He's a loving father and a caring person. I still love him. The time that has been stolen from us can never be replaced."

Her sister, Ashley, 25, told the court, through tears, that her dad always thought highly of his kids and instilled in them good morals and values.

"My dad needs to come home," she said. "Please let him come home."

Meer held his face in his hands while he listened to his daughters, clearly emotional.

When it was his turn, Meer said tearfully, "I plead your honour to let me go home to my family."

Defence lawyer Ajay Juneja suggested Meer be let off with time served. If double credit were given for time spent in remand, Meer will have already served 5½ years in jail, he said. 

The proposal was met by gasps and nervous chuckles in the courtroom.

There's no indication Meer presents an ongoing threat to society or his victims, Juneja said.

Crown asks for 15 years

Earlier in the day, the Crown said Meer has shown no remorse and should serve 15 years in prison for the series of violent crimes.

Meer's motive was "greed and a bewildering sense of entitlement and hubris," said prosecutor Brian Holtby.

In their victim impact statements Thursday morning, his victims talked about living in fear.

"I have trouble sleeping," said Eileen Simpson, wife of Meer's former business colleague Ron Simpson. "My body is covered in hives. I have never cried … my tears have been dried up and taken away. [I keep] waiting for the Meers to strike again."

Meer torched the Simpsons' homes in Edmonton and Pigeon Lake in 2007. Simpson had lent Meer more than $1 million and filed a lawsuit to get the money back.

No apologies

Eileen Simpson called Meer a bully and a coward. 

"We have paid dearly to stand up to you," she said, glaring at Meer. "It needs to stop."

"We were business friends once," Ron Simpson said. "All of this wasn't necessary. I guess because we were the only ones to stand up to you, we paid the heaviest price."

Simpson said Meer has lost his business empire and that his 26-year-old son, Chris Meer, is a fugitive.

"Even today, you and your family blame others for your problems," Ron Simpson said to Meer. "There have been no apologies. Hopefully, you will survive your years in prison. Good luck."

Meer will be sentenced Jan. 26.