Crown appeals lack of jail time for special constables convicted in Halifax cell death
Dan Fraser and Cheryl Gardner sentenced last month in Corey Rogers case
The Crown is appealing the sentences handed two Halifax special constables who were convicted of criminal negligence causing death in the case of Corey Rogers.
A highly-intoxicated Rogers was brought into the cells at Halifax Regional Police headquarters on June 15, 2015. Arresting officers had placed a spit hood, a fabric mask that covers the lower half of a person's face, on him. The hood was left on when Rogers was dragged into a cell and left lying face-down on the floor.
Special constables Dan Fraser and Cheryl Gardner were working that night and were supposed to check on Rogers every 15 minutes.
But evidence at their jury trial in November 2019 showed the pair did not check on him and he died of asphyxiation when he vomited into the hood. It was hours before he was discovered dead in the cell.
At their sentencing last month, Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Kevin Coady said it was not necessary to send Fraser and Gardner to jail for their crimes.
The judge said the pair led "pro-social" lives and were unlikely to offend again.
In a notice of appeal filed this week, Crown prosecutor Christian Vanderhooft disagreed. He said Coady failed to properly consider the principle of denunciation and deterrence in his decision and overemphasized the personal circumstances of Fraser and Gardner. Both had presented evidence at sentencing about the toll the case had taken on them.
If the appeal is successful, Vanderhooft is asking the court to substitute a sentence of two years in prison for each constable.
Even before they were sentenced, Fraser and Gardner launched appeals of their convictions.