Nova Scotia

Crown may appeal MacRae sentence

The Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service may appeal the sentence handed last week to the Halifax man who killed his wife, CBC News has learned.
Jason MacRae, seen here at a previous court appearance, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last Wednesday. (CBC)

The Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service may appeal the sentence handed last week to the Halifax man who killed his wife, CBC News has learned.

Jason MacRae, 37, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for killing his wife, Paula Gallant, and was sentenced last Wednesday to life in prison with no hope for parole for 15 years.

The Crown is "actively considering" an appeal of the sentence, prosecution service spokeswoman Chris Hansen said Monday.

They are studying the decision to see if there are grounds for an appeal, she said. In order to be successful, the Crown would have to prove that the sentencing judge erred in law.

The Crown has 30 days from the sentencing date to file an appeal.

At the sentencing, Crown attorney Denise Smith asked that MacRae serve a minimum of 20 years before being eligible for parole. Outside court, she called the sentence "disappointing."

Defence lawyer Michael Taylor said he would be surprised if the Crown does appeal MacRae's sentence because it was appropriate and well within the range of sentences handed out in similar cases.

In December 2005, Gallant — a 36-year-old teacher and mother of a baby — disappeared. Her body was later found in the trunk of her car, which was in the parking lot of the Beechville-Lakeside-Timberlea Elementary School — where she taught Grade 3.

According to an agreed statement of facts read in court last week, MacRae and Gallant were in their basement on Dec. 27, 2005, arguing about a debt on MacRae's VISA card for online gambling.

MacRae grabbed a piece of two-by-four wood and struck his wife on the back of her head. She got up, faced him and said, "What are you doing? Stop."

He strangled her with both hands. Then he wrapped her head and face in Saran Wrap for 20 minutes to make sure she was dead.

MacRae then dragged her body out of a basement window, and placed it in the trunk of her car.

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