Canada’s high court upholds first-degree conviction against B.C. killer

The Crown appealed to B.C.’s high court after the trial judge ruled Sundman could not be convicted of first-degree murder because McLeod was no longer being held against his will when he was killed.

In his decision, concurred by the other eight Supreme Court of Canada judges, Justice Mahmud Jamal upholds Sundman’s first-degree conviction, writing that “even though (McLeod) was not physically restrained outside the truck, he continued to be coercively restrained through violence, fear, and intimidation.”

When a killing is not planned or deliberate, it becomes first-degree murder if committed at the same time as one of several “listed crimes of domination,” Jamal says.

“Parliament has treated murder committed in relation to these crimes of domination as especially serious and as warranting the exceptional punishment for first-degree murder,” the judgment says.

McLeod was still unlawfully confined when he was chased and shot, says Jamal.

“The unlawful confinement and the murder were close in time, and involved an ongoing course of domination. As a result, the accused’s first-degree murder conviction is justified,” he says.

Two other men convicted in the homicide were not involved in the high court appeal.

Sebastian Martin, who turned 40 this year, fired the shot that killed McLeod but the court ruled he was not involved in the victim’s unlawful confinement.

Sundman’s younger brother, Kurtis, was also sentenced in July 2018 to a prison term of just under eight years for manslaughter.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 21, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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