Christopher Calvin Garnier’s sentencing hearing in May has been delayed for three weeks because the judge had a scheduling conflict.
Garnier, 30, stood trial last fall in Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Halifax on charges of second-degree murder in the Sept. 11, 2015, killing of an off-duty Truro police officer and interfering with her remains.
The Crown alleged the Halifax man lost control during a sexual encounter with Catherine Campbell, strangled her, stuffed her body into a green compost bin and dumped it in a wooded area near the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge, where it was discovered by police five days later.
Garnier testified that Campbell, 36, died accidentally during rough sex a few hours after they met at a Halifax bar. He insisted he had no memory of disposing of her body.
The jury deliberated for less than five hours before finding Garnier guilty Dec. 21 on both counts.
Justice Josh Arnold then sentenced Garnier to life in prison, the automatic penalty for second-degree murder, and ordered that he be taken into custody.
A hearing to determine how many years Garnier must serve before he’s eligible to apply for parole was scheduled for May 7 but was moved to May 28 during a short proceeding in Supreme Court on Wednesday.
Garnier appeared in court by video from the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Dartmouth.
At the May hearing, Arnold will also sentence Garnier on the charge of interfering with human remains, which carries a five-year maximum.
The judge will hear victim impact statements from Campbell’s family.
Garnier is appealing his convictions. A notice filed with the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal in January identified several grounds for the appeal, including a claim that Arnold’s final instructions to the jury were too complex.
“The (judge’s) charge to the jury was so complicated and convoluted that no ordinary juror would be able to understand it,” Garnier said in the notice of appeal, which was filed from jail.
The appeal also claims Garnier’s rights under Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms — which protects the life, liberty and security of a person — were violated and that the verdict was not “reasonably supported by the evidence.”
And Garnier said Arnold erred in ruling that his second statement to police was voluntary, and that the judge was wrong to not allow opinion evidence from a doctor on whether the statement was voluntary.
With The Canadian Press