Defence, Crown both appeal Halifax attempted murder case
UPDATED 4:12 p.m. Friday
Neither side is satisfied with the outcome of a Halifax man’s recent trial in Nova Scotia Supreme Court for attempted murder.
Cordell Alvin Pyke, 25, and the Crown have both filed appeals in the case.
Pyke doesn’t think he should have been convicted and says the jury’s January guilty verdict was “unreasonable and not supported by the evidence.”
Lawyer Luke Craggs wants the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal to set aside the conviction and either acquit Pyke or order a new trial.
The Crown, meanwhile, takes issue with Justice Felix Cacchione’s sentence, which was even lighter than Pyke’s lawyer had recommended.
Cacchione, who said he couldn’t help but feel “a sense of unease” at the verdict, gave Pyke 38 months in prison on top of his remand credit of 22 months, for a global sentence of five years.
The defence had asked for a sentence of 5 1/2 years less remand time, while Crown attorney Catherine Cogswell suggested eight to 10 years minus remand.
In its notice of appeal, the Public Prosecution Service says the sentence inadequately reflects the objectives of denunciation and deterrence and should be varied.
“The sentence ordered is inadequate having regard to the nature of the offences committed and the circumstances of the offences and the offender,” the Crown claims.
The prosecution also says the judge made factual conclusions inconsistent with the verdict of the jury and erred in his calculation of the remand credit.
A date has not been set for the appeals to be heard.
A jury found that Pyke was one of several men involved in a Feb. 5, 2011, attack on Evans Avenue in Halifax that sent James Edward Sprague to hospital with numerous stab wounds.
The jurors convicted Pyke of attempted murder, aggravated assault and possession of a knife for a dangerous purpose.
Three other men, including two of Pyke’s brothers, pleaded guilty to lesser offences stemming from the attack rather than go to trial.
Pyke, who has an extensive criminal record and a history of dealing drugs, maintained his innocence at his sentencing in April. He told the judge he turned down three plea-bargain offers from the Crown before or during the trial.
“I’m not going to accept responsibility for the crime, because I didn’t commit it,” Pyke said. “The jury made a mistake. Honestly, I was not there at the time this offence happened.”
Cacchione said he “did not fail to consider the look of surprise evident on the faces of both Crown and defence counsel when the verdict was returned.”
The Crown’s two main witnesses, the victim and his brother Jason, were unreliable, untrustworthy and “were prepared to say whatever it took to serve their own purposes,” the judge said.
“This sentencing is made particularly difficult as a result of this.”