Levi Cayen’s lawyer is requesting he be sentenced to two years less a day, with credit for time served, for the 2017 killing and robbery of Alex Norwegian.
Alan Regel made the request in the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories on Wednesday afternoon, the third day of sentencing hearings for Cayen.
Crown prosecutor Duane Praught had asked the previous day for 15 years for the manslaughter charge and 10 years for the robbery charge, punishment that Regel called “unduly harsh.”
Regel pointed out that Cayen had agreed to plead guilty to a manslaughter charge in addition to the robbery charge, despite initially being charged with first-degree murder.
However, Praught cited a decision by the Alberta Court of Appeal that ruled that a pledge to plead guilty to a charge is only “potentially mitigating” in determining a sentence.
With regards to the attack itself, Regel argued his client was not excited to take part, but was instead “pestered” by his co-conspirators.
He also pointed to his client’s impaired judgement on the night of the attack: “He cannot put all the blame on alcohol, but it certainly played a part,” he said.
Regel asked that Cayen serve concurrent sentences for the manslaughter and robbery charges, since they constituted “one transaction.” He further argued his client should not be sent to a penitentiary, which could “expose him to hardened criminals, who are not a good influence on him.” Instead, he recommended that his client serve a rehabilitative sentence with an 18 months probation.
As part of this rehabilitative period, Regel contended that Cayen should be granted an exemption that would give him access to a gun while engaging in traditional activities, such as hunting.
Since the beginning of the sentencing hearings, much debate has been devoted to the infractions Cayen committed while in custody, and whether they should prevent him from receiving credit for time served. On Wednesday, Regel argued the eight actions for which Cayen was disciplined — including abusing phone privileges, being in other inmates’ cells, and one incident where he took an “aggressive stance” against another inmate — were minor, and would not normally result in jail time.
Regel also asked Justice Shannon Smallwood to ignore the emotional pleas of the victim impact statements that were read in court the previous day. The defence lawyer argued his client did express remorse, despite the claims of some of the victims’ statements.
Cayen was found guilty in March of manslaughter for his role in the December 2017 beating and robbery of 25-year-old Norwegian, who was later left to die of hypothermia in his vehicle on the Katl’odeeche First Nation.
Three other perpetrators — Sasha Cayen, Tyler Cayen, and James Thomas — have already been sentenced for their role in the attack on Norwegian.
Smallwood is expected to hand down a verdict on Thursday afternoon.