Contempt appeal dismissed by court
A three-judge panel in B.C.’s highest court has dismissed the appeal of a Kamloops woman who was fighting a year-long jail sentence handed down after she refused to testify during a murder trial in Prince George last summer.
Last July, Tasha Carpenter was called as a defence witness in the first-degree murder trial of Jesse Sweder.
Sweder was charged with the 2004 slaying of Peter Letendre in Prince George.
Carpenter was called to give evidence on three occasions — July 15, July 16 and July 19.
Each time, she refused to be sworn in and, each time, the B.C. Supreme Court judge hearing the case found her in contempt of court.
Carpenter was handed sentences of eight days, 30 days and 12 months.
She was later released on bail under conditions requiring her to report to a bail supervisor in Kamloops by phone and in person.
Carpenter did not report to her bail supervisor and an arrest warrant has been outstanding since.
She was to turn herself in to the Sheriff’s Office at the Kamloops Law Courts on June 24, the day of her appeal hearing.
She didn’t show up.
The B.C. Court of Appeal generally does not hear appeals from an appellant who is “in breach of the terms of his or her release and, in particular, has failed to surrender as required,” wrote Justice David Frankel in a two-page decision.
“I would, therefore, dismiss the conviction appeals as abandoned and refuse the application for leave to appeal the sentences as abandoned.”
Sweder’s trial ended in a mistrial.
He still faces the murder charge.
Carpenter’s whereabouts are unknown.