Killer's appeal rejected by B.C. Court of Appeal

B.C.'s highest court has tossed the appeal of a Kamloops man who stabbed a friend to death during a downtown house party four years ago.

Torbin Alec was charged with second-degree murder following the July 15, 2012, death of Jesse Seymour. The 29-year-old was stabbed six times, including twice in the heart, during a fight with Alec in the front yard of a Columbia Street home.

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Alec and Seymour were close friends. Court heard they had been drunkenly brawling at the house party after Seymour became involved in an argument with a girl.

Midway through his trial in 2013, Alec pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was handed a six-year prison sentence in April 2014.

Alec, 33, appealed his conviction on the grounds his guilty plea was invalid and his conviction a miscarriage of justice. He also argued he should have had more time to apply to strike his plea prior to sentencing due to "aboriginal fatalism" -- a notion that First Nations offenders often try to speed up court proceedings, including entering guilty pleas, due to a perceived powerlessness.

Both appeals were dismissed on Tuesday by a three-judge B.C. Court of Appeal panel.

At the time of his sentencing, Alec claimed he was acting in self-defence. In a bizarre and emotionally charged hearing, he took the witness stand in a Kamloops courtroom and explained his actions the night of Seymour's death in vivid detail.

The courtroom was packed with Seymour's friends and family. At times during the hearing, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Dev Dley allowed members of the gallery to have a back-and-forth with Alec.

Alec's explanation on the day of his sentencing included elements of self-defence, with which Seymour's family took issue.

"You killed him," Shane Bottle, a friend of Seymour, shouted at Alec in court.

"Yeah," Alec replied. "I have to own that."

Seymour's mother, Sandra Seymour, also spoke directly to Alec from the gallery.

"My son let you in," she said. "You were part of our family at one point. Enough."

Alec replied, saying he had nothing to hide.

"You guys can take what I said and see it as a lie," he said, addressing Seymour's family. "As I see it, I pled out already. There's no reason for me to come up here and bullshit."

© Kamloops This Week

 


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